The Education Interest Group Debacle
September 2011
Correspondence leading to the demise of the Waltham Forest Governors Education Interest Group

Sent: Monday, September 19, 2011 05:03 PM
To: Cllr Marie Pye
Dear Councillor Pye,
Congratulations on taking on this important role speaking for children and especially for the borough's education service.
I write on behalf of the Education Interest Group. As you probably know our group usually meets at the Town Hall and the previous Children Services spokespersons have kindly attended the meetings and booked a room for us. I hope you will also be able to afford us this facility.
I am hoping to have a meeting in early October and I wonder if you could book a room for us.
The dates that will work for me are 3 - 6 October and 12 -13 October.
If none of these dates are possible for you could you kindly suggest possible dates when you could be free.
Thank you
Good wishes
Greta Akpeneye

From: Cllr Marie Pye <>
Subject: Re:

To: "''" <>
Date: Monday, 19 September, 2011, 17:53
Thanks Greta
Can you let me have the tor, structure and purpose of this group.
It would also be helpful to see previous minutes to get more idea of what it covers
Best wishes

Subject: Re:
To: "Cllr Marie Pye" <>
Date: Monday, 19 September, 2011, 22:32
The group was formed back in 2009 to give Labour governors and members interested in education, an opportunity to discuss Education together and keep ourselves informed in order to participate fully in our governing bodies. As a discussion group we took part in the consultation on the education manifesto for example and we try to discuss matters of relevance to the wider education debate.
The group was set up with full permission from the LGC and as you are on my database I know that you have had copies of the emails that I send to all those members of the party who appear on my database.
I attach here notes from some of the meetings. I hope that covers what you want to know.
Thanks for your time.
Good wishes
Greta Akpeneye

Friday, 23 September, 2011 14:22
Dear Councillor Pye,
I wonder if you have had any time to consider my request to book a room for a meeting with the education interest group? The dates I gave you which are possible for me were October 3-6 and October 11 and 12. Of course if none of these are possible you could suggest dates that suit you. You responded to my initial email by asking for information about the group which I sent to you but I have had no further response. I attach here the information you requested once again.
I would be most grateful for a response.
Good wishes
Greta Akpeneye

From: Cllr Marie Pye <>
Subject: education interest group
Cc: "Cllr Clyde Loakes" <>, "Cllr Geraldine Reardon" <>, "Cllr Saima Mahmud" <>, "Cllr Liaquat Ali" <>, "Cllr Afzal Akram" <>, "Cllr Angie Bean" <>, "Cllr Ebony Vincent" <>
Date: Friday, 23 September, 2011, 15:47
Dear Greta
Many thanks for your e-mails and for all of the information that you provided.
Obviously as a new portfolio holder I will be taking my own approach to specific portfolio issues. Having considered the best way to interact with local party members on the very wide breadth of my portfolio and discussed this with colleagues I feel it is more appropriate to do this through current party structures i.e. information provided to the LGC and through specific topic-based meetings which I hope to organise for Labour Governors.
So I don't think it would be appropriate for me to organise the education interest group meetings (and they would need to be organised by me if they were held at the town hall-this is the protocol for Cabinet members booking rooms). I also don't think the meetings should be organised around my availability, that availability is extremely limited and as I said my main interaction will be through providing information to the LGC and specific topic-based meetings.
However, I am sure that these are very valuable meetings for those who attend and if I am free on the evening of the meetings I'm sure I will be hoping to come along to join in with the wide variety of discussions that can be held on this topic. So I would be grateful if you would keep me on the mailing list.
Best wishes
Marie Pye

Dear Councillor Pye,
I am sorry and surprised that your response to my request is negative in view of the excellent support we have had in the past from other relevant members of the cabinet. We have always been able to find mutually convenient dates even though, I have no doubt, they too were busy people.
I also understand that you have had exactly the same arrangement for meetings with the 'Housing interest group' when you were cabinet member for Housing. In those circumstances your objections to booking a room for the 'Education Interest group' hardly seem credible and appear somewhat inequitable.
We do consider this to be an official party structure, if the fact that it was instituted with the support of the LGC counts. If you intend to meet with party governors and people interested in education, then I would have thought this particular forum would be perfect. Not only would you be able to discuss your selected topics but you would also get the benefit of the advice, knowledge and expertise of a range of people who are education specialists as well as governors and party members. You will also get to hear about our concerns and not simply focus on topics that you select. That would seem to me a more democratic way of working.
You will, of course, remain on the data base, as you have always been, and you will get the same information as all members on my data base.
Good wishes
Dr. Greta Akpeneye