Dear Sir

In your front page article about concerns over school staff changes (Comet, 18 April) it is strange that you should take a comment from the leader of Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) when schools are nothing to do with SBC but are the responsibility of Hertfordshire County Council (HCC). The two schools which you name, Marriotts and Nobel, are in Chells division and you made no attempt to contact me as the HCC county councillor for Chells.

Had you done so, I would have been able to tell you that some of us have been concerned for many years about the fact that exam attainment in Stevenage schools is generally significantly lower than in the rest of the county and indeed, apart from John Henry Newman School, in recent years none of the secondary schools have achieved better than ‘satisfactory’ in Ofsted terms.

I have a healthy cynicism towards Ofsted, but nevertheless I was concerned enough to make sure a special meeting was held on 13 June 2012, for all the 6 county councillors for Stevenage, plus relevant education officials from HCC, to discuss this issue. Only 3 of the 6 county councillors were present (myself, Phil Bibby and John Lloyd).

I believe the key is to raise educational aspiration in Stevenage. If the right new heads are chosen, then the necessary cultural change could happen. It is undeniable that some short term disruption may occur – but if this merely disrupts something that was not working anyway, it is probably worth doing.

Yours sincerely


Robin Parker