Letter: Running out of sacrificial lambs

Patsy Lacey is pretty unhappy about how this council has performed in relation to our children

lamb-jumpinjimmyjavaWe always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers. This one from Patsy Lacey. Ed

Ofsted’s report on the Arrangements for the Protection of Children on the Isle of Wight is the first which lays bare the level of mismanagement by Councillors and Council senior staff on the Island.

So what is the position of children on the Island now?

The Ofsted report on Cowes Enterprise College puts the College into Special Measures. The Principal resigned. This followed the suspension of Janet Newton Deputy Director of Education, apparently held to account for delays in opening the new building.

It is rumoured in the bazaars that Cowes governors and staff were stunned. In Ofsted speak “Notice to Improve” means that the school is aware of its failings and is trying to improve. “Special Measures” means that the school is failing and nobody realises it.

Sandown Academy Ofsted inspection
Ofsted visited Sandown Bay on Tuesday 15 January. It doesn’t take much to predict that the result will either be Notice to Improve or Special Measures.

Do not look for resignation from their Head. Mrs Khan Jones was only appointed in September 2012 to the Academy run by the Academies Enterprise Trust.

She left Carisbrooke College the previous April saying she wanted to go back to a city environment and be close to her family.

Judith Richardson, Chief Executive of the Island Innovation Trust was left without a Head for a term. However she paid for that, the poor GCSE results and telling the truth to Steve Beynon and the Island Innovation Trust with her head (awful pun sorry).

Shaheen Khan Jones obviously missed the challenge in Island education.

Hacked off
Not so her husband, Steve Jones, former Head of Physics at Ryde School. He returned to Hackney’s Mossbourne Academy as Deputy Head in December 2012. This was the post held by Mrs Khan Jones when Sir Michael Wilshaw, now Head of Ofsted, was that Academy Head.

If and when Carisbrooke College is inspected, Inspectors will find a new Head, David Shaw. Assistant Head Stephen Boyd is Assistant Head responsible for Discipline.

New free school
He is one of a consortium applying to open a new school with an accent on discipline. His experience at Carisbrooke will prove useful hopefully.

Medina College employed CfBT at considerable cost, to audit performance. They issued quite an anodyne statement, sometimes it is called damning with faint praise. Presumably the results from recent exams will demonstrate the value of CfBT expertise!

Running out of sacrificial lambs
Council Leader David Pugh and his Chief Executive Steve Beynon who is an expert in education will soon be running out of sacrificial lambs.

Judith Richardson, Janet Newton and Jonathan Russell have all fallen on someone’s sword.

The latest excuses about failing the most vulnerable of our children include blaming Ofsted’s stricter regime. Ofsted have been operating this regime for nearly a year – didn’t anyone notice?

Various grades of inadequacy?
Our responsible Council Member is not standing again so holding her to account is probably a non-starter as she has nothing to lose.

The most damning criticism is that management is inadequate. That starts at the top. David Pugh will be held to account in May, if he decides to tough it out that long.

Chop from the top
Will Mr Beynon continue to cling on to his £150,000+ salary and be thick-skinned enough to wash his hands frequently? His predecessor Joe Duckworth went to another authority at the highest Chief Executive’s salary in the country and from there to be CE of the National League against Cruel Sports. Is the hunting of Steve a matter for Joe now?

If the Island is looking for fast improvements, they are probably doomed to disappointment. Our children deserve better.

Image: Jumpinjimmyjava under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 18th January, 2013 5:33pm


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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. It should not be forgotten that Cllr. Pugh was the Portfolio Holder for education before Cllr. Cousins accepted the poisoned chalice; both are culpable. So, too, is Mr Beynon who was Director before taking over as Chief Executive.

    Cllr Cousins Should be held to account – she keeps saying that she did her best, but her best just wasn’t (and isn’t) good enough. With that in mind, Cllr. Cameron should also be gone. His performance at Full Council on Wednesday was lamentable.

  2. Er.. i’s Pete Shaw at Carisbrooke.. Otherwise about right…

  3. Staff at Carisbrooke follow Steph Boyd… out of curiosity…

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with Patsy’s sentiments and the total disgrace at such a level neglect and mismanagement with regard to providing a Framework of Educational opportunity and Safeguarding for this generation of Island Children by Senior Managers in Education,Social Care and the Councillors responsible for overseeing and scrutinising Local Authority Services for Children and Families.
    In Education they have allowed my old School to be placed in “Special measures” and in Children’s Services they are now in receipt of an Ofstead report that views all areas of this L/A ability to provide a “Safe Framework ” of Care to our most vulnerable Children and Young People as being Inadequate in all areas.
    Patsy you made the thrust of your article with regard to Schools and Education.I agree with your sentiments, however following the publication of The Ofstead report that focussed on Safeguarding and Child protection I did a small amount of research on the internet and found some quite alarming recomendations placed in the public domain that highlights just what a load of Tosh is spun to the public via press reports etc following a a Damming Ofstead report.
    Let me share these with you if I may.
    In 2007 following a Childs death a Serious Case Review was commisioned by the Local Safeguarding board.It was authorised and produced by the L/A but was viewed by Ofstead as being inadequate.
    It was completed by an Independent Reviewing officer eventually in 2009.This report was agreed by all parties as being accurate and the reccomendation accepted by the L/A.
    The Main recomendation was that regular supervision of S/Workers and auditing of Case files by Team managers should take place every month.
    In 2010 another SCR was comissioned following the tragic case of a toddler having multiple fractures due to non accidental injuries.
    The Recomendations were many but INCLUDED THE REQUIREMENT FOR SOCIAL WORKERS TO HAVE REGULAR SUPERVISION and monthly file audits by team managers and three monthly file audits by service mangers on every case and a file audit to be completed by the head of service on one random case file every 6 months.
    An Ofstead inspection(report published in Nov 2010) found the service Adequate in all areas but made it clear that Recording ,supervision and assesments were “Poor” and needed to meet the requirements in line with the agreed recomendations of the Serious Case Review.
    A Council Policy and Procedure was agreed to be implemented in Dec 2010

    In the Ofstead report published this week the findings were clear that the procedures and policy recommended and agreed were not being adhered to certainly with regard to regular Social Work Supervision ,Case Planning ,Assements and Auditing of Open Files.
    Perhaps this is why Cllr Cousins confirmed that 700 open case files had been audited by Senior Managers as a way of Quality control.
    This amounts to neglect of the highest order at a Senior Management and Council scrutiny level otherwise why would there be a need to audit 700 files if the agreed protocol had been followed..
    As I have said before even Malcolm Tucker would not be able to spin his way out of this one.
    There should be resignations with regard to all of this debacle!!No we should demand resignations as there is clear evidence of not following agreed procedures it is not one or two Social workers who have subsequently left (As was spun to the voters)who are at fault here!!

  5. Robert Jones

    19.Jan.2013 12:34pm

    Not often that a reply is as interesting as the article. I should like to see Crouchie writing about this at even greater length – my own relationship with Social Services, as it then was, goes back to when I was chairman of Medina Housing Association, and we had to deal with them on a regular basis. I was hideously unimpressed at that time (1991 to 1995), and all I’ve seen since suggests that they’ve been trying to catch up and overcome deep-seated, endemic problems. Having a post-holder at Council cabinet level who could see the strategic picture as well as the individual detail would have helped, but as an outside observer, I felt that councillors really couldn’t be expected to make up for the deficiencies of senior staff: there have been problems of recruitment and – crucially – retention of good people. Not for the first time, I wonder if the island is really capable of managing these services on its own – it’s still regarded either as a career stopping-off point, or as a career graveyard; while bigger is often not better at all, in this case it might be – trying to run everything on the island from the island may be the experiment in administration that has run its course and needs to be thought about again.

  6. Very kind words Robert.I read two serious case review reports (All in the Public Domain) from the Isle of Wight Safeguarding Boards Website.On the Ofstead website you will find the Inspection of Isle of Wight Childrens Services carried out in Oct 2010 and published in Nov2010.
    In the space of two years it has gone from Adequate to Inadequate.!!
    With regard to S/Worker retention I would point out that during the Launch of the new model there was a procsess of re interview and selection involving all Social Work and Social Work assistants jobs.The Child In Need Team was abolished and to my knowledge 2 Experienced Social Workers who were Islanders were not re-employed and at least 4 S/w assistants followed a similar fate.(It should be noted that Both S/Workers have been snapped up by Hamshire CC and a Private Fostering Agency and are doing well.)In October 2011 the Chair of the Child Protection Conference resigned and a Few Months Later all Three Independent Reviewing officers were made redundent,I suspect with a gagging clause put around them.(They had between them some 50+ years of Child Protection expertise but were it seems deemed surplus to requirement!!!)
    Oh by the way I have just read Geoff Lumbley’s request for Resignations from both Cllr Cameron and Cousins.
    It may be wortwhile pointing out that Ofstead wrote to all Local Authorities over a year ago now pointing out the structure ,procsess and purpose of the new style of inspection.Any defence of “We didn’t know what to expect “,Or “It was a very Extreme and RigerousInspection” Etc either means information wasn’t forwarded to the Councillors or they Forgot.There is NO excuse for this and Ordinary front line S/Workers live in a regime on the Island where they are frightened of being intimidated and having disciplinary action taken against them by Senior Managers who have plunged this service into disarray and provided an inadequate service to all those needing protection.

    • wightywight

      19.Jan.2013 8:26pm


      The system (which you appear to know about…)that was put in place was Director driven rather than Councillor led…. I’m sure you know that.
      I’ve posted elsewhere that Ian Anderson should go….he has been responsible for overseeing this mess which is right across Social Services…not just childrens services. Particularly, as you point out, with regard to Care Manager posts which have been decimated.
      In Adult Social Care there are over 2,000 back assessments to be done …with two Care Managers undertaking them. Those two Care Mangers have been taken from normal duties (for example, new referrals…) to undertake this backlog. I’ll leave you with the image of how long this is going to take at about 4 (re)assessments per day maximum…
      The person responsible for this is Ian Anderson. He introduced all this nonsense and he should go. The Councillor, with ultimate responsibility, should also go because that’s what should happen. It’s academic because she IS going in May anyway.
      How the Director gets away with this is the measure of the capabilities (now) of the Council, councillors and cabinet. If they cannot deduce that these reports are a result of wrong decisions and policy by the Director then clearly they are not fit for the purpose either.
      On a broader note, of course, the swathing cuts voted in by this administration could not be made without casualty…without losses, without the service being impacted. Thus it was, thus it is. The results of the cuts are now being seen by the disgraceful performance this administration and Director.
      The whole Social Care system is down the tubes….all of us that work in it.. know it, experience it and have seen in utter disbelief and amazement how it has been decimated. Day to day it is an absolute and utter joke. Blame who you will but the cuts to funding were terminal and the Directors philosophy and ethos have applied the coup de grace…
      …and to add insult, they are (it appears) going to brazen this out….. no self doubt, no inner reflection, no remorse (blame others…)no dignity and no shame…


  7. Black Dog

    2.Mar.2013 11:40am

    What has happened to the Boy Blunder? does he still advise Michael Gove on Education and does he still have his education consultancy with Cratus?

    I wonder what Cratus’ clients think about the Island Schools (one in Special Measures and another to follow shortly, if it has not done so already)?

    Now one must question to role Cartus has to play with lobbying for firms that have secured contracts on the Island. A regime change will, I am sure, reveal all and all the gagging clauses on dismissed employees will be lifted to get to the truth so that Pugh, Brown, Beynon, Love, etc. never work again in local office.

    • Black Dog

      2.Mar.2013 4:04pm

      I see from the CP online headline that Sandown High has gone into Special Measures.

      Yet another generation let down by this council. Hang your heads in Shame Pugh, Brown, Beynon, Love and Anderson.

      Resign now and avoid further humiliation

  8. Special measures at Sandown are no surprise to locals, we knew this was coming…what will be a surprise when the report is finally public is the depth of just how bad it is.

    We now have to start again (from May!) with a brand new head, more community involvment and a restoration of discipline at the school, both for the pupils and the system

  9. Island Monkey

    2.Mar.2013 5:44pm

    We all knew this was coming. Our education experts Beynon and Pugh must be feeling very sorry for themselves? But where’s their expression of regret at their latest failure? They have known this school was failing for weeks and still chose to say nothing. It beggars belief that the two people in charge, the two people who so often promised to improve education on the Island, have absolutely nothing to say when it’s discovered they actually made things worse.

    Another generation failed, parents distressed. The whole rotten lot of them in County Hall should follow Beynon out of the door. As leader, the now silent Pugh paid Beynon more than the Prime Minister and what did we get for it? A shambolic mess in education and children’s services.

  10. Keith Fagan

    2.Mar.2013 6:43pm

    What an absolute shame for the kids, parents and teachers at the school.

    Speaking from experience of the school (I mentored the kids there with Young Enterprise) I can only report that the students I came across were bright, articulate and keen to learn and succeed.

    Let us hope that Ofsted’s control can swiftly identify and correct the issues and put them back on track. The kids at Sandown and Cowes deserve so much more.

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