Investigate men who wanted Deanes axed: Campaigner refers officer and councillor to the ombudsman

Calling for investigation – campaigner Linda Allport-Hodge

Calling for investigation – campaigner Linda Allport-Hodge

First published in News by

THE MEN who made the decision to close the Deanes School have been reported to the Local Government Ombudsman for gross misconduct.

Linda Allport-Hodge, a Deanes parent and a member of the Save the Deanes Action Group, has asked the ombudsman to conduct a “full investigation into the gross misconduct of councillor Gooding and Tim Coulson in their dealings with the school, parents and the community”.

Calls have already been made for Ray Gooding, county councillor responsible for education, and Tim Coulson, the authority’s senior education officer, to resign over the Deanes fiasco.

The school in Daws Heath Road, Thundersley, had been under threat, but was finally saved this week when the Office of the Schools Adjudicator ruled against plans by Essex County Council to close it.

Mrs Allport-Hodge, who is a former local government officer, said: “I sent a corporate complaint to the local authority when the closure was announced and highlighted all the issues that are evident in the report.

“The authority needed to investigate whether there was a cause for closure and I don’t think it looked at the community effects.

“It is the centre of the community.

I was fobbed off by the council at the time as they said it was in the early stages, but things have changed now. It is dereliction of duty.”

Mrs Allport-Hodge said she had also contacted the Serious Fraud Office regarding £4million that was split between the King John School, in Shipwrights Drive, Thundersley, and the Appleton School, in Croft Road, Benfleet.

The schools were given the cash following the announcement Deanes may close, so they could expand to take on extra pupils.

Mrs Allport-Hodge claims the money was “a free gift”.

Yesterday campaigners called for the £11million, sitting in council coffers, to finally be spent at the Deanes, after it was promised back in 2011.

Following the adjudicator’s decision, Essex County Council has now sent letters to parents advising them they can apply for places at the Deanes.

Mrs Allport-Hodge said the letters sent out by the council should be sent to all schools in the south of the county to try to boost the school’s numbers.

She added: “They should be writing to all the main feeder schools in Basildon and Southend advising them children can once again apply for a place at the Deanes.

“Essex County Council has constructively damaged the school.”

Despite the claims of “gross misconduct” David Lennard Jones, from the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, found “no evidence” the council had failed to follow guidelines over the closure plan.

David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “I firmly believe the cabinet member for education acted responsibly with the educational interests of pupils central to their thinking throughout the process.

“I will not consider any resignations in relation to the closure of the Deanes School.”

Comments (9)

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7:04am Mon 3 Mar 14

saveDeanesschool says...

...AND COUGH UP KING JOHN AND APPLETON.
THE MONEY ISN'T YOURS NOW; DO THE DECENT THING AND HELP YOUR COLLEAGUES AND THE CHILDREN. THEY NEED THAT MONEY TO GET A START WITH A LICK OF PAINT!
...AND COUGH UP KING JOHN AND APPLETON. THE MONEY ISN'T YOURS NOW; DO THE DECENT THING AND HELP YOUR COLLEAGUES AND THE CHILDREN. THEY NEED THAT MONEY TO GET A START WITH A LICK OF PAINT! saveDeanesschool
  • Score: 12

8:20am Mon 3 Mar 14

peterscott1955 says...

The wholesale, unwarranted expansion if Rayleigh should provide enough pupils to keep Deanes full. With some 1300 homes,planned and no space at fitzwymark and Sweyne, it us logical to make this the third Rayleigh school and rejig catchment areas
The wholesale, unwarranted expansion if Rayleigh should provide enough pupils to keep Deanes full. With some 1300 homes,planned and no space at fitzwymark and Sweyne, it us logical to make this the third Rayleigh school and rejig catchment areas peterscott1955
  • Score: 6

11:06am Mon 3 Mar 14

Howard Cháse says...

saveDeanesschool wrote:
...AND COUGH UP KING JOHN AND APPLETON.
THE MONEY ISN'T YOURS NOW; DO THE DECENT THING AND HELP YOUR COLLEAGUES AND THE CHILDREN. THEY NEED THAT MONEY TO GET A START WITH A LICK OF PAINT!
Thats if they havent spent it all on ale, pies and solid gold pocket linings.....
[quote][p][bold]saveDeanesschool[/bold] wrote: ...AND COUGH UP KING JOHN AND APPLETON. THE MONEY ISN'T YOURS NOW; DO THE DECENT THING AND HELP YOUR COLLEAGUES AND THE CHILDREN. THEY NEED THAT MONEY TO GET A START WITH A LICK OF PAINT![/p][/quote]Thats if they havent spent it all on ale, pies and solid gold pocket linings..... Howard Cháse
  • Score: 5

11:47am Mon 3 Mar 14

ThisYear says...

People power...you have it...Councils need to be reminded every now and then, perhaps via a few sackings, arrests and jailings, that they work for the people and not for themselves.

Good on Linda Allport-Hodge for striving to put the civil servants back firmly in their place...
People power...you have it...Councils need to be reminded every now and then, perhaps via a few sackings, arrests and jailings, that they work for the people and not for themselves. Good on Linda Allport-Hodge for striving to put the civil servants back firmly in their place... ThisYear
  • Score: 13

12:44pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Ian P says...

David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “I firmly believe the cabinet member for education acted responsibly with the educational interests of pupils central to their thinking throughout the process”. Mr Gooding was quoted in an Echo article on 01/01/2014 stating that “It is widely acknowledged we have significant pressure on school places. While this pressure is on primary places at the moment, it will soon impact on the secondary sector". So according to the leader of the Council this makes the attempts to close a perfectly good secondary school a responsible action. If the behaviour was responsible I would hate to witness irresponsible behaviour.
David Finch, leader of Essex County Council, said: “I firmly believe the cabinet member for education acted responsibly with the educational interests of pupils central to their thinking throughout the process”. Mr Gooding was quoted in an Echo article on 01/01/2014 stating that “It is widely acknowledged we have significant pressure on school places. While this pressure is on primary places at the moment, it will soon impact on the secondary sector". So according to the leader of the Council this makes the attempts to close a perfectly good secondary school a responsible action. If the behaviour was responsible I would hate to witness irresponsible behaviour. Ian P
  • Score: 13

3:22pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Rachie says...

peterscott1955 wrote:
The wholesale, unwarranted expansion if Rayleigh should provide enough pupils to keep Deanes full. With some 1300 homes,planned and no space at fitzwymark and Sweyne, it us logical to make this the third Rayleigh school and rejig catchment areas
Suggested early on and was completely brushed aside. Apparently the new homes won't generate nearly enough children. I can;t recall the exact calculation, although I'm sure someone from the meetings can, but it was a ludicrously low number and wholly unbelievable.

The Deanes NEEDS that money. It needs to be able to rebrand and promote itself efficiently after being ruthlessly demolished by ECC.
[quote][p][bold]peterscott1955[/bold] wrote: The wholesale, unwarranted expansion if Rayleigh should provide enough pupils to keep Deanes full. With some 1300 homes,planned and no space at fitzwymark and Sweyne, it us logical to make this the third Rayleigh school and rejig catchment areas[/p][/quote]Suggested early on and was completely brushed aside. Apparently the new homes won't generate nearly enough children. I can;t recall the exact calculation, although I'm sure someone from the meetings can, but it was a ludicrously low number and wholly unbelievable. The Deanes NEEDS that money. It needs to be able to rebrand and promote itself efficiently after being ruthlessly demolished by ECC. Rachie
  • Score: 13

5:43pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Letmetryagain says...

saveDeanesschool wrote:
...AND COUGH UP KING JOHN AND APPLETON.
THE MONEY ISN'T YOURS NOW; DO THE DECENT THING AND HELP YOUR COLLEAGUES AND THE CHILDREN. THEY NEED THAT MONEY TO GET A START WITH A LICK OF PAINT!
You'll be lucky.

It is "alleged" that the head of a school who was going to benefit from the closure of Deanes, has already spent the money they thought they were going to get. The same person who fills key posts within their school with relatives and friends. As well as moving good teachers to other posts, to try and get them to leave the school of their own accord.
Where staff are at a loss to explain how they ever received a good report from Ofsted, and where the school governors couldn't care less what goes on under their watch.
[quote][p][bold]saveDeanesschool[/bold] wrote: ...AND COUGH UP KING JOHN AND APPLETON. THE MONEY ISN'T YOURS NOW; DO THE DECENT THING AND HELP YOUR COLLEAGUES AND THE CHILDREN. THEY NEED THAT MONEY TO GET A START WITH A LICK OF PAINT![/p][/quote]You'll be lucky. It is "alleged" that the head of a school who was going to benefit from the closure of Deanes, has already spent the money they thought they were going to get. The same person who fills key posts within their school with relatives and friends. As well as moving good teachers to other posts, to try and get them to leave the school of their own accord. Where staff are at a loss to explain how they ever received a good report from Ofsted, and where the school governors couldn't care less what goes on under their watch. Letmetryagain
  • Score: 4

6:24pm Mon 3 Mar 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

The danger of the proposed re assessment will mean the Deanes will no longer have the means, to improve, as all the cash has gone elsewhere, without the cash deanes cannot sustain it's own existence, a very clever and devious move by ECC, though a move which could see the decision to reopen, be reversed.
The danger of the proposed re assessment will mean the Deanes will no longer have the means, to improve, as all the cash has gone elsewhere, without the cash deanes cannot sustain it's own existence, a very clever and devious move by ECC, though a move which could see the decision to reopen, be reversed. carnmountyouknowitmakessense
  • Score: 3

7:02pm Mon 3 Mar 14

saveDeanesschool says...

carnmountyouknowitma
kessense
wrote:
The danger of the proposed re assessment will mean the Deanes will no longer have the means, to improve, as all the cash has gone elsewhere, without the cash deanes cannot sustain it's own existence, a very clever and devious move by ECC, though a move which could see the decision to reopen, be reversed.
Roll on academy status...bids lining up!
[quote][p][bold]carnmountyouknowitma kessense[/bold] wrote: The danger of the proposed re assessment will mean the Deanes will no longer have the means, to improve, as all the cash has gone elsewhere, without the cash deanes cannot sustain it's own existence, a very clever and devious move by ECC, though a move which could see the decision to reopen, be reversed.[/p][/quote]Roll on academy status...bids lining up! saveDeanesschool
  • Score: 2

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