It is to be regretted that The Northern Echo should savagely criticize the school following the unfavorable OFSTED report. The Church Commissioners have already taken action by putting in additional resources so the attack can only undermine the moral of the staff who are working hard to improve the situation. What the school needs now is support not attacks. Their reports prompted our bandwagon MP to join in and the left leaning Echo gave her plenty of publicity. But it is not clear if she helped to improve the situation. We recall that before it became an academy and changed its name it was Eastbourne Comprehensive. Then, under the control of the Labour Council of which Mrs Chapman was the Cabinet member in charge of schools, it was always a failing school so she has nothing to be proud of.

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The best part of Cameron’s reshuffle was the sacking of Gove so we hope to see the end of his ideological policies. His recent announcement that all school meals should be healthy specifying the fruit and veg content and limiting the number fried foods was good but it excluded Academies and Free schools. In Darlington all our Comprehensive schools are Academies and Polam is about to change into a Free School. Only about 6 of our Primaries are not Academies so the vast majority of our children are not covered by the new rules. In September all infants were eligible to free school meals so we may be feeding our young children unhealthy food. What a start in the drive to reduce obesity! It is illogical. All these schools are state funded so the children attending them should be covered by the new rules.

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The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has just announced changes to Darlington Borough Council Wards. The changes will come into force for the May 2015 Council Elections and will reduce the number of Councillors from 53 to 50. They will also even up the wards so that each Councillor will represent approximately the same number of voters. The names of some wards have been changed so that they are more identifiable with the area.

Our Councillors and particularly Joe Kelley are delighted with the Commission’s recommendations. The Tory and Labour groups met in secret carefully excluding us and submitted their proposals which would have cut North Road in half making it difficult for us to retain. However their proposals ignored the unwritten rules about using natural boundaries and retaining communities. The Lib Dem group after a lot of hard work by Joe on the boundaries on the map and Anne-Marie on the written report submitted an alternative plan which has been almost totally accepted by the Commission. It proves that trying to play politics does not always pay.

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This is the new home of the Darlington & Sedgefield Liberal Democrats.

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