The Mighty Quinn 2 – Requires Improvement

We said this one would run and run and sure enough after our The Mighty Quinn post yesterday we have received some useful clarifications about recent Ofsted inspections (which we’ve amended) and the fact that Erica Sharman was an Assistant Head not a Deputy Head at St John Plessington Catholic College!
The additional information also suggests that we’re not the only ones making observations about inspections and questioning the ambitions of the Frank Field Education Trust.
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Erica Sharman was an Assistant Head (I think), not deputy but was on Quinn’s senior team for 10 years (see page 1 and 2 of Plessington SLT above ).
It is significant that South Wirral High has just got a 3 (Requires Improvement) in every category – report published this week.
South Wirral High School – just inspected March 2019 – RI (3) in every category. (report released this week)
Originally they were inspected in Feb 2017 – the lead inspector then was Will Smith – they got a 3 RI which seemed fair at the time.
Ofsted returned to South Wirral in March 2019 and their report has just been published. Their Progress 8 score, the important national measure that all schools are judged against, has been bang on national average for two years in 2017 and 2018 with a score of 0 (top 50%). Whitby also got 0 (top 50%) in 2018 and was even higher nationally in 2017. Any school would anticipate being judged good with those figures, knowing they are in the top 50% of English schools nationally in terms of performance.
There are 3 local secondary schools that parents are choosing to send their children to rather than the Frank Field Trust Ellesmere Port C of E College,
The Whitby High School – inspected 7th Feb 2019
Ellesmere Port Catholic High School (EPCHS) – inspected March 2019
South Wirral High School – inspected 20th March 2019
Just as a point of reference, South Wirral comes under a different local authority to EPCHS and Whitby
South Wirral – Wirral
EPCHS and Whitby – Cheshire West and Chester
Is it an accident that all 3 competing local schools to the Frank Field Trust have been inspected in a 6 week period, two of which have been given RI (3) for possibly the next 30 months at least (until re-inspection) and we await the Catholic High’s report, whose delayed release is ominous in itself?
If a school gets 3 for leadership twice, it can be forced by the Local Authority (LA) to become part of a multi academy chain.
It is also no coincidence that all 3 schools are LA schools.
Does this mean that South Wirral High could be forced into a multi academy trust because it has got a 3 twice and 3 for leadership twice which is the deciding factor? We’ll see what the LA do…….
It actually says on the Frank Field Education Trust website :
“FFET plans to grow to 10-15 schools within the first three years of existence, this growth will be achieved through Free Schools, convertor and sponsored academies, initially in the Liverpool city region, and surrounding area. The Trust will operate across the North West, where the Trust Directors and the executive team have a strong understanding of the local context: specifically developing a Liverpool/ Wirral hub and a Cheshire/ Manchester hub.”
Their ambition is clear!


Noone becomes No-one

Bertha 006

So farewell then Maura Noone – as it would appear the ‘Curse of Leaky Towers’ strikes again and Noone has deservedly gone back to being a no-one.

This time her departure is not from Wirral Council or Northamptonshire County Council but from Reading Council where as we reported last month ,astonishingly, she turned up as ‘Interim Head(case) of Social Care’ and no doubt she’ll turn up at another gullible council blissfully unaware of the trail of destruction she has previously left in her wake.

After we ran the story of Noone’s gobsmacking appointment which you can read here fellow Wirral blogger Wirral In It Together took the baton and despite being given the runaround by politicians and callow media types from Wirral to Reading he managed to establish that Noone had passed the finishing line.

It was  Cllr Tony Jones (no, not our very own Cllr Tony Jones) but Labour & Co-op Party Councillor for Redlands and Lead Member for Adult Social Care in Reading who was forced to eventually tweet :

Read full story here : High Noone at Reading Council. Danger averted.

Ah yes , Cllr Jones isn’t lucky for you and Reading Council that  it was a ‘temporary contract’ . Shame you didn’t elaborate on how on earth Noone got that ‘temporary contract’ and how that ‘temporary contract’ suddenly ceased shortly after Wirral Leaks had joined the dots for people seemingly averse to due diligence.

We can only sit back and wonder at Reading Council’s recruitment processes and the gaps and the gloss that the Noone CV must have contained to enable her to obtain a ‘temporary contract’ in the first place. Having said that, it’s all very reminiscent of Stewart Halliday ,our very own Transformation Tsar at Wirral Council isn’t it?

However if you think these particular recruitment decisions are cruel and unusual ,be prepared to be disabused of this notion when Wirral Leaks tells you all about the current Director of Adult Social Care and Cheshire West & Chester Council , who coincidentally was also previously a senior manager at Wirral Council’s notoriously toxic and dysfunctional Department of Adult Social Services alongside Noone.

We know shit floats but we’re sitting here open mouthed (no pun intended) when we read the revelations about this high ranking public official that have been sent to us following the fallout from the Noone fiasco. However we’ll leave His Lordship to fill you in (so to speak) on this particular piece of work when he returns from his holidays…

Wirral Council and the Maximum Wage

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It was whilst we were researching our piece on the appointment of Paul Boyce, Wirral Council’s new Director of Children’s Services , that we came across an interesting concept that cash-strapped Wirral Council would do well to heed.

Old Boyce Network

Of course you can read the Cllr Bernie Mooney approved version of the appointment in the following local media outlets :

Approved Version 016

You may remember that we mentioned that following an Ofsted inspection in 2010, which identified children’s services at Cheshire West & Chester ( CWaC) to be ‘inadequate’ , a certain Gerald Meehan was one of the people brought in to oversee the Ofsted improvement plan. Indeed between  2010-15 Mr Meehan was somehow working at both Halton Council as head of the children and enterprise and as strategic director of children’s services at CWaC . According to The Taxpayers’ Alliance lobby group in 2015, Mr Meehan was on £168,700.

Meehan then replaced departing CWaC  CEO  Steve Robinson in 2015 . Curiously Meehan was appointed on £30,000 less than his predecessor with a salary of £150,000. According to a report about the appointment in the Chester Chronicle

Mr Meehan will earn £150,000 compared with Mr Robinson’s £180,000 wage as it is argued the task is less onerous compared with that of Mr Robinson who helped set up CWaC from scratch in 2008 before it became a fully fledged authority in 2009.The huge restructuring of council services that followed saw thousands of posts made redundant so it is also claimed Mr Meehan will be in charge of a smaller organisation.

The full report can be read here

Meanwhile that same year neighbouring Wirral Council ,who as we know operate in a parallel universe ,actually INCREASED the CEO salary by £40,000 to £175,000 following the departure of slash and burn CEO Graham Burgess. Apparently the justification for the increase was that Wirral Council wanted to ‘attract the best’.  We suppose it all rather depends on how you define ‘the best’ – certainly best for the ruling Labour administration – but for the people of Wirral ? Is it any wonder that current CEO ‘ Stressed’ Eric Robinson has a lower profile than Lord Lucan?

And so with Wirral Council continuing to slough off  staff and services like a snake shedding its skin isn’t time we asked whether the CEO and senior officer remuneration should be exponentially lowered ? Will we look back in years to come and think that rewarding public servants to facilitate a free for all for free enterprise was a shameful period for public services. It’s not only about how central government (of all political hues) has encouraged outsourcing and asset stripping it’s also about how public servants in local government getting paid very well for placing public assets into private hands.  So whilst there are rich pickings at the top of the tree it seems that everyone else in public service are at the bottom waiting for windfall in the form of their P45.



Old Boyce Network

Paul Boyce LinkedIn

The day after our update on children’s services A Reality Check For Children’s Services  which followed a meeting of the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee , Wirral Council issued a press release to announce the appointment of Paul Boyce as the new director of children’s services rather than do so at the aforementioned meeting.

Welcoming the news of Mr Boyce’s appointment, Cllr Bernie Mooney, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Paul is an excellent appointment.We said we wanted an outstanding candidate and that is exactly what we have.

Everywhere he has worked he has driven major improvements…….

Getting someone of Paul’s calibre – he has a national reputation as a leader in this field – to come to Wirral and help us improve even further is a real coup for us.

I know he will hit the ground running and very quickly deliver the excellent children’s services we all want for our young people and families.”

As you can read in full HERE Boyce Appointment  the Wirral Council press release reveals that Paul Boyce is the current executive director for children at Knowsley Council . It also states that :

“he led improvement in children’s services at Knowsley, Cheshire West and Chester and Halton councils improving the services and Ofsted rating in each area cementing his position as one of the most sought after leaders in the UK within children’s services”.

Needless to say our curious readers wanted to know more about the appointment and the claims made about Boyce.  Consequently it has been discovered that Boyce left Halton Council in 2009  for Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) and acquired the responsibility for a wide range of children’s services from July 2009 to September 2011. As you can see here CW&C Ofsted Ofsted judged the services as inadequate in 2010 under 9 categories including safeguarding children. Subsequently from September 2011 to March 2013  Boyce moved into a new post of Head of Strategy and Commissioning  whilst the overall responsibility for children’s services was transferred to Gerald Meehan (now CWaC CEO ) and Sandra Campbell who were brought in to oversee the Ofsted improvement plan which followed the inadequate judgement. Mr Boyce left CWaC when that post was removed under a reorganisation in March 2013 with a rumoured six figure redundancy payment.

The following month Boyce was appointed as interim director of children’s and adult services in Knowsley and at a later date he was permanently appointed to the post. Lucky for some , eh?

April 2014 Ofsted judged the overall effectiveness of Knowsley’s children who need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers as inadequate  – this after Mr Boyce had been in post for exactly a year. Whilst a subsequent Ofsted inspection published earlier this year identified that there had been significant improvements in children’s services and they were no longer rated inadequate, the report identified that improvements were still required in some key areas , specifically , children who need help and protection and children looked after and achieving permanence Knowsley Ofsted

It remains to be seen whether future improvements in Wirral’s children’s services bear testimony to the stellar reputation that Paul Boyce is claiming for himself and repeated by Wirral councillors desperate for someone to remedy the current inadequate status of children’s services. But then with things as they currently stand the only way is up for a highflyer like Mr Boyce.

The Comrade “Braveheart” Burgesski Kiss Off


After we reported last July that Wirral had signed a ” Concordat” with Cheshire West And Chester Council to explore sharing services – SEE HERE

It now appears that Wirral Council has, according to it’s Chief Executive Comrade Burgesski, made a ” brave” decision and decided to give the engagement ring back.

Clearly the thought of jumping into bed with a Tory-run Council proved too much when there is a much more compatible match over the River Mersey. And what’s more we’re sure that jumping into a bed with a Tory can lead to ,ahem, compromising positions!!!

Burgesski’s statement  “It is right to thoroughly investigate an opportunity and have the bravery to say it isn’t right for us at the moment” is spin taken to the point of delirium. Do they truly believe this bollocks or has the Department Of Spin completely given up ?


We’re amazed he didn’t add some classic kiss-off lines such as :

  • we were getting seriously too quickly let’s see other Councils for a while
  • we need some time
  • we need some space
  • it’s us. It really is. It’s not you
  • you’re too good for us and you’ll only end up getting hurt/embarrassed/bankrupt
  • we don’t deserve you. You deserve better
  • we’re no good for anyone right now
  • you’re the right Council but at the wrong time of our “improvement journey”

However we must say the reference to “bravery” had us all guffawing loudly.

” What do they mean?….” I implored.

Verity sidled over and whispered in my ear : ” If you don’t mind me saying so your Lordship they don’t know what they’re doing…. or to purloin a phrase from Eldritch – they don’t know their arse from their elbow”

Meanwhile we’re left wondering whether it’s only a matter of time before Warrington Council is lured into HKLSHSW Combined Authority ” Super Council” and Wirral Council’s ” special relationship” with that authority is formalised.