RCT Education Scrutiny Committee met this morning to look at whether or not the decision to cut back nursery education should be sent back to the Labour Cabinet for reconsideration. The committee met as a result of the decision being 'called in' by opposition Councillors.
Not unexpectedly in a committee which has a majority of Labour members the outcome was that the decision should stand. From September the Council say that children will only be entitled to full time education from the term following their 4th birthday. Children under that age will be entitled to only 15 hours a week and no school transport or dinners will be provided for them.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell attended the meeting as an observer, not being a member of the committee. He was denied the opportunity to ask any questions and said the meeting was a "farce."
"Pantomime season is still going strong at RCT Council it seems - it would be laughable were the issue not so serious.
"The Chair went in with a list of Labour Councillors who were to be called to speak - they didn't even need to raise their hands to request it. They then spoke from what were obviously notes pre prepared by someone else which negated the opportunity for any genuine debate.
"There were a number of people in the public gallery who had not been to the previous meetings where the cuts were discussed and they were obviously shocked by what they witnessed. However, such arrogance and downright rudeness is par for the course in Labour run meetings in RCT.
"The Cabinet have made up their minds and the rest of the Labour Members will do as they are told.
"The real travesty is that they don't even appear to know what they are voting for. When asked to explain the proposals no-one there could. This follows the debacle following the Cabinet meeting when the Cabinet Member for Education started to give a parent completely erroneous information before being pulled away by her son, the Head of PR and Strategy."
Parents posting on the Facebook group 'Parents against cuts to education in RCT' are furious that views from such a wide range of people responding to the consultation were ignored. One commented "Once again a completely pointless shambolic farcical display of incompetence in the Council chambers. I am thoroughly disgusted" whilst another said "RCT have shown a complete lack of respect + understanding of the people they represent + a large amount of contempt for the people they are supposed to serve."
A group of parents are now looking at pushing for a judicial review of the decision and say this matter won't go away.
'Parents against cuts to education in RCT'