Ministers accused of Hackney U-turn
Friday 07 November 1997
Richard Painter, chairman of the improvement team sent into Hackney by the Government, last night rejected suggestions that he would resign. But he is, however, asking for meetings with both government and council officials, after Stephen Byers, the school standards minister, welcomed the council education committee's "positive response".
The present row is over the appointment of a director of education, a post which has been unfilled for nearly two years. Mr Painter wants the director to be responsible for all aspects of education to ensure that the job goes to a first-class candidate.
Tony Elliston, the council's chief executive, and councillors want the director to be in charge only of schools. A separate executive director would have responsibility for consumer services and construction.
The committee did make some concessions to the improvement team by agreeing to upgrade the director of schools post and offer the salary suggested by Mr Painter. Earlier this week, Mr Painter said that he would ask ministers to intervene unless the council accepted his report by next Thursday.
Before Wednesday night's meeting, official Labour councillors in Hackney were also backing Mr Painter's team. Mr Byers' intervention is understood to have led to their decision to support rebel Labour, Conservative and Liberals in opposing the team's proposals.
Mark Lushington of the Hackney Teachers' Association said there had been a stitch-up. "Ministers have caved in to the local politicians ... this government is supposed to be about education, education, not politics, politics."
A Department for Education spokesman said the Government had not backed down. "We asked for someone to head the education service in Hackney and the council has agreed to that."
The improvement team was invited into Hackney after an inspectors' report said the education service was "in disarray."
But Mr Painter said they did not go far enough. "My team is very unhappy about this. They are all pretty upset."
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...