Thursday, 5 July 2012

Liverpool Echo and the right to reply

Article by Greg O'Keefe

The letter the Echo refused to publish

Sometimes you've got to rub your eyes, pinch yourself and wonder morosely at the lamentable standards of journalism. Greg O'Keefe's article in the Weekend Echo (Why protests seem just too cruel for school) on the Everton Free School was a prime example of cronyism, i.e. placing an article in a newspaper to curry favour with a powerful organisation.

Here's some questions that Greg O'Keefe might like to investigate-

1) Why is a football club trying to run a school and is Everton F.C. a good business model - Kirkby Stadium, Kit Bag, Finch Farm etc?

2) Who are the Place Group (the 'project directors' for the Free School) and why won't they reveal who is on the board?

3) Why is the Everton Free School refusing to state the salary of Principal Adrian Packer?

4) How can they appoint experienced staff? The school opens in September and staff have to give a term's notice.

5) What will be the staffing levels for the 120 children they propose to teach? How many will be qualified teachers? 'Free' Schools do not have to employ any qualified teachers.

6) Will the Everton Free School use the notoriously lax building regulations or the stricter and safer ones used by the Department for Education?

7) If the Everton Free School recruits 200 children in 3 years time how many jobs will be lost from Pupil Referral Units and special schools?

8) Exactly how many people attended the two 'consultation' events?

9) Why are Everton refusing to discuss the Free School at their own Fans' Forum?

10) Why are the Everton Free School refusing to send a spokesperson to our public meeting on July 17th?

Greg O'Keefe makes a rather sweeping and categorical statement, 'Cynicism at heart of objections to scheme', surely good journalists always attempt to canvass a wide range of opinion? Strange to say but Greg O'Keefe didn't even attempt to contact the organisation that is opposing the Everton Free School.

Richard Knights

Evertonians Against Free Schools