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Jul 25 2013

Cllr Zarina Khalid: Response to Husain Akhtar’s “false statement”

cllr_zarina_khalidPortfolio Holder for Children, Schools and Families, Cllr Zarina says: Harrow is still delivering for Parents

“The education and welfare of children in Harrow have not suffered in silence as Cllr Husain states. Political turbulence at the Civic Centre has not affected the professionalism of our staff or the commitment of Councillors of all political colours to deliver the best for residents. Cllr Husain’s false statement that there has been ‘uncertain decision making and future’ is completely unsubstantiated.

Our Children Services moves from strength to strength, in spite of the challenges facing the Children, Families and Schools Directorate, Harrow is still delivering for its Children, Young People and Parents. Harrow Parents rightly expect the best for their children and it is that partnership with Councillors and Officers that delivers a consistently high standard. All of our children centres recently inspected have been given a ‘Good’ rating by Ofsted and there are non that ‘require improvement’.

The inspection of safeguarding in 2012 resulted in an ‘adequate’ judgement and a robust improvement plan was put in place. Our most recent inspection judgements for related areas of children’s services are: Fostering Services – Good, Private Fostering – Good, Adoption – Good, 2 children’s homes – 1 Good, 1 Outstanding.

92% of Harrow’s schools are rated by Ofsted as being either ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding and more than half of our schools are ‘Outstanding’ compared to 29% Outstanding in London and 22% in England. Only 2% of Harrow’s 16-18 year olds are not in education, training or employment, which is the best result nationally for any local authority. It is important to note that 8 of the 10 mainstream high schools have Academy Status, this means the council has more of a strategic oversight role and the achievement of pupils falls under the responsibility of the academies themselves. Despite this Harrow Council works closely with all our schools who participate as part of Harrow’s ‘family of schools’ to push forward continuous improvement, and provide support where necessary.

The Children’s department is committed to quality assurance and have a number of mechanisms in place to ensure great quality of work is achieved. The Children’s department have carried out an extensive audit and quality improvement programme in the last year including extensive and detailed sample testing of cases by an independent quality assurance team. All of this work is informing the ongoing improvement of the service.

Cllr Thaya Idaikkadar said: “I am proud that we have Officers of the calibre of Catherine Doran, courageous enough to point out where problems lie and addressing issues effectively which will help us raise our game, there has been a huge improvement in our services which we should be proud of.” Under the Leadership of the Independent Labour Group, Harrow is working towards consistently high standards rather than short term concerns for our place on various league tables. We are concerned by recent Ofsted comments for one of our schools and Officers and Councillors are working towards fundamental improvements rather than short term quick fixes through a focus on league tables.

The Independent Labour Group believes that under the leadership of Cllr Zarina Khalid, the Children, Families and Schools directorate will deliver for Harrow. Consistent work has been going on behind the scenes, ensuring that Harrow has the finances in place to deliver. Cllr Krishna James pointed out:” Whilst Zarina may be new to the portfolio, she brings several skills to the job: a passion for children, an admirable intellectual capacity and the leadership to work with Officers to provide workable solutions for Harrow. ”

The Administration is confident that the partnership of Residents, Professionals and Politicians will deliver sustainable improvements for Harrow now and in the future.

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9 comments

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  1. Sharon

    As a parent and a tax payer who frequents different children centres around Harrow, i am happy to hear that all our centres received a ‘good’ rating in addition being joint 6th in primary education.Equally happy to hear the healthy proportion of ‘Outstanding’ schools in the borough relative to London. Makes me proud to be part of this glorious borough…Continue the good work Cllr

  2. ricky123

    I would listen to Cllr Zarina Khalid, she has done brilliantly as the new portfolio holder. She knows her stuff, at cabinet and Council she has comprehensive answers to all questions asked, long may she continue in the job.

  3. Pravin

    Not surprised by the long response – a sort of officer drafted defence. However, the write-up has no indication of how a newly born Independent Labour Group’s new portfolio holder provides any value for money i.e. £27,000 per year – what exactly has she done or is able to do to improve this area of the Harrow Council’s work which has weaknesses and requires good knowledge and experience?

  4. Mrs Fletcher

    Mr Pravin, following your comment I did a bit of research on Cllr Zarina and clicked on a link which showed her CV. I agree with you in that she seems young, and may not have 20 years of experience behind her, however she seems intelligent and has a passion for what she does. This passion and vigour is somewhat missing from some of our councillors. Where would the world be if we had people like you in it who never gave our youth a chance, I mean she has not been given the position of Director now has she, we need fresh young eyes for this service, she would understand the youth better and seems more fit in my eyes for this role. The labour group had a young Finance portfolio holder and I didn’t see you complain then. I am 64 years of age and a retired teacher, and think we need to help our youth and not put them down because of their age! I am also sure that a clever young girl like that could earn much more working elsewhere, we should be lucky to have her, bring in more intelligent young people to the council I say!

  5. ricky123

    Pravin, You could ask the same question about the original portfolio holder. I think what she is doing is trying to clear up the mess she found when taking over. I have attended many cabinet and full council meetings over the years, she makes sense when she talks/answers questions. Listening to her I think she understands whats going on. There should be no complaints about value for money with her, what I have seen she gives 100%. How many meetings Cabinet and Council have you attended Pravin?

  6. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    @ Pravin – it’s NOT £27,000, it’s £19,000 (she’d get her £8,160 Cllr’s allowance whether she had a portfolio or not). So (a) get your facts right before you start behaving like a motto chamchor mindlessly slagging someone off in public and (b) I bet YOU wouldn’t do it and take on all that responsibility for a mere £19K?! And for what it’s worth that portfolio used to be split between Mitzi Green and Brian Gate because the Labour Group felt it was “too big for one person”. Well Zarina’s taken the whole lot on and not batted an eyelid about it!

  7. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    Husain and Pravin have gone awfully quiet – are they alright?!!

  8. AHMED ADIL

    “HUSAIN AKTHAR” harrow council for justice ” should be renamed as , dirty old gits who posts attacks , as they have no life, job and probably fake credentials only worthless people attack for no reason, HUSSAIN you DIRTY DIRTY Man…..

  9. Ahmed

    I don’t expect Hussain to do the decent thing and resign because that wouldn’t be in keeping with his character. As a peace loving citizen of Harrow I DEMAND that action be taken forthwith against this evil man. This man has no place in our society. His actions are akin to the dirty politics of banana republics.To Cllr Khalid, I would say that you should be resolute and know that God delivers justice to those who are patient. He will get his comeuppance.

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