Hardly the best

PUBLISHED: 12:35 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:12 06 May 2010

SIR, — So John Harris, Herts County Council s director of Children Schools and Families, enjoyed a pay increase of 7.7 per cent last year — and 9.76 per cent the previous year (Herts Advertiser, April 3). Interesting. John Harris s department has halved t

SIR, - So John Harris, Herts County Council's director of Children Schools and Families, enjoyed a pay increase of 7.7 per cent last year - and 9.76 per cent the previous year (Herts Advertiser, April 3).

Interesting. John Harris's department has halved the Special Educational Needs (SEN) budgets of many schools in Herts, and overseen a new funding system which bypasses the assessment and statementing process for children with special educational needs. As a result, many pupils in Herts schools are struggling because they cannot fund the support they need, and parents are being denied the access to the legal process which would secure this support.

As John Harris and his highly-paid deputies pocket the fruits of their labours, do they lose any sleep over the effects of their budget-saving policies on children who are already educationally disadvantaged? Probably not.

From now on, whenever schools and parents are told there is no money in the SEN pot to fund the help children need, perhaps they should think of John Harris's £156 000 salary and raise a sceptical eyebrow or two.

A spokesperson for Herts County Council has said that salary packages have to be generous "in order to attract and retain the best possible people". As that strategy has evidently failed in this case, what do they plan to do next?

JILL DAVIES,

Pinewood Close, St Albans.

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