Letter to Editor: Adding Insult to injury over SFG chaos

Politics / Tue 28th Nov 2023 at 05:50pm

YET again parents of SFG have been badly let down by the DfE and Conservatives Baroness Barran and Robert Halfon. After waiting weeks to ask them questions about the chaos, and repeated failures to deal with that chaos, tonight we have been told that they will not be attending in person.

This matters because it denies parents the opportunity to ask the questions that matter. As questions can now only be submitted on line prior to the meeting, or online during the meeting, awkward, politically embarrassing questions can be filtered out, leaving the panel in a position where they can pick and choose those questions they want to answer.

The email we received said “Unfortunately, the DFE has requested that the meeting this coming Thursday be moved online. Baroness Barran, the minister responsible for school facilities, has unexpectedly been called to a debate at the House of Lords late on Thursday afternoon and the only way she can make the meeting is if it is virtual.”

What is odd about this “unexpected” development, that has prevented the Baroness from attending, is that it was entirely predictable. Baroness Barran is choosing to prioritise a debate in the House of Lords over this meeting. Mr Halfon is also not appearing in person. Both of them have chosen to run and hide, dumping their responsibility to SFG children and parents. When, during this sorry saga, have the promises of the DfE, Baroness Barran and Harlow’s current MP Robert Halfon been kept. And why, when rumours of this cancellation were doing the rounds yesterday evening, were parents only informed if this today.

This is another scandalous disregard for children and parents. Mr Halfon would do well to remember that there are approaching two thousand parents of SFG pupils and most of those are Harlow voters  


Mark Ingall

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8 Comments for Letter to Editor: Adding Insult to injury over SFG chaos:

Luke Burton
2023-11-28 18:52:35

You really think you could actually hold The Baroness Barran accountable? Yes, the DfE is an absolute clown show but let's be honest believing that you'll get anything useful out of an unelected peer is pie in the sky stuff.

2023-11-28 19:09:28

Mark, as a parent I wholeheartedly agree with the content written. What a complete shower. From start to now they have not come forward. Should have said that a camera would be present, may have well turned up. An online Q&A as pointed out will be filtered and not have the same impact as to having actual voices, that show emotion. SFG staff talking to the forum, this has already been done with parents on a few occasions and is not what is wanted. The question of what is happening to the current building is a must know question. How many pupils have vacated this chaotic situation to other Schools so far? I understand MH has had a marked uptake. And so the questions go on and on and on.

2023-11-28 21:07:37

What a shambles. Parents, boycott the meeting, and don’t send your kids back to the school. The press will be all over it, an entire school with the pupils on strike! A first. Striking not for a pay rise, but a school with basic amenities and fit for purpose. A UK first…….. How will they explain themselves then? Total shambles. Unite and fight.

2023-11-28 22:52:52

Funny Mark cares about education now, when as leader of the council he collaborated with the government in ensuring schools where effectively closed. Impacting the education of students and thier mental health, never mind the wider damage inflicted due to the response to the "pandemic". However when it affects his children it becomes an issue.

Luke Burton
2023-11-28 23:09:30

The funny thing is like most debates in the House of Lords, there probably won't be more than a dozen or so peers in the chamber. Those that do attend will probably be asleep or will leave the chamber half way through the debate to enjoy the subsidised alcohol and luxurious food funded by YOU, the taxpayer. To add insult to injury, the taxpayer will also pay them a £350 tax free daily allowance for simply turning up at the Palace of Westminster and signing a register as well as a generous ministerial salary.

Mark Ingall
2023-11-29 07:25:22

Adam, you have no evidence whatsoever for your claim, because it is entirely untrue. I was leader of Harlow District Council. All education matters for Harlow were dealt with by the DfE and Essex County Council, and we were rarely even consulted.

Mark Lavender
2023-11-29 17:05:22

I do hope lessons have been learnt for the Burnt Mill rebuild.

sfg parent
2023-11-30 12:23:53

Really hoping for some honest information in tonight’s meeting. Really disappointed it’s not face to face, hope folks don’t have the usual IT problems and are able to access the link when it’s provided. I am appalled no politician, even our MP Mr Halfon has not had the concerned courtesy or interest to visit SFG and see for himself. I have low expectations of our children ever seeing a permanent SFG building, the portacabin classrooms being erected now, perhaps ready for April may be the school for many years to come. For the younger years, shuttling coaches between Mark Hall is not a long term option, there were 5 coaches recently, plus parent traffic, plus construction traffic in a very confined space with the outpouring of children from the site…teachers should not have to stand in the road to protect life – the DfE should be paying for traffic marshals as well. It’s a shameful catalogue of DfE failures, the £29 million build is a figure easy to quote but the true cost including rebuild and interim (equally disappointing) measures give the SFG school one astronomically high cost for a relatively “simple” building – complete incompetence by the DfE who appear not to have the moral fortitude to meet face to face with all parties concerned. Then there is the lost school days, mental health issues, and how its affected parents and guardians in their ability to react to last minute closure notices etc. It seems the schools teachers are holding the place together, barely by their 100% efforts and adaptability to….well DfE ongoing incompetence. This is public money being wasted. Also the cherry on top, Jerry Hunts failure to invest in schools. https://schoolcuts.org.uk/ Sir Frederick Gibberd College -£412,487 that’s -£474 per child 2024-25 Passmores Academy -£355,991, that’s -£300 per child 2024-25 Mark Hall Academy -£135,781, that’s -£185 per child 2024-25 Stewards Academy -£332,591, that -£317 per child 2024-25 BMAT STEM Academy -£148,214, that’s -£1,098 per child 2024-25 There are conservative voters walking away, feels like a malaise in the air with so much not working.

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