Councillor on Medway Council: The Issues

Choice in Education

John Ward

Ensuring that enough Grammar School places are available for those who qualify and choose to go this way, and supporting schools of excellence such as the Kent Music School (despite concerted opposition from other political groups on Medway Council) have been two very strongly-supported aspects—by the Conservative group on Medway Council—of providing choice in education in Medway.

There has also been opposition from the other political groups to continue funding for the Kent Music School. This is really daft! The comparatively small amount of money that went to Kent Music School has been voted to be dispersed (very thinly!) between the many schools in the area. Each of those schools would therefore receive a couple of hundred pounds per year. How are they expected to provide a useful music education from that? Besides anything else, how can music students come together to rehearse and perform in a large band or orchestra?

It is all so silly and negative; and in practice the thinly-dispersed money can hardly be much use, and will undoubtedly vanish into each school's general "pot" rather than going on music education.

This outcome appears to be one of several examples of what has been called "the politics of envy"—somewhat surprising as more than one of those voting against Medway Council's continued support of the Kent Music School have children who have benefited from that very school...

In the whole area of education, Ron is spearheading our group's work in scrutiny as the Conservative chairman of the Education and Lifelong Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee as well as a lot of other work such as governorship of three schools, helping with numerous school placement appeals, and his own full-time employment as a specialist teacher for hearing-impaired children.