YOUR comment column last week about Wakefield’s wrong chord is timely.
Wakefield has always been proud of its music services and the dedication of the staff. These cover not only individual music tuition, but also groups, whole-class music in schools and the large scale events which you mentioned in your report.
The council now proposes that this service be provided by unqualified teachers/instructors - or more accurately, qualified teachers - the present staff - who will be downgraded to that role.
In other words, they are telling us that people who are now qualified teachers will - at a wave of some magic financial wand - become unqualified.
This seems to fly in the face of national schoolteachers’ pay and conditions, and any idea of natural justice or human respect. What message is the council sending to its staff? Some would call it the worst kind of constructive dismissal.
Presumably it hopes that if prodded enough, the staff will jump ship, and the present music service fade into memory - at minimum cost. Where is the consultation? The council officer who called the meeting of some of the staff to reveal this plan didn’t show up to the meeting: consultation without participation and transparency is, in any event, a sham.
I wonder if this action sets a precedent: can you imagine Ms Joanne Roney, the chief executive of this same council having her own job regraded as an administrative assistant? That is what is happening here.
She and Coun Box are being backed into a murky corner: as their roles demand, they would be wise to call a halt now and discuss their budgetary problems openly with their staff, as better befits the traditions of this council.