Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 27°C

min temp: 17°C

Search

Cabinet member defends decision not to declare interest before controversial schools transport meeting

08 December, 2017 - 06:15
Suffolk County Council cabinet member Gordon Jones. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk County Council cabinet member Gordon Jones. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Suffolk County Council cabinet member Gordon Jones has defended his decision to not declare his position as a non-executive director of an academy trust ahead of a meeting discussing controversial changes to school transport.

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council

The cabinet member for education is now facing calls to remove himself from the consultation that was voted through on Tuesday.

Mr Jones is a non-executive director of the Samuel Ward Academy Trust, and it has been argued that according to the Suffolk County Council’s code of practice, should have declared his interest before the meeting.

Parent and campaigner, Fiona Macaulay, said: “Samuel Ward Trust runs Sybil Andrews Academy and they are one of the schools that will benefit from the most extra pupils if these changes go ahead. How can we be assured that a fair consultation process is going to be held?”

Campaigner, Bob Jefferies, whose daughter attends Thurston College said: “I think they know what they want to happen and they are just going to press ahead with it. I have no confidence in them at all now.” The consultation is part of efforts to cut £3million from the council’s £21million home-to-school transport budget. It could cut services to hundreds of children who attend schools that are not the closest to their home. The council expects Sybil Andrews Academy, near Bury St Edmunds, to gain an extra 114 pupils if the system was changed.

Labour county councillor Jack Abbott. Picture: GENESIS PR Labour county councillor Jack Abbott. Picture: GENESIS PR

Based on the average pupil funding formula of £4,347 per child, it would mean an extra £495,558 would be awarded to the academy. Nearby Thurston College is expected to lose 812 pupils. According to the council’s report, seven out of the top ten secondary schools that will see increased pupil numbers are academies. Seven out of the ten that will see a drop in numbers are local authority schools.

At a full council meeting last night, Labour councillor Jack Abbott questioned whether Mr Jones should still be involved in the consultation. But Mr Jones said he would declare his interest when the consultation papers return to council. He said: “I will remind you the paper on Tuesday was to go out to consultation and I was advised there was no need to declare an interest at that time. When the paper comes back, that is the time I will declare an interest.”

Intensive care beds at an Ipswich mental health ward are likely to stay closed until the autumn, it can be revealed.

One of the oldest white rhinoceros’ in Europe has passed away.

Concerns have been raised that plans to introduce additional policing powers in Ipswich will be “criminalising behaviours that are not in themselves a crime”.

It could be the sale of the century as Sutton Hall Estate, near Woodbridge, including an eight bedroom Georgian house, 11 more cottages and farmhouses, two barns and more than 2170 acres is up for sale.

Can you see yourself or someone you know in our photo gallery? All pictures were taken at Yates in Ipswich on Saturday, June 30.

Suffolk and Essex are forecast yet another day of warm temperatures and glorious sunshine – though there is also a chance of some long-awaited rain for eastern parts.

Speed limits through roadworks on the A14 and A12 could be increased under new plans aimed to ease drivers’ frustration with delays.

This week we challenged our iWitness community to take test their artistic skills with the theme silhouettes.

Suffolk is one of 10 areas running a pilot scheme for the year which allows councils to retain 100% of the business rates it collects and invest it into the county.

Struggling owners have been urged not to dump pets they cannot care for as a charity braces itself for a summer animal welfare crisis.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24