Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Professor: Essex has Deanes sums wrong
7:00pm Monday 16th September 2013 in News
A MATHS boffin claims Essex County Council has got its sums wrong over its forecasts for how many children will be going to the Deanes school in the future.
Colin Reeves, professor of operational research, at Coventry University, went as far as to say officers who compiled the figures were “incompetent”.
Prof Reeves was called in to scrutinise County Hall’s report on the future of the school in Daws Heath Road, Thundersley, by Save the Deanes campaigners.
Campaigners remain angry at Ray Gooding, Tory councillor responsible for education, who believes the school is unviable and wants to close it despite the advice of a county council scrutiny committee. In his report Prof Reeves said: “The county council’s initial forecasts were clearly incorrect and cast doubt on the policy with which they were associated.
“The statistical and mathematical principles underlying the forecasts are still not properly understood by council officers.”
He added that he “did not think it was overstating the case to say the county council was incompetent”.
The county council’s predicted pupil numbers reveal 80 pupils are expected to arrive in 2014/15, 110 pupils in 2015/16, 117 in 2016/17 and 76 in 2017/18.
Concluding his report, Prof Reeves said: “There are some excellent mathematicians on the doorstep at Essex University.
“It might be a good idea for the county council to ask one of them to produce and validate a reliable forecasting model for future use.”
Sarah Raven, campaign manager for the Save the Deanes group, said: “It is quite outrageous that the data influencing such a monumental decision – affecting the lives of literally thousands of families and pupils now and in the future – should have been left to the county council’s so-called professional officers when they are clearly incompetent for the task.”
Elaine Wright, Save the Deanes campaign leader for Southend added: “Our community is in a state of shock and suffering from a huge amount of stress and anxiety.
“News of county council failures will further exacerbate these sensitivities.
“Such a catastrophic failure totally undermines the trust and confidence we have in our local representatives and the officers that are supposed to serve us, the community.”
A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “The council welcomes representations on its proposals and will be collating all representations to be presented in the final report, which isbeing prepared by officers for the cabinet meeting in November.”
Comments are closed on this article.