Teaching unions ‘saddened’ to see Lisa Chambers leave education role at Suffolk County Council

Lisa Chambers, former education councillor at the Suffolk County Council.

Lisa Chambers, former education councillor at the Suffolk County Council. - Credit: Su Anderson

Lisa Chambers’ departure as education councillor in Suffolk will ‘not help school children’, according to a teaching union.

Suffolk’s education community has reacted with mixed emotions following Mrs Chambers’ resignation from Suffolk County Council.

She told this newspaper last week that she had to leave as council leader Colin Noble removed her from her position as county council representative and chair of the steering group of the Newmarket Vision – which is in her home division.

Dan McCarthy, executive member for teaching union NASUWT in Suffolk, said he was “saddened” to see her go.

“We don’t like the way things are going in Suffolk with results only marginally better than before investment in Raising the Bar,” he said.

“This change of leadership and the manner of her leaving is not helping children in Suffolk.”

Raising the Bar is the council’s flagship programme to revolutionise the county’s education performance. It, along with the closure of middle schools, have been controversial with some during Mrs Chambers’ time in office.

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Suffolk’s NUT secretary, Graham White, who is a critic of the council’s education policy and actions, said he was also disappointed to hear the news.

“We do worry who will be appointed to the position now,” he said. “I would hope they will appoint someone who we can work with, if they cannot work with the union it will be difficult to improve education in Suffolk.” He said the union had a constructive working relationship with Mrs Chambers.

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children’s services, is currently acting education councillor.

Simon Letman, headteacher for Holbrook Academy, praised Mrs Chambers for her work. “I think she was very committed and level-headed and was there for the schools and for the success of the children,” he said.

Mrs Chambers took on the education brief, one of the most high profile at the council, in 2013.

A by-election for the Newmarket and Red Lodge ward has to be held within 11 weeks. If you have an education story, call Matt Hunter at 01473 324802 or email matt.hunter@archant.co.uk