Friday, 18 May 2012

Education = Future

Friday 18th May

Regular readers of the blog will know how important I deem education to be. Lucky enough as I was to have a what I consider to be a great and fulfilling educational experience, I remain of the opinion that providing a similar experience for the children of the county - and indeed the country - is one of our most important responsibilities as a Council.
For me, education is the future and it necessarily follows that the better the education, the better the future.

Part of the recent challenges to the county over the last two years has been the accommodation of extra students into the county education system. Owing to a population increase, there remains a 'bulge' of children going through the county system with the result that Surrey schools have had to put plans in place to accommodate the extra numbers. This planning takes the form not only of extra teaching staff etc, but also the physical construction of classrooms, canteens and other physical material: it has historically proven to be something of a challenge.

This week's Education Select Committee considered what else might be done to ensure that future trends might be accommodated. The main problem is accurately identifying the trends since - as an example - there have been instances where planning and building have taken place at schools to meet the demand of a new housing estate, only for the housing estate to itself be caught up in the planning process or not happen at all. It is something of a moving feast at the best of times, but I am glad to be able to report that the officers are aware of the ongoing & future issues and are in the process of preparing further plans in partnership with the Surrey boroughs. This is in order to provide an accurate forecasting process and one that is flexible enough to accommodate future events, such as the closure of a school, a new housing development, the arrival of migrant workers etc.

I am delighted to have been granted a place on the Education Scrutiny Committee at County Hall as Vice-Chairman. I look forward to being able to participate in not only ensuring that our Cabinet decisions are properly and carefully scrutinised, but to a lesser extent and by virtue of that privelege, to be able to assist the shaping of the education of our county's children.

It is very much the reason I originally became involved at County Hall.


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