Thursday, June 14, 2007

June's Full Council Meeting

I could spend several paragraphs berating the LibDems for their rubbish handling of the city's economy and budgets but it would only repeat everything that has already been in the papers.
I could say I agreed with John Coyne's every word (the Green councillor) when he said that now is the time to re-examine the expenditure on events next year that we already know we cannot afford, but nobody would be listening. (Except perhaps for Larry Neild who made the same point in the Daily Post this week, he talks a lot of sense most of the time in my view). I could say that I am absolutely behind our leader, Joe Anderson (who woke me up this morning on the Today Programme on Radio 4, but that might not want to be a claim he wishes to embrace) in his resignation from the Culture Company Board.

However, I am not in band-wagon mode, so I wont say any of that, even though I do mean all of it.

What I will say is what I said in the Town Hall chamber last night, on a completely different topic. We were given the results of last year's performance indicators, which are all mixed in together and make very difficult reading, one minute you are reading about how many people visited our parks, the next item is about pregnant school girls and the one after that about homelessness. Not an easy read...

The PIs on Looked After Children (kids in care) were shocking and diabolical. Last year we had 49 kids facing key stage 3 in English and Maths. The council was hoping that 40% of them would achieve a good result, that is around 20 kids. The reality was that only 8 of them did well. The other 12, indeed the other 41, were low achievers.

As I said to the depleted chamber (they all rush off for coffee, self-congratulatory chats and recriminations after big agenda items), these kids, hundreds of them of all ages, are actually our own children. We as councillors are their corporate parents. Whether they like it or not, they have 90 mums and dads, as well as their own. I don't have any kids, which is the subject of a whole book, not a blog entry, but there is neither time enough nor space, so these kids have to be my concern.

We have failed them as an authority and I was trying to convince the other 89 councillors that we need to take this seriously.

I dont know their names and addresses and although I am their corporate mum I don't suppose it is even right that I should, but that doesn't and shouldn't mean that I don't care about them.

We must get on top of this. Being a kid in care is bad enough and hard enough without us corporate parents ignoring their poor educational achievement and our responsibility for that. I want to do everything in my power for "my" kids, and if that means banging the drum in council meetings and making sure that other councillors realise that our kids deserve better than our neglect and low levels of interest, then I will do it!


JB said...

Well said Louise. These kids deserve better than corporate indifference. I wish more councillors would take their responsibilities as seriously and thoughfully as you obviously do.

Colin said...

Lou if you look at the teachers TV web site they have videos about looked after children and efforts around the country to improve their education. you don't think you have to be a member to view them.Each is about 15 mins in length,just type in looked after children in their search and it will take you to their feeds. think their address is just
Hope their of use.

Anonymous said...

And it was Alan Johnson who highlighted it as a growing shame in this country.