Les Wicks Fails to Take Responsibility for Education Portfolio Failings

Cllr Adam Price, Medway Labour spokesperson for Children's Services called on Cllr Les Wicks to resign

The Labour Group were disappointed at last week’s Council meeting to see that Cllr Les Wicks is still unwilling to accept responsibility for his failings and stand down.

This despite the litany of errors that fall within his remit:

  • The 11+ exam fiasco at the Chatham Grammar School for Boys and the Rainham School for Girls where Medway Conservatives blamed the school for internal Council failures
  • The botched Primary School re-organisation programme which used incorrect pupil statistics to close local primary schools, including the closure of Ridge Meadow and proposed closures of St Peter’s, Rochester and St John’s, Chatham
  • The £350,000 bill to cancel photocopier contracts across schools
  • The £1.8m overspend on the Walderslade School
  • The £1.25m overspend on the Woodlands School
  • Failure to back the Educational Maintenance Allowance for 16-18 year olds
  • The cancellation of the School improvements at Luton School and the cuts to Building School budget from £5m to now cover maintenance only

Medway being ranked close to the bottom of the Level 4 league table, with only 67% of pupils across the area gaining the level requiredIn any other job, that amount of error and incompetence would surely lead to dismissal.Cllr Adam Price, Medway Labour’s spokesperson for Children and Young People, said,

“Cllr Wicks may have held onto his post this time, but we will be keeping a close eye on how he manages his portfolio in the weeks to come, as it is vital that Medway’s children and young people get a good education and the best start in life. He cannot afford to make more mistakes.”

Cllr Sam Craven, who was highly active in the campaign against school closures said,

“I am at a loss as to how Les Wicks can still believe that he has done nothing wrong, even when it has been proven by both parents and officials*. This man is clearly not capable of fulfilling his role, nor connecting with the public, which has to be at the forefront of his role.”

“I think his arrogance and usual dismissive remarks on Thursday – along with the rest of his Tory supporters – were deeply disappointing given the seriousness of his role, and the errors he has made. His comments showed not a single ounce of respect for those his actions and decisions have caused upset and turmoil for during the last few years.”

“It would appear having spoken with thousands of Medway residents over the past two and a half years, that it is only the other 34 Tory members who think he is doing a good job. Most people in Medway strongly disagree.”

Notes:

*The Council’s plan to close St John’s infant school in 2009 was overturned by the Independent Schools Adjudicator.