Wednesday, 16 January 2008

From Marrakech to Matlock

Quite a journey! At the end of the October Half Term holiday I left the hubbub and hurly burly of the Moroccan medina for the uptight bureaucracy of a County Council meeting in Matlock in Derbyshire to decide the fate of Combs Infant School. The contrast was profound. The startling colours of the Orient compared to the washed out greys of County Hall: the vibrancy of North Africa to the drabness of the meeting room. Councillor Charles sat at one end of the table. We gave him a cursory nod. Parents, teachers and other interested parties were squeezed into the alcoves around the room. The Moroccan sunshine had no place here. One’s spirit felt sapped as Mr Charles started to speak: ‘I find myself in the unusual position of not agreeing with what the Educational Officers have recommended.’ The recommendation NOT to close the school was wrong, he said. The legislation which states that no school can be shut if there is not another in the vicinity which matches its quality (and which they should have all known at the beginning of this absurdly time consuming, costly and ultimately futile process) did not, in his view, apply to schools such as Combs Infants. Who, then, is it aimed at, one could ask? This was a man who had been thwarted. A man who had wanted our school shut at any cost. It was startlingly clear that reason, educational excellence, even money, had nothing to do with it. It was, quite simply, as had been stated by a fellow councillor from the beginning, the politics of envy. He went on local radio immediately to state his intention of getting the 'loophole' in the law changed. He just wanted to piss on our parade.

We fought the battle and we won. We beat the authorities and the politicians. Power to the people. It can be done. It must be done. I just wish we had not become such a nation of ‘Yes, sirs’ and ‘Can’t be bothered-ers’. Just think what we might be able to change…

November, 2007

2 comments:

Exmoorjane said...

Crikey, Matlock. I had a friend from university who grew up there adn went a fair bit in the late 70s/early 80s.
Fabulous that you have saved the school but boo hiss to the misery-guts that didn't get his way. Sounds like a playground bully. Ah, throw his toy soldiers in a bed of nettles.....

elizabethm said...

you saved the school! fantastic news.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...