Damned if he did, and damned if he didnt
10:37am Wednesday 24th October 2012 in Letters
AS A parent and a school governor, I am fully behind the strenuous efforts being made in respect of the safeguarding and protection of our children in Pembrokeshire’s schools.
I believe, however, that the outgoing Director of Education and Children’s Services, Graham Longster – who was only appointed to the position two years ago – has been made a scapegoat for all the safeguarding problems that have occurred over the past eight years, despite the fact that he may have had little or no direct responsibility for them.
In my view he has been placed in an impossible and untenable position by the Welsh Government-appointed Ministerial Board, whereby in all his actions he has basically been damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t.
I’m sure that under the circumstances he had no choice but to take early retirement, given that he felt that his staying on would only prolong the authority’s and his colleagues’ difficulties.
In my view Mr Longster has achieved much that he can be proud of both as Head of Service and Director. As a governor I have had many dealings with him over several years, and I have found his advice to be consistently professional, thoughtful and clear. I also know that he is a man of high integrity, who cares passionately about the education and welfare of our children.
Although they will deny it, the Welsh Government has effectively forced out of office someone who would have done an excellent job in tackling the very complex and important safeguarding issues currently being addressed.
Graham Longster was part of the solution, not part of the problem, and it is a great shame that those who wanted his head on a plate did not have the insight to see this.
ROGER HOWELL Dinas Cross