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.
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!
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.
Tonight 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!
There is outrage in Godalming today as local MP Jeremy Hunt (who onceopened the Forest School at Green Oaks above*), now sendscommiserations for its closure – even 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:
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:
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!
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.”