Tim Hill

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Elstow, Stewartby and Kempston Hardwick. Learn more

Two tier wins by two votes

by timhill on 17 November, 2009

At a packed council meeting at Bedford Corn Exchange last night, it was decided by 19 votes to 17 that the two-tier education system will replace Bedford’s existing three-tier system.

There was a 30 minute open session for questions from members of the public which was understandably very passionate at times. 

I spoke calling on the Council to retain the 3-Tier system for three reasons:

a) Small is beautiful. The 2 tier proposals will create monolithic supper structures for upper schools.

b) Disruption. 4-5 years of school years will face tremendous disruption to their education for impossible to prove benefits.

c) Finance. David Cameron has already stated to Tory Councillors that he cannot guarantee the £340m will be ring-fenced for Bedford IF the Tories win the next election…..and we all know what a catastrophic affect Thatcher had on education in the 1980s amongst other things.

However I did state the proposals that Mike Berrill is building for the Biddenham School site were worth a look as an alternative to the 2 tier proposals for the rest of the Borough.

After an intense and at times raucous 2 hour debate, a recorded vote was agreed and each councillor voted whether they were in favour of an amendment to return the proposal to the Executive for them to re-consider. This was lost by 17 votes to 19. The 2 tier proposals then won by the same margin.

Despite my passionate objections to the proposals, democracy has spoken and we must now all work together to make sure all our children get the best education. 

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