MELINDA Tilley, the new councillor in charge of our county schools, was making strong statements yesterday as she condemned a ‘culture of complacency’ in the Oxfordshire education system.

Headteachers and governors have found themselves in the crosshairs following yesterday’s scrutiny committee looking at the poor attainment of seven-year-olds.

There were some interesting points raised.

Julie Quarrell, the acting head at Chalgrove Primary, spoke about the problem of deciding where to put your best teachers.

The meeting heard that many headteachers, aiming to get good Key Stage Two results, put their better teachers with the older children.

But surely we should not have teachers incapable of teaching our four- to seven-year-olds the vital basic reading, writing and maths skills?

And if there is a concentration on – or fear of – Key Stage Two results, does that mean children are being taught merely to do well at exams rather than getting a good all-round education?

If that is the case, we hope Cllr Tilley and her officers quash this culture, while at the same time giving backing to heads and teachers that if they can demonstrate the children are receiving a full and proper education then that is the standard the LEA will judge.

We have real hope the strong words will become strong action.