County’s head of children’s services calls for united front

County Council election.'Victory for Robert Arckless.
County Council election.'Victory for Robert Arckless.

The county council’s head of children’s services is facing a tough task following his election to the role in May this year.

Speaking to the Gazette yesterday, Coun Robert Arckless, policy board member for children’s services, said: “I’m extremely disappointed to see schools fall in Ofsted categories.

“I appreciate it will be a real blow for all the staff teams and governing bodies and, of course, the parents will be concerned.

“What matters now is how we move things forward. I’m fully committed to turning this around.

“We must work together to improve on this situation. My aspiration is that every child in Northumberland should go to a good school and we have some work to do before we get there.

“It’s got to be about what’s best for the children.”

And he rejected accusations that Northumberland’s first, middle and high school system had anything to do with it.

“It’s not about two-tier or three-tier,” he said. “It’s about standards, not structure. The problem is that we have to make the system work. We can’t allow the schools to hide behind the perceived failings of another school.

“We have to be open and honest and we will expect that schools work together.”

He also appreciated that there would be concerns among parents and the wider community.

“This will evolve over time, but we are very conscious that people will be worried,” he added.

“People in Northumberland care about their schools, they are very much part of the community.

“We will do what we can to give support, but we need the support of the community to help us with this.”