Wednesday, 1 February 2012

SCC press release

Surrey County Council ST 1235 01/02/2012 [For Immediate Release]
Tomlinscote School and Kings extend soft federation.
“Surrey County Council warmly welcomes the decision by the governors of Tomlinscote School to extend the soft federation with Kings for five years and Kings’ positive response.
“The partnership between Kings and Tomlinscote has proved very successful to date and demonstrates how schools can help each other to ensure that the local community is well provided for educationally, even as demographics and other factors shift. This decision will provide stability for the next few years and allow both schools to plan effectively. We recognise all the hard work by both schools to reach this point in their partnership and look forward to working with them in the future. “

CAMs Response to Press Release




CAM welcomes this press release which addresses and highlights many of the areas that we have been campaigning for since last March when the consultation process started as an important first step towards securing a firm future for Kings International College . Since June when it was agreed that the merger would not be going ahead CAM have been working to ensure that Kings has a sustainable future and to enable Kings to retain its distinctive offering and character. We have also been raising our concerns about the lack of strategic direction and mission statement for the current soft federation arrangement between Tomlinscote School and Kings International College. Key members of CAM have held meetings with Ian Hylan Executive Head Tomlinscote School and Kings International, Bob Paton Chair of Governors Tomlinscote School, Nick Wilson Head of Childrens Services at Surrey County Council, Michael Gove MP and various county and Surrey Heath Borough councillors.

· CAM believes in choice for parents within the secondary sector.

· CAM wants three secondary schools in Surrey Heath.

· CAM has been asking for a definition of the soft federation and to have a strategic plan which is accessible for parents.

· CAM is concerned that failure to address the future rise in population now when making a decision on secondary provision would have created future issues.

· CAM is keen that the soft federation ensures that both schools continue to enhance their educational standards.

· CAM wanted the long term educational interests of the children of Surrey Heath to be factored into the decision made.

· CAM has been highlighting to the decision makers that the current structure of the soft federation, its purpose, objectives and strategic direction are not available for public scrutiny.

· CAM supports the preservation of the distinctive ethos within each school.

· CAM believes the autonomy of both schools is important to ensure the two schools do not homogenise into one large school.

· CAM wanted the budgets of both schools to remain separate

· CAM supports each school maintaining separate responsibility and accountability for the education provided.

CAM would now like to see a firm financial commitment from Surrey County Council to support the five year plan which has been agreed by the Governing Bodies of Tomlinscote School and Kings International College. Financial security is key to the success of this arrangement as stated in the schools press release. This financial provision needs to be tied down and secured to enable the soft federation to move forward on a secure financial as well as an educational basis.

CAM have been campaigning for parents to be a part of the decision making process in deciding how the secondary education provision moves forward within Surrey Heath. We welcome Michael Gove’s MP comment that he:

‘now expects the council and the schools to engage parents in the process from here.’

CAM looks forward to the school, Governing Body and SCC detailing how this engagement will be effected.

CAM would welcome the opportunity to engage fully in that process and would urge all parents to take an active interest. As part of that process we would like to see

· the distinctive character and ethos of each school written into the documentation

· The strategic plans for both schools to be published to parents including budgets, staffing structures and role responsibilities.

· Detailed specification of the soft federation and its objectives with a time line.

· Financial and Resource constraints to be published.

· Soft Federation Management Plan specifying how the soft federation will be managed, and reported on, to ensure the objectives are met and the constraints complied with.

· Progress against objectives and compliance matters to be regularly reported on with transparency delivered via Governors minutes within part 1 for all matters relating to the soft federation.

We look forward to engaging in this process moving forward.

Louise Nicholas

Chair CAM

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Investigation to be debated in Chamber?

The petition you signed calling for 

We the undersigned would like an official investigation into the role of Surrey County Council and its consultancy company Babcock4S in the proposed "take-over" of Kings International School by Tomlinscote School. Particular reference is drawn to the decision making process in the preceding years and to the actual consultation process and its review.

Hopefully will get to be debated in chamber as there have been questions if it is still relevant?

Letter to committee attached..


On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 11:47 PM, Ian Sorby <> wrote:

Members may also be interested to read the legal dissection of SCC's Merger consultation document provided by a lawyer specialising in education matters. At worst it suggests that SCC would have lost a legal appeal at best it shows the slipshod nature of the departments work when subjected to legal review.



On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 7:59 AM, Ian Sorby <> wrote:
Members of the committee may also wish to acquaint themselves with some of the FOI information that shows the working of the education department here.

many thanks

Ian Sorby

On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 12:17 AM, Ian Sorby <> wrote:

 While the Education Department of Surrey County Council is faced with difficult decisions made all the more complex by uncertainty in population forecasts and by the economic woes, its recent performance leaves considerable room for improvement.

1) The manner in which it relates to the public (PJ Wilkinson as an example) is very poor.  The public are left with the feeling that they are considered as an "inconvenience" to implementation of the will of the department.

2) The manner in which it conducts its business behind closed doors (as revealed by FOI requests) is manipulative to the extent that if certain actions are not actually illegal they are at best cavalier, and certainly immoral.

3) The prosecution of the Tomlinscote-Kings merger was so slipshod in its execution and its failure to have any sort of plan B or C that it raises grave questions as to the competence / arrogance of the department.

The Tomlinscote-Kings merger cost a significant amount of money, and influenced the lives of many people in Surrey Heath.  Some people moved house, some left their jobs and many were so affected that their relationship with their County Council will be materially damaged for years to come.  This was unnecessary if the Education Department had been more efficient and professional in their work.  These problems continue to exist and I feel it is imperative we learn from the mistakes so it does not happen again.

Those involved in the Merger decision from a public side continue to be involved and would be happy to aid Surrey County Council in a review.  An SCC review would be considered preferable to our continuing to investigate it from outside.


Ian Sorby

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Camberley schools work together

I have been asked to shed some light on the inaccurate statement in this article..

"Tomlinscote School in Tomlinscote Way, Frimley and Kings International College in Watchetts Drive, Camberley, have been part of a ‘soft’ federation, where they share a governing body "

The schools do not share a governing body and the following mails explain how SCC and Mr Ryles effected the dissolution of the Kings governing body.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

New Chair of the Tomlinscote Governing body from September

Will be Cllr R Paton.

Bob is the Conservative councillor for the St Michaels ward of SHBC and active in a number of local committees.

Council CommitteesJoint Staff Consultative Group
Leisure and Environment Scrutiny Committee
Licensing Committee
Planning Applications Committee
Policy and Audit Scrutiny Committee

Tomlinscote headteacher defends merger talk

Please see

Thousands of people have already read Mr Ryles' email trail and will form their own opinions.  Mr Ryles' legacy is unimportant relative to the need for the new administration to avoid the mistakes of the past.

Please see

An article which expresses no opinion but presents the reader with the raw data upon which to base their own judgements. It is a long and complex trail which bears reading a couple of times if you are to understand the full import and context. I imagine that people will demand significant increase in transparency levels in future and will take a keen interest in the workings of the Headmaster and Governing Body as we proceed into a new administration.

Ian Sorby..


I have been following this story very closely and have not seen any accusations, such as those described in the first paragraph. Documents supplied by Mr Ryles under the FOI request was made publicly available to enable worried parents to move on into the new term with a clear picture of what was behind the proposal that had taken over their lives for the past three months. There was no guidance as to what should be interpreted by the words included on the page - there was no need for interpretation as the messages were loud and crystal clear.

Mr Ryles has been a well respected Head of Tomlinscote for over 20 years. In three months he has managed to tarnish his own good name and remove all traces of repect that the parents and teachers have had for him. It should be made clear that HIS OWN ACTIONS have been the cause of this. He knew the risks, for some reason he was happy to take the risks, but now when it has blown up in his face he is trying to make out he is the innocent victim in this.

At this stage most people would have just quietly slipped away, say nothing and enjoy a long and happy retirement, but Mr Ryles has to try to have the last word, try to convince us he acted honourably and try to make out that we are not understanding the situation properly. We understand the situation and nothing you can say or do, Mr Ryles, will renew my respect for you. You had it and you have lost it forever.

I look forward to the new Tomlinscote next term and will be pleased to welcome a new head and a new ethos to the school - which will hopefully be based around honesty, trust & respect.

For Mr Ryles to say: "Mr Sorby's interpretation of events is at best mischievous and totally ignores any context." I say to you Mr Ryles, Lack of information combined with selected contact with parents was always going to bread mistrust and misunderstaning. At the first meeting in March we were promised a meeting with Governors, we had to wait 3 months for that! Paper work released shows that in Nov 2010 Mr Ryles agreed with a written statement that said 'Moving to a hard federation is is best option but need to move first through formal soft federation in order for Governors not to take fright' Mr Ryles was the tail wagging the dog?

Both Mr Ryles and Surrey Council do both seem to suffer from acute memory lapses when it comes to remembering what was said and when. Thank goodness therefore, that accurate Minutes are taken and that emails are sent between interested parties before and after such meetings. It was obvious from other Minutes and emails (not published) that Collingwood and Tomlinscote heads and governors, both wanted there to be just two secondary schools in Surrey Heath, Kings was squeezed from all sides by the 'big boys'. I would love to know how far Mr John Edwards (the previous head of Kings) was involved in these meetings. Perhaps the "out of context" Mr Ryles is referring to, is the fact that Mr Edwards was kept in the dark about many of these initial proposals, certainly his name is rarely mentioned in most documents.

By his own hand/computer, Mr Ryles admits to keeping secrets not only from his own Board of Governors but also from Her Majesty's Inspectorate. These were not out of context. The fact that Kings International had a large deficit was down to Surrey County Council getting their sums wrong in the first place, when they put France Hill (as Kings was then) in partnership with 3E's. SCC also did not fulfil their part of the contract, as various important 'Deeds' were never passes to 3E's so as to help rectify this deficit. During Mr Edward's headship, the school was starting to flourish, more students applying, academic results improving, and the budget deficit did not increase by one penny. It was slow, but Mr Edwards had a vision, which was shared by staff and parents. We all knew there were some difficulties in some areas of the school but we were assured that these issues were being dealt with through the avenues of "protocol", which exists in any government run establishment. I found it quite strange that SCC suddenly wrote off the deficit and Mr Ryles was allowed to push through the management changes almost instantly, something Mr Edwards had been at pains to do "by the book". I do wonder if Mr Ryles resigned when he finally realised that SCC were back paddling over the extra financial support he would need to take over the Kings site fully.

I acknowledge that Mr Ryles worked hard to bring Kings out of Special Measures; he devoted a great deal of time and effort to the Kings site. With this in mind, surely, it must be Mrs Zoe Johnson Walker, who should be congratulated for ensuring that Tomlinscote achieved the outstanding Ofsted result it deserved. I am not a Tomlinscote parent, but I know they hold her in high regard.

I am a Kings International parent, who has always been proud of the college and its achievements. The staff are incredible, working with an increasing diverse array of students from all walks of life. Some students leave Kings to go on to university or other forms of further education, while others go onto more vocational employment. However, each student is treated as an individual and not as a statistic to satisfy some league table. I chose Kings not just for its small size but also for its community and family ethos. Students and parents were both valued as important partners in education. That was lost under Mr Ryles regime. We are looking forward to Mr Ian Hylan coming in to take over the reins of both schools, and Mrs Judith Langley as Head of School at Kings. Hopefully they have taken on board, that it is perhaps better to engage with the teachers, parents, students and wider community in two way communication. We still feel Kings is better away from SCC and become an academy under a third party provider such as Oasis Community Learning, who will look at the whole of the Watchetts community and give it the support it needs for an exciting new future.

Over the last few weeks, since it was announced that the merger was not to take place and the "closure" of Kings has been put on hold (SCC are still looking at numbers in the autumn), and those "emails" were put up for all to see, there has been no apology from either Mr Ryles, Col. Steele or PJ Wilkinson at SCC, for the upset and anxiety they have caused the staff at both schools, the students and parents, and of course the wider community. Not one word of apology. I just hope that my daughter does not follow the example of these suppose leaders and the way they carry out their duties. I hope Mr Ryles enjoys his retirement.

In Mr Ryles' last letter to Kings he inserts, dare I say it, this rather mischievous comment..

The future may not 'look orange', but it certainly looks bright.

Tipping his hat to CAM perhaps?

And on a lighter note since this is descending into farce!