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News

O'Brien blames "lazy" parents for poor consultation response

Feb 12

"Lazy" parents are to blame for the feeble response to Suffolk County Council's "consultation" exercise last summer, Suffolk education chief Patricia O'Brien told the Eastern Daily Press at the weekend.

The Council received only 4,744 responses from the public in a costly four and a half month exercise, much of which took place during the 2006 school summer holidays. Since parents woke up to what was going on in early January this year, Parents Against Change has gathered twice as many signatures on petitions opposing Suffolk's plan to scrap Middle Schools. Money spent: basically zero.

O'Brien said 500,000 consultation leaflets had been sent out in 2006. "But we are dealing with people and it's not always easy to get through," she said.

'"It's up to people to read the documents and respond to them. People are notoriously lazy," she said.

Many parents who have contacted PAC since January say they never saw the Council's leaflets, amid widespread reports of bungled distribution. They have also charged that the consultation was deliberately low-key. The Council made no effort, for example, to contact Parent-Teachers' associations at schools across the county - an obvious means of communication with parents.

O'Brien did not tackle these allegations in the newspaper report.