Quite often there is accidental humour in our council meetings. Last Thursday, for example, we witnessed the unique (in my experience) thrill that was a portfolio holder for Children and Learning calling in his own minute. O how we laughed. Except that the Conservative councillor proceeded to laud the achievements of his administration with statistics that are quite misleading.
Using council gathered data he proceeded to proclaim that Southend schools are out-performing national averages, and therefore are a resounding success.
However, the statistics are for children educated in Southend, and not for Southend children, and there is an important distinction here.
We have six schools in the borough whose intake is largely from outside of the borough. The four grammar schools and two faith schools skew the statistics.
Of course, I am delighted for all children that receive a first-class education. However, the real numbers show that children in Southend are actually doing a lot worse than the council and its ruling administration would lead you to believe. I am elected to represent Southend’s children, not the sons and daughters of those living in east London or Kent, or other parts of Essex, and I deeply regret that they are not performing so well. This is a serious issue that needs urgent attention.
Instead of the mockery that was the self-congratulating grandstanding of the portfolio holder he should be straining every sinew to see that children residing in Southend are performing as well as the rest of this country of ours.