Labour rival accused of being ‘out of touch’ over academy

SUPPORTIVE... Coun Jeff Milburn. Below, Cleadon Village C of E Primary.

SUPPORTIVE... Coun Jeff Milburn. Below, Cleadon Village C of E Primary.

A TORY councillor has backed moves for a school in his ward to convert to an academy after claiming a Labour opponent was “out of touch” for opposing the switch.

The Gazette reported this week that Cleadon Village C of E Primary School has passed a resolution to move away from local authority control – and gain control over its own finances.

Coun Margaret Meling, who represents Cleadon and East Boldon for Labour, has spoken out against the plan, and has announced her intention to oppose it.

But her fellow Conservative ward councillor, Jeff Milburn, takes the opposite view.

Coun Milburn, whose wife Fiona is a governor at the school, has extended his full support to the academy bid, claiming it would “guarantee the best educational outcome” for pupils.


He said: “I would like to extend my full support to headteacher, Jane Beckett, the staff and governing body of Cleadon Village C of E Primary school in their move to begin a consultation period regarding a change to academy status.

“I am quite sure the decision will be made to guarantee the best educational outcome for the children at the school.

“Changing to academy status will enable the curriculum to be tailor-made to suit the needs of pupils, and give greater freedom in the deployment of resources and buying in of services such as maintenance, IT support and the like.

“The general day-to-day running of the school, as far as the pupils and parents are concerned, will probably not change that much.

“Most changes will be in the financial and administration side of things.

“At the end of the day, this outstanding school always strives to support its pupils, and this certainly won’t change. Becoming an academy will be a very positive move.”

Coun Milburn said he had already received calls of support from parents and local residents who back the move, adding: “It seems to me that once again Labour councillors are out of touch with the thoughts and wishes of the residents of Cleadon and East Boldon.”

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