This week I attended the public "consultation" meetings for City of Leeds School and Primrose High School. Now I have no ambitions to be a politician. After a long day at work, and, given the choice of sitting on my sofa blanking out to "Desperate Housewives" or "University Challenge", well these TV programmes would surely win over an evening spent in a school hall somewhere near where I live. But, for the foreseeable future, and also, for the last ten years, relaxing has not featured in my life. My sensible life/work balance came to an end with the end of Foxwood School in 1996.
Well, these consultations:
The local paper said there were over 400 people at the City of Leeds - well over, more like 600, I would say. The Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows, in betwween Schools Prom dates at the Royal Albert Hall and Leeds Town Hall played; there were refreshments and colourful and informative displays of the school's strengths. Letter of support from our councillors and all candidates for council for the by-election coming up next week. Letters of support from MPs Greg Mulholland [meaning he is breaking ranks with Leeds Lib Dem/Tory coalition which has sanctioned this guastly school sacrifice]and Hilary Benn [meaning that Mr Benn is breaking ranks with his cabinet colleagues]. Hundeds of us were wearing the badges, and some us have even got the t-shirts.
It was more like a party atmosphere than a school closure proposal. This would have been because staff, pupils, parents and local residents had been out leafletting the neighbourhood in order to ensure that evryone knew about it. By contrast the consultation at Primrose was a more sombre affair, even though parents had been out leafletting the previous week. It was hardly helped by there being noone on the door for latecomers.
Leader of the Council, Richard Brett, arrived at ten past seven. I got there at twenty past. I spent the next twenty minutes texting "Let me In" to all the people that I knew at the meeting. Mr Brett lost heart at five to eight, and then minutes later the caretaker happened to come past and let me in. Later I opined that that if they, Education Leeds, couldn't organise a public consultation meeting . . . you may guess the rest.