When Keith Marden retired after 25 years as head of Sherwood Park Community Primary School the school governors decided to hold a party for him. According to reports in the local press the party included a barbecue, plenty of booze and a hired band. The school budget picked up the bill to the tune of £6,000. The governing body has resigned en bloc, although there is some doubt whether the chairman has resigned.
However one looks at it, the cost to the taxpayer of the party is grossly excessive. What does surprise me is that no-one took the governors to one side before the event and warned them of the impropriety of making such a payment. Who knew? Why didn't those in the know do anything?
Keith Marden was very well thought of in Sherwood and for many years ran very successfully a school in an area of severe deprivation. To state the work of a teacher at the school is challenging is an under-statement. It was a sad end to Mr Marden's career that the school was put into special measures.
To put this in context: Kent County Council has an appalling performance record for primary school education. It is one of the worst in the country. All this happened under a Conservative administration at county hall. Instead of sounding off about the cost of Mr Marden's leaving party, let us read of Councillor Tansley engaging in 'blistering criticism' (to use the local newspaper's phrase) of his cronies at county hall. Oh, I nearly forgot, it is county council election time in 2013.