We will re­port MP’s com­ments ... but her po­si­tion is un­ten­able

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR VIEWS - >Mark Ed­wards >@PT Mark Ed­wards

Un­for­tu­nately, I’m re­turn­ing to well aired is­sues again...

The city coun­cil’s as­sis­tant di­rec­tor for ed­u­ca­tion Gary Perkins did not mince his words when he told coun­cil­lors that stan­dards in Peter­bor­ough were nowhere near where they need to be. His frank com­ment fol­lows the pub­li­ca­tion of a coun­cil re­port which shows pri­mary school chil­dren of all back­grounds in Peter­bor­ough con­tinue to achieve far less than their equiv­a­lents na­tion­ally. As we have re­ported in de­tail, the city’s schools (many of which are academies) came se­cond bot­tom for Year 6 SATs re­sults in the past three years. The lat­est re­port con­firms what we knew.. the po­si­tion isn’t good enough. Per­for­mance is im­prov­ing but the city is not clos­ing the gap on other au­thor­i­ties so we re­main in the bot­tom two na­tion­ally. In the old fash­ioned words of school re­ports - the city’s ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­ity and pri­mary schools ‘must do bet­ter’ in Of­sted-speak the city very much re­quires im­prove­ment. How­ever, it is im­por­tant that the ed­u­ca­tion team in the city does not make ex­cuses - the fact that Mr Perkins ac­knowl­edges the is­sue so di­rectly is en­cour­ag­ing in it­self. But he will also know that the proof will be in the pud­ding... what­ever the chal­lenges - and they are doubt­less shared by many other LEAs - bet­ter re­sults from, all our schools are crit­i­cal to the city’s progress. The sit­u­a­tion with Peter­bor­ough MP Fiona Onasanya con­tin­ues to dom­i­nate de­bate. Firstly, my de­ci­sion to carry her sub­mit­ted col­umn has drawn crit­i­cism and sup­port in equal mea­sure. I read all the points made and mes­sages sent to me on the sub­ject but my view is un­changed. As I said in a pre­vi­ous com­ment piece, I be­lieve Fiona Onasanya should do the de­cent thing and re­sign. Re­gard­less of whether she can le­gally stay as an MP the guilty ver­dict and her sub­se­quent de­ci­sion to say noth­ing is un­ac­cept­able. But while she re­mains as MP we at the PT will con­tinue to seek an­swers to ques­tions, re­port her ac­tions and com­ments and keep the spot­light on a crit­i­cal is­sue for the city. Fiona Onasanya’s col­umn is just about the only com­mu­ni­ca­tion she is hav­ing with me­dia or the Peter­bor­ough au­di­ence at the mo­ment. What­ever you think of its con­tent I be­lieve our read­ers have ev­ery right to read it and make their own mind up. It in­forms our view of the MP and the sit­u­a­tion ... the fact that the court case has not been men­tioned in her col­umn speaks vol­umes in my view - cen­sor­ing it serves no valid pur­pose. We have re­ported this week that the Peter­bor­ough MP did not take part in a crit­i­cal vote in Par­lia­ment - again we have been given no ex­pla­na­tion or even the cour­tesy of a re­sponse. All this adds more weight to what we al­ready know and that is that Fiona Onasanya’s po­si­tion has be­come un­ten­able... In all of the de­bate, feed­back and com­ment I have re­ceived in re­cent weeks I have not had a sin­gle one that dis­agrees with that.

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