Do you remember when the WW did a little fact checking on The Tory’s efforts to keep ‘IN TOUCH’ With Godalming’s electorate?

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Well, we have just completed a little FACT CHECKING exercise on  Waverley Liberals’ efforts in its latest Newsletter –  FOCUS.

 

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We have FACT-CHECKED this document – which gets 10/10 for accuracy and more important gets 10/10 for refraining from hogging all the praise for saving Green Oaks School instead makes reference to the ‘partnership’ fight between Lib Dems, residents and Green Oaks PTA.

You can read the Newsletter in Full by clicking on the link below.

Waverley Focus Summer 2018

In the interest of fairness and balance here is our post that FACT-CHECKED – VISION FROM THE GODALMING CONSERVATIVES.

Caption competition – Help the Local Tories with their leaflets?

FactCheck – Your Local Tory leaflet?

People Power or Political Power?

Never before have we seen such scrutiny applied to a piece of Conservative propaganda as this piece of fiction that was delivered in Central Godalming, and has caused quite a stir on the Godalming Community Facebook Group. Thanks, Elaine for the post!

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Godalming Residents, the Green Oaks PTA and parents have been steaming at the idea that Cllr Andrew Bolton is taking credit for “allowing the school to remain open for a year”, generating 98 comments of outrage in the Facebook Group. Elaine asked the Group: “I thought the Liberal Dems councillor Paul David Follows was the main campaigner of keeping Green Oaks school open? Have I got that wrong?”

 

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It was well known that the Conservatives wanted to close the school, which had caused them some headache over the years, ruining the Education Cabinet member Cllr Peter Martin’s Waverley statistics. No wonder Peter took every opportunity to brief against the school, and apparently urging fellow councillors that the closure was inevitable. This briefing then led to Jeremy Hunt issuing this unfortunate press release reported in the Sorry Advertiser:
Jeramy Hunt backs Green Oak school closure decision as public meeting called. Jeremy Hunt said: “although he sympathised with parents and children, he understood Surrey County Council’s decision. It is a great shame that Green Oaks CofE Primary School is set to close and I fully appreciate the concerns of parents who are understandably worried about what will happen to their children and where they will continue their education.”

Sometimes Jeremy you need to consult the actual people rather than your Tory cronies as to the will of the people!

Godalming Town Councillor Richard Wainwright jumped in to try and defend Peter Martin and Andrew Bolton and received very short shift!

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Richard was also noted for taking credit for the Godalming Neighbourhood Plan, something he admitted was nothing to do with him, although he did apparently amend a line in it at the consultation stage. Bravo Richard!

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Of course Green Oak parents are also furious that the Conservatives  say the school only has a years’ reprieve!

That’s  not what the parents have been told – and is hardly likely to encourage people to send their children there with its future in limbo!

If you receive an election leaflet, from whatever party, do send it in to us at WW and we will be happy to fact check it with you!

Our post yesterday asked if some Waverley councillors had been hit by the pre-election panic stick?

This particular Godalming Councillor most certainly has!

Gets interesting when Councillor Bolton jumps in talking in the third person.. so when he does deign to engage with the community it’s not even him!

Now here’s the real man behind the campaign to save Green Oak School. Councillor Paul Follows. Election season 2019 has begun?

PAUL FOLLOWS – Godalming’s new man on the council block plays a blinder in support of the town’s schoolchildren.

Green Oaks School closure prompts emergency Town Meeting tonight.

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Have ‘Your Waverley’s’ planners been hit by pre-election fever?

Godalming people​ Taking Green Oak School fight to County Hall.

Will the reckless officials of Surrey County Council, who only last week squandered the opportunity to receive £380,000 from Taylor Wimpey to provide school places in Farnham – ignore the anger of Godalming residents at the proposed closure of ‘Green Oak School.

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Click on the link below to read of the Farnham debacle!

When is someone, somewhere, going to stand up and tell Waverley Council it is no longer fit for purpose !

The battle goes on for Green Oak School, Godalming, but is Surrey County Council listening?

Why would Surrey County Council want to close a School and Nursery at a time when Godalming is growing?

Here’s what Councillor Penny Rivers told the Extraordinary Meeting in answer to the question ‘Should Green Oak School and Nursery Close?’

THE ANSWER WAS AN EMPHATIC NO! 

ARE YOU LISTENING SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL?  IGNORE THE PEOPLE OF GODALMING AT YOUR PERIL!

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Penny, Ollie, Paul Follows and the Green Oak PTA parents have submitted some formal questions to the Tory SCC Cabinet next week.

Godawfulming’s Town Council forced into action by its residents.

Feelings are running so high over the threatened closure of Green Oak School, that the Town Council was forced into calling an EXTRAORDINARY TOWN MEETING – the first in its history.

But the Tory-controlled council – that has more than just a few skeletons in its council cupboards – was at pains to point out to its  Surrey County Council masters that pressure from residents forced into such an unprecedented step.

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Hark! Is that criticism of their fellow Tory colleagues that we hear… no surely not! 

In the second par – in Godalming Town Council’s letter, an extract of which appears above and the full text in the attachment below – it speaks of the electors’ frustration!

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http://godalming-tc.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/SCC-Green-Oak-School-Consultation-Closure-of-Green-Oak-School-Letter-from-The-Council-13-April-2018-Web-Version.pdf

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PAUL FOLLOWS – Godalming’s new man on the council​ block plays a blinder in support of the town’s schoolchildren.

Here’s his message to townsfolk,  which was forwarded to us here at the Waverley Web by a follower. In his message, Councillor Follows did not include a picture of himself. 

 

Paul Follows - Lib Dem GodalmingTonight I attended the public meeting in Godalming regarding the exam question ‘Should Green Oak school be closed’ – to an earth-shattering ‘No’ from the assembled electors of the town.
Fantastic democratic expression and I was proud to be a part of it.

I was also proud to introduce my guest, Mrs Lou Anderson of the Castle Hill Academy Trust to challenge the utterly false notion that there are no options and to put forward, to the town – proposals and future discussion points.

The diocese and others clearly object to councillors such as myself stepping into the search for a MAT. But if the people who should be looking, aren’t – and I have little confidence they have tried – I will step in for the good of the community (as an elected representative of that community) and do what I feel needs to be done. This is what I did today – and I will be working with the reps of the diocese and the proposed MAT to try to work through some of the more difficult issues to be addressed.

I have really tried to resist being too party-political during the campaign to save the school – but I say this last comment to a number of conservative councillors who decided to utter some unhelpful comments to us following the meeting –

I will work with anyone I need to in order to help get this done – but put in the work in the real world and not just when someone gets a camera out. Real cuts across the board from your party are a HUGE contributor to where we are today, and especially in communities like Ockford And Aaron’s Hill. Take responsibility for that too in the same way you take Party money and logo when you stand for election.

Finally, I want to say a massive well done to the parents, especially Karen, Nicole, Claire and Pete (and everyone else who spoke and asked extremely sensible and relevant questions). I would also highlight that MATs getting in touch with us only happened due to the massive publicity and social media presence generated by parents and Liberal Democrat councillors so a shared ‘well done’ all around.

Onward and upward. Tonight opened up new paths and opportunities to explore!

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https://www.facebook.com/paulfollowsGodalming/?hc_ref=ARTt6hvgy3RHAFAIPvtoECMIvk3N1oKoEj6pGnYrm90sYs1kIpm491HhmQDYFbMISvA&hc_location=group

Green Oaks School closure prompts emergency Town Meeting tonight.

green_oaks_JH2There is outrage in Godalming today as local MP Jeremy Hunt (who once opened the Forest School at Green Oaks above*), now sends commiserations for its closureeven though no decision has been made!! Remember we are in the middle of a Surrey County Council consultation (or have you and your mate – and Godalming SCC Cllr Peter Martin already made all the decisions behind the scenes?)

Feelings can be summed up by this local resident’s post:

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One of the key questions of the meeting is whether a religious education is more important than having a school at all. The Diocese who run Green Oaks seem to be prepared to close the school rather than let a non Christian Academy take it over.
Jeremy Hunt put his support of the school closure down to “these difficult financial times” no doubt he’s referring to the  austerity measures created by the Conservatives? 

In the meantime local Councillors and parents have even taken the fight to the Department of Education no less, in a search for a Multi Academy Trust to take on the school. Impressive stuff:

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One of those Councillors was new boy Paul Follows, who wrote an update here. Who will turn up at this meeting to face the parents? Lets hope they get some answers this time, although we aren’t holding our breath!

*so proud was our Jeremy he put the photo on his own website.

Let’s all help save Green Oak Primary School, in Godalming?

“Should Green Oak C of E Primary School and Nursery be closed?”

Because If it does, it will impact on every other school in Godalming.

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Did you know you can organise a Parish referendum on an issue?
http://www.iniref.org/local-referendum.html

Well! The angry parents of Godalming have: Because they are absolutely determined that the honchos at Surrey County Council who believed they could just tick a box marked CONSULTATION and then close their school, have decided to fight for it to continue!
http://godalming-tc.gov.uk/notice-of-an-extraordinary-town-meeting/

Only five minutes after snatching former Tory-held Godalming Town and Borough Council seats at a recent By-Election, Lib Dem Councillor Paul Follows says:

“A significant lack of transparency, or opportunity to ask questions and debate the issue openly as part of the official consultation has generated a wonderful bit of local democracy in action today – to quote the press release:

Parishioners in Godalming are exercising their right in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972, Schedule 12, Part III to call an Extraordinary Town Meeting on Monday, 9 April 2018 at 7.30pm to be held at the Wilfrid Noyce Centre. The meeting has been called for the purpose of debating the following question: “Should Green Oak C of E Primary School and Nursery be closed?”
So that’s Monday 9th April at 7:30 pm! I will certainly be there.
This issue impacts many local schools as a consequence so I am personally expecting this to draw residents from across Godalming.”

You can read our last post here.

Surrey County Council’s sham consultation to close Godalming School.

Surrey County Council’s sham consultation to close Godalming School.

Anxious parents and supporters lined up to demand answers about the future of Green Oaks School in Ockford Ridge, Godalming.

 Surrey County Council announced a consultation to close the school due to falling numbers, difficult Ofsteads and the inability to find an Academy to take it under its wing.

 

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Anxious parents filled the hall to learn what the future holds for Godalming youngsters. 

“Plenty of questions – but no answers!”

Said, one observer: 

“I’ve been to a lot of public meetings over the years but tonight’s about the future of Green Oak school was by some distance the worst I’ve ever sat through. Shockingly poor performance by Surrey County Council and the Diocese of Guildford. Pretty much a total failure to answer any of the excellent questions from a  hall packed with anxious parents, teachers and well-wishers. It was quite obvious that this was a box-ticking exercise and that as Surrey has failed to find a suitable Academy, in just in 9 months time – (July)- Green Oaks will be forced to close! 

They had the brass-neck to stand up and assure parents that there were 100 places in local schools, whilst refusing to name a single one. They cited declining pupil numbers as a contributory factor, but failed to acknowledge that they themselves blocked the school from taking admissions last year.

This is looking at best like government policy designed to punish children or at worst a nasty cynical little stitch-up. Why weren’t the people who know what is going on present?  It was evident, within minutes, that their robots were malfunctioning and could answer next to nothing.”

 Waverley’s new Councillor Paul Follows – the school is in his ward, who was there to witness the proceedings, said:

“What we all faced was a wall. A wall of law, a wall put up by people not present at the meeting and most of all a wall of unanswered questions – which considering a similar meeting took place in Ripley last night and many people had sent questions in preparation, I found it both frustrating and utterly inexcusable.

Whatever your view on the potential closure of the school and it’s history, making the consultation real and based on transparency and facts is extremely important.  I intend to assist parents in getting a meeting with the Regional Education Commissioner so we can try to get some answers.”

County Councillor Penny Rivers (Lib Dem) reported the meeting on her blog here.

She said: “It was standing room only. Parents and teachers and members of the community asked questions of the SCC officers and the Diocesan representative. I think it would be fair to say that people did not think their questions were answered. But then these Officers were just doing their job while the decision makers, Council Leader, David Hodge, and the Bishop and the Regional Schools Commissioner must have had something better to do because they were absent!”

My question was, “This room is packed full of people who care about their children, this school and this community. But, the shame is the absence of those who make the decisions. Were they invited? Would they have come?” My question was not answered.”

The meeting was packed with local Conservative Councillors – but not a single one either spoke or asked a question. Shame on them! With both Milford and Loseley Field schools full, just where will these children go?

What can you do? Start by  signing this petition:

https://www.change.org/p/surrey-county-council-keep-green-oak-school-open

The official Surrey County Council consultation is here.