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Meeting over future of education support services to air online after Burntwood councillor’s calls

A Burntwood councillor’s has successfully called for a meeting over potential privatisation of some education support services to be broadcast online.

Areas such as performing arts, outdoor education, catering and cleaning, early years and special educational needs support could be moved into the private sector under plans drawn up by Staffordshire County Council.

The move has been met by protest from trade unions over what they say is a lack of transparency in the process.

Cllr Steve Norman

Cllr Steve Norman

However, Cllr Steve Norman – the opposition Labour group leader on Lichfield District Council – has now been told by the county council’s chief executive that the Select Committee debate will be aired online.

“I have passed on my thanks to the Chief Executive and to the Chairman for acceding to my request,” said Cllr Norman. “It will mean that parents, school staff, governors and taxpayers from Kinver to Flash will be able to see the Cabinet Member answering questions from backbench councillors without a party whip.

“While the one-party Cabinet meetings are webcast all the time this will only be the second committee meeting to be seen on the internet since April.”

Cllr Norman believes more awareness needs to be raised of the impact privatisation of many services would mean to the wider education picture.

“Schools don’t operate in a vacuum and these support services, many rated as excellent, add great value to the education of our children and grandchildren,” he explained. “The contract for wholesale privatisation amounts to £2billion over ten years. It’s huge and yet very few people know about it or its implications for children across the county.

“We believe, at the very least, that they should put a halt on this until more detail is given out and the parents, staff and all interested residents have a chance to take part in a full and open consultation.

“I can’t believe that the current councillors have thought through the implications of these proposals for schools here in Burntwood and hope they will now look at them in more depth or tell us why they support them.”

The meeting will take place at 2pm tomorrow (October 23) and can be viewed via the Staffordshire County Council website.

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