Saturday, 20 February 2010

Not really playing fair. Is this libel? Is this the death of democracy?

I've gone from being a hopeles digital immigrant to an reasonably competent website reader and user in five short weeks. So, after reading in the Online Guardian what Education was claiming about City of Leeds School, I checked for myself. And what did I find:

"City of Leeds [and Primrose High School] both face major challenges to improve teaching, attendance and behaviour standards and require urgent changes to meet the target."

Good Heavens, I said to myself. This is fiction. No wonder Ed and Vern are so keen to close it. It sounds like anarchy in the UK is alive and kicking and hanging out in Woodhouse and Hyde Park. I thought I'd check out the Ofsted report so I could publicly refute what really amounts to libel.

Hmmm, maybe not so digitally competent. Got fed up searching for the report. Take my word for it, check it out yourself, visit the school.

And I also read:

"Parklands Girls’ High School’s GCSE results have already exceeded the national target this year but due to a declining roll and difficult financial situation present a challenge for sustaining progress beyond 2011."

Now presented with this success, this would seem the natural response:

"Well done, Parklands, let's build upon this success. Now that your results are gone back up, the girls will soon come flocking back." Instead, Eddie Leo looks around for somewhere new to put the back of the net.

Then I read:

"Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said: “Public opinion is a vital part of the decision making process. We recognise that major changes for the three schools have been proposed and want to fully engage with everyone connected to the schools to gather their opinions. This consultation will ensure that all views will be taken into consideration by the executive board before a final decision is made.”"

Well, Councillor, in the recent by-election the public just voted 100% keeping City of Leeds open. So now how vital is public opinion? Or will Education Leeds just move the goalposts, as they are trying to do with Parklands?

To sum up, when the Guardian Online looked for information about the proposed closures, they turned to a website which provided inaccurate information. This is hardly playing fair, and I would argue it could be seen as libel. And, if the closures go ahead, what is the future for democracy?

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