Salford Council Leader, John Merry, has demanded an apology off the Salford Star after we accused him of `losing the plot' over his statements in the aftermath of the St George's School victory.
Mr Merry put the following (unedited) comments on our website...
"Its is shabby journalism of the sort you normally accuse others of not to check your facts. You may accuse me of lots of things, you may disagree but to state that I have "lost the plot" is disgraceful without phoneing me to ask me how I came to make such a statement. I would like an apolgy please."
Following the Schools Adjudicator's report we quoted John Merry saying "I am outraged that his solution is to shut Harrop Fold and give their building to St George's".
We wrote that the Schools Adjudicator had never said this in his report and therefore that John Merry had `lost the plot'. And we stand by the fact that the report never states this…it merely suggests that an "alternative approach would be the possibility of SG [St George's] being retained and relocated in the adjoining HF premises". We took this to mean a sharing of the school (see full article here with Mr Merry's comments underneath)
However Mr Merry has now sent us a copy of highly confidential e-mails between Nick Page, Deputy Director of Children's Services and the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, where Page asks "Is the suggestion from the letter that we would close Harrop Fold high school and move St George's high school into Harrop Fold's premises as a Catholic VA school?" and the reply is "Yes".
Please note that this is a "suggestion", a "possibility" and not, as Mr Merry states, a "solution". The Schools Adjudicator doesn't have the power to impose `solutions'.
To keep Mr Merry CBE sweet he can have his `apolgy' but not having access to the Council's `confidential' e-mails means that we can only go on what we read that is in the public domain…and, to us, the Adjudicator's report still doesn't say that he's suggesting shutting Harrop Fold and moving in St George's - his e-mails might but his report doesn't.
In any case, Page has written to all Salford's Head Teachers that "The Council has confirmed that under no circumstances would this option be considered"…or is that confidential?
PS: When we said that John Merry had "lost the plot" we think he might have misinterpreted what we meant - we obviously meant that he had lost the plot of land on which St George's School stands...that the Council had already suggested as a future development site for 85 houses.