‘Walsall education’s limbo threatening exam success’ says Walsall Labour

Students in Walsall deserve to be congratulated for their success in last June’s GSCE results but pupils starting their exam courses this year face an uncertain future, Walsall Labour are warning.

Labour councillors fear talks on the return of education services from the private company Serco back to the council are moving too slowly, leaving plans for the borough’s schools in limbo.

Cllr Barbara Cassidy, Labour spokeswoman for education, said results for children studying for their exams in two years time will be shaped by negotiations taking place now.

She said; “The announcement on GCSE results is greatly welcomed and each and every student should be justifiably proud of all their hard work. And after so many years when Walsall sat at the bottom of the education league for GCSE results it is also gratifying to see it finally improve.”

Since pupils sat their exams last year, the government’s abolition of Building Schools for the Future capital grants and the expansion of academies have lead to many Walsall schools choosing to leave  local authority control, forcing Walsall Council  to terminate its contract with Serco.

Discussions with the company over how education services are returned to Walsall Council are understood to be hung up on a number of issues, including the transfer of staff to the local authority.

Cllr Cassidy added: “We need to resolve these disputes now if we are to deliver the service schools and pupils deserve.

“If these long awaited improvements in GCSE results are to be built on, we must have a coherent education strategy, otherwise we face the prospect of again slipping back and failing our children.

“Government policy is forcing councils across the country to rethink their education services. For once Walsall should seize the opportunity of getting ahead of the game instead of trying to catch up.”