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What the opposition said
The following is a selection of quotes from speeches made by Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Independent County Councillors in opposing the motion on March 22. Quotes are in the order in which Councillors spoke in the debate
 
"This is a big issue, and there has been a big campaign, a superb campaign by voters who want to make sure we are listening to their concerns. I have never been on the receiving end of such a well-organised, polite campaign. I'd like to thank PAC. Their campaign reflects the importance of this issue to the voters of Suffolk. As Councillors we ignore petitioners like this at our peril ... It is the most letters I have ever received, even more than when the Tories brought the poll tax in. .. But because of the arrogance of the cabinet, it's becoming impossible to have the debate."
Julian Swainson, Labour group leader, Lowestoft South
"I was accused earlier on of changing my mind. Well, what's wrong with that? It is clear to me that the case for change has not been made. I suggest that you throw out three-tier (education) at your peril.... Please do listen to what these communities are saying... Structure alone does not improve standards. Why else would two-tier Ipswich be failing?...I find no evidence in these (Council) papers that results have been adjusted for socio-economic effects.... Why aren't we getting support for piloting projects? ... You will destabilize education in Suffolk for more than a decade."
Kathy Pollard, Liberal Democrat & Independent group leader, Belstead Brook
For a full text of Ms Pollard's speech, see http://www.unisonsuffolkcc.co.uk/middle_schools.html
"The best people to decide a child's education are the parents. What you are doing is taking that choice away."
Andrew Cann, Liberal Democrat, St Margaret's and Westgate
"In 34 years as a Councillor I have never had more communication (on an issue) than this....The consultation process was an utter farce. You should have it on your conscience if you vote this through today."
Richard Kemp, Independent, Melford
"You are playing Blind Man's Buff on the edge of a cliff. You are asking us to take that decision (for two-tier) today without the proper detail."
David Thomas, Labour, Gunton
"We should concentrate our wits on improving our education system rather than throwing the whole thing into turmoil"
Selwyn Prior, Conservative, Stour Valley
"The consultation was mismanaged to absolute shambles point... Councillors should not be asked to vote for a decision in principle...I would ask you to be brave enough to change your minds. With something as important as this, why rush it?"
Sue Thomas, Labour, Rushmere
"They (teachers) are demoralised because we have decided to tell them how to do their jobs. That is not the way to run an education system. We're telling them: 'You're the teacher; we're the Council -- we know better'... Don't vote for this. Withdraw it, as Cllr Thomas has suggested."
Roger Bellham, Labour, Pakefield
"The administration has missed a trick here. There was consultation up until the publication of the PDP (Policy Development Panel) report. Then dictatorship took over."
Jack Owen, Labour, Sudbury
"These people (PAC and other parents' groups) have made the case for not changing (the system). The case has not been made for the two-tier change."
Malcolm Cherry, Labour, Oulton
"The administration is trying to bowl us the 'wrong one'. If experts have a problem with the recommendations, and parents and teachers certainly do, can we say that the case has been proven? ...This motion should be withdrawn".
Harold Mangar, Labour, Bridge
"Some (schools) perform well and some perform badly. That's where the problem lies. We've been pouring money in without effect. Wonderful management. I wonder what our performance will be like (in the reorganisation)? We shouldn't rush this. The real issue is effective support for schools."
John Field, Liberal Democrat, Gipping Valley
"These people are defending the most precious thing in the world and that is their children. Stuff the politics. There is no difference in Suffolk between two-tier and three-tier. Unless you can prove that to me... let's stay as we are. Let's improve. But let's not demolish."
Bill Bishop, Conservative, Brandon
"What is the real driver? The real driver is cost-saving. You have produced no evidence. Cllr (Jane) Storey (responsible for finance) in practical terms is being misleading... I do not see how you can fund an educational strategy based on borrowing from schools' balances."
Kevan Lim, Labour, St Helens
"We need to listen to the people who have put us in this Council Chamber."
Bill Quinton, Labour, Gainsborough
"People vote with their feet and move to Suffolk because of our educational system... An either-or debate will polarise us.. What about if in six months time you decide it won't work? You've already made the decision. After the PDP made its recommendation, there was no consultation. After the cabinet made its recommendation, there was no consultation...I don't think you can impose a decision of this sort on people and expect to set up cosy little working groups. I don't think this is going to work. The process is fatally flawed."
Tony Lewis, Labour, Whitehouse and Whitton