Monmouthshire councillor’s ‘hands tied’ in education report row
12:10pm Wednesday 30th January 2013 in Gwent news
A SENIOR Monmouthshire councillor said she is not allowed to discuss details of the authority’s recent Estyn inspection of its education department, despite rumours the county will fare badly.
At yesterday’s full council meeting, leader of the opposition Roger Harris accused cabinet member for education Elizabeth Hacket Pain of keeping feedback fromEstyn under wraps.
Cllr Hacket Pain was asked whether she was aware of “numerous and persistent rumours” that the Estyn report, due to be published on March 13, would be negative.
Cllr Hacket Pain said only five people were in the room when Estyn inspectors spoke about their countywide inspection, and those present had been told not to reveal what was said in case it changed between now and the publication of the official report.
“It would be wrong to tell anybody what the verbal feedback was,” she said. “My hands are tied with the process.”
She said this was the same as any other local authority, and chief executive Paul Matthews had contacted Estyn to ask whether the information could be shared, but they said no.
Speaking to the Argus, Cllr Harris said: “Cllr Hacket Pain has been cabinet member for education for eight years. If there is anything good in the report she should have the credit.
“If there is anything bad she can take the blame,” he said.
“It is against a background of members standing up and saying howwonderful we are at education. We hope that is the case, but if it is not we are not going to suffer that rubbish any more.”
Cllr Harris said there had been “various rumours emanating from the Chepstow area”.
Speaking about Estyn’s ban on feedback being shared, he said: “I really don’t understand why that should be the case. If it is not good then put us in the picture, otherwise we have no option but to start attacking.
“It is pretty weird that they can give verbal feedback and we have got to wait three months for the report. The system is rubbish.”