Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate Helen Whately wrote into your newspaper last week, praising a visit to the borough from Tory Shadow Education Secretary Michael Gove.
What the guest appearance of the Mr Gove revealed however, was the dangerous truth about his national party policy: the millions of pounds of investment promised to Kingston schools from the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, which local Liberal Democrats have fought so hard to get, would be under threat from a Conservative government.
Local people may remember that under the last Tory administration Kingston suffered the largest class sizes in the country, but Ms Whately dismisses the damage posed to Kingston schools from Conservative cuts by supporting the Swedish-style ‘free school’ agenda. She favours private companies and special interest groups buying control over the children’s curriculum – with worrying early proposals coming from Goldie Hawn’s idea for ‘brain science’ academies.
I’m sorry Ms Whately, but I don’t think that’s what’s best for our children and young adults in education.
What local Liberal Democrats stand for are excellent, locally run schools. I believe parents and guardians can see the evidence of our commitment in the performance and reputation of education in Kingston.
In this month’s budget, we are proposing to invest in the permanent expansion of primary and secondary classes across the borough – so that every child who needs a place in a local school is guaranteed one. With the support of BSF, and the hard work of our outstanding local education services we will deliver this pledge.
However, what Helen Whately’s actions make clear is that this bright future for Kingston schools would be under threat from her party.
Cllr Tricia Bamford
Executive Member for Children and Young People’s Services
Liberal Democrat Group Rooms
Kingston upon Thames