Doncaster Tories accuse mayor of 'political grandstanding' over schools
Opposition councillors on Doncaster Council have criticised Mayor Ros Jones’ response on calling on schools not to reopen further on June 1.
In a letter drafted by leader Coun Jane Cox and signed by another six Tory members, the opposition group said the survey carried by the council was ‘an exercise in political grandstanding’ designed for the mayor to ‘exploit the situation to her own ends’.
Mayor Jones said she was ‘clearly recommending’ to schools and nurseries that they do not reopen on June 1.
A survey sent to residents showed that 74 per cent of 9,500 that took part said they ‘needed more reassurances on safety’ before sending their children back to school.
The mayor said she was ‘not comfortable’ sending children into school if the council is not sure if they could have the ‘necessary equipment to allow good hygiene for increased usage’.
But the group said the Department of Education had laid plans out ‘quite clearly’ and it should be a ‘parent’s decision’ whether a child can go back to school.
The letter added that the situation is ‘incredibly complicated’ which the mayor ‘should not interfere in’.
Coun Cox said: “The questions the mayor put to the government should have been asked many weeks ago. Instead she decided to ask them now, just days before schools may reopen. No parent should be penalised for not sending their child back to school - it is a parent’s choice as we live in a democracy.
“Perhaps Ros Jones could explain if it is within the remit of an elected mayor to recommend schools do not open. The survey conducted over 24 hours was arguably leading parents into saying they did not want their child in school as every option was negative. With no demographic information this was not a serious and genuine effort to engage with parents.
“The survey was an exercise in political grandstanding designed to let Ros Jones exploit this situation to her own ends. It was simultaneously cynical and designed to avoid the fact she is absent in leadership locally so she wants to place the blame elsewhere.”
Mayor Jones has been contacted for comment.