just two weeks ago, Medway Messenger reported on the appalling proceedings at a Medway Council meeting where Councillor Wicks refused to acknowledge any responsibility for the multitude of failings in an Education Service producing some of the worst outcomes for children in the whole country, outlined in this website and elsewhere. One wonders what, apart from getting rid of one Director with a background in education and replacing her with another whose background is in Children's Services, he has contributed to tackling this debacle.
Certainly, it is evident that combining education and children's services has been a disaster for Medway children, as it appears there is no one capable of managing, directing or leading the combined department and so either it should be broken down into its constituent parts, or a new leader needs to be found who is capable of transforming it into an effective unit, or better still both.
Whilst I claim no expertise in Children's Services which are primarily concerned with our most vulnerable young people, the list of actions required by OFSTED to take place immediately (five), within three months (eight), and within six months (four) is quite frightening and clearly amount to a catalogue of failure for which, surely, someone is accountable. Mr Wicks appears the only constant factor.
Of course there was a similar problem in Kent two years ago, and here a solution has been found. Education and Children's Services were split, and a new Cabinet Member, Jenny Whittle, was appointed for Children's Services, who has ruthlessly turned the Department round. However, unlike the situation in Medway, she is not complacent and recognises there is much further to go, Last month's parallel inspection of KCC noted that: "Senior leaders within the council, supported by strong and well-informed political leadership, have delivered a significantly improved response at the point of referral to children’s social care services from an earlier low baseline. In consequence, children who are at risk of harm are protected by effective initial screening and prompt subsequent action by the council and police services". I fear it will be a long wait to read something similar about Medway.