‘Extended Profits’ – Part 2 (of 4) First Published – 3rd April 2011
Following hard on the heels of Friday’s revelations about abuses of the Extended Schools ‘Me TOO’ voucher system – intended to provide extra-curricular opportunities for deprived children – hitherto ‘secret’ information has been oozing out of the woodwork, driven by the urgent need felt by many prominent local ‘representatives of the people’ to dissociate themselves from a scandal which is bound to hit the national press.
One reader has drawn attention to an open letter written by a local head-teacher and published on the web-site of East Whitby Community Primary, dated January 21st, 2011. Real-Whitby is happy to run A Mok’s letter here:
Me Too Vouchers
21st January 2011
Re: Me Too Vouchers
It took some considerable effort and persuading to convince the authority that all pupils/families at East Whitby should be eligible for Me Too vouchers. I am sure that you appreciate having them and the obvious benefits of being able to access the activities available free of charge. The cost of all our families having the vouchers is considerable.
It has come to my notice that pupils/families not from East Whitby have somehow obtained East Whitby School vouchers and are using them fraudulently. Not only is this illegal but it reflects very badly on us as a school, as people will automatically assume the worst, and accuse East Whitby parents of passing the vouchers on.
If you lose your vouchers, please let me know immediately so I can warn the providers and please do not pass on vouchers to anyone else. They are for your child’s use only. Abuse of the system could easily result in the vouchers being withdrawn.
Thank you to the vast majority for your co-operation. Please let me know if you have any more information regarding this matter.
Real-Whitby readers will be shocked to learn that, in an email to Free Whitby campaigner Nigel Ward, North Yorkshire County Councillor Joe Plant (Conservative), who is standing for re-election as a Scarborough Borough Councillor on May 5th, has confirmed that he informed NYCC some time ago that some providers were waiting for payment and that he had concerns about the whole system.
Councillor Plant asserts that he told NYCC that “I am really concerned how the ME TOO voucher scheme is being run in Whitby.
The scheme is aimed for families on free school meals and benefits, it started off very well, now it is really really silly. Families on big wages get them, and this is how silly it is, a millionaire lottery winner gets them.
Vouchers are photo copied, forged and even sold on to other people. This info is from people on the street how true it is, I do not know. But I know that the whole scheme has lost its meaning.
The losers are and will be the families that need them” . Real Whitby has been unable to find any mention of this in any minutes on the NYCC web-site.
Nor does the NYCC web-site mention any concerns about abuses of the ‘Me TOO’ voucher system on pages dealing with Extra-Curricular Activities:
Nevertheless, the abuse appears to be widespread. Another County (and Borough) Councillor has confirmed that he is presently investigating the ‘Me TOO’ voucher system in the Eastfield area of Scarborough. He describes the system as ‘flawed from the start’ and ‘not administered properly’.
More on all this in the next exciting episode of ‘Extended Profits’.
Meanwhile, what do readers think about Joe Plant’s involvement?
Should he stay or should he go?