Local Talk

New Secondary schools for Richmond!

(1000 Posts)
BayJay Wed 23-Feb-11 21:08:36

Richmond Council recently published a White Paper outlining plans for Secondary education in the borough (http://cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=23719). They want new 6th forms in every school, and would need to decrease current Yr7 intakes to accomodate that. To offset those decreases they are talking about creating two new secondary schools. One of those new schools would be a Roman Catholic school.

The Roman Catholic community in the borough are currently disadvantaged by the "link" system (http://www.st-marys.richmond.sch.uk/Newsletter%20Link%20letter%20for%202011%20links%20(2).pdf). Because the Catholic primaries are not linked to any secondaries in the borough, their children tend to go to a combination of out-of-borough Catholic secondaries (which are mostly rated as Outstanding), grammar schools and private schools, though some of the girls do go to Waldegrave, which is not part of the link system. Note that there is no reason, in principle, why the Catholic Secondaries couldn't be linked to local community schools, but because many of their children have other options, they simply don't meet the "25% rule" required to form a link. (See an example set of transfer figures at http://www.st-james.richmond.sch.uk/Admin/Uploads/Docs/StJamesSchool_Parents_NewsLetter_270910.pdf).

This raises several questions in my mind:
1) Does the problem necessarily need to be solved by providing a Catholic Secondary, or are there alternative solutions that would benefit the community as a whole (e.g. reforming the link system)?
2) Does the majority of the Catholic community specifically want to be educated separately from the rest of us, or is it the case that, like everyone else, they simply want an outstanding education for their children, and find that the Catholic route is often the best way of achieving that?
3) If Catholics had more options for transferring to outstanding community schools locally (as many already do, to Waldegrave), would they choose those options over travelling to a single-faith school in a neighbouring borough?
4) I accept that there will always be very religious people who want to segregate themselves, but would I be right in asserting that there are also large numbers of Catholics who would be happy to attend community schools, provided that gave them the same level of academic excellence that can be found in many Catholic options?
5) If a new Catholic secondary school is created, it is likely to have an entrance policy that requires a priest's reference (as per the majority of existing Catholic schools). How do people feel about that?
6) If a state-funded Catholic School is created in the borough, would non-Catholic parents also like the option of sending their children there, provided they weren't barred by the admission system?

I'd be interested to hear your opinions!

amidaiwish Fri 04-Mar-11 10:34:32

interesting.
my Dds are at a catholic primary
there is NO link secondary
the kids get spread far and wide, many parents feel forced into paying for private as the community schools allocated are typically the worst in the borough.
boys is a particular issue, girls at least have waldegrave but only if you live in strawberry hill area.

to answer your qus
1) reform or scrap the link system.
2) just want a good school
3) yes, local is always preferable. no one WANTS to send their 11 year old to fulham or equivalent from Hampton
4) really? i don't know any.
5) it will be part funded by the church i guess...
6) probably, na to me

BayJay Sat 05-Mar-11 22:12:24

Responding to amidaiwish:
4) Waldegrave & Orleans Park are both classed as Outstanding by Ofsted.
5) Voluntary Aided schools have their running costs fully covered by the Local Authority. The church contributes just 10% of the capital (i.e. building) costs.

cwazycaz Sat 05-Mar-11 22:35:37

Richmond has a mix of secondary schools
oversubscribed secondaries with a good track record
undersubscribe academies that still have to prove themselves
Most parents just want the best possible local school for the DC's
By reducing the intake before new schools are even open, Richmond is effectively moving Dc's to other borough or into the academies.
Catholic children wanting a good Catholic secondary have to go outside borough.
so yes, a Catholic school in Richmond would be great but should not be exclusive
a reform to the admission would be more than welcome
6th Forms are well overdue!

Kewcumber Sun 06-Mar-11 10:45:11

well in principal I'm aginast state funding of religious schools so I really don;t think there's much point in me answering most of your questions.

Richmonds link system is ridiculous and an anomaly (as far as I know) our headmaster couldn;t think of a single other borough that do it. It seriously prejudices some schools as once a link with a bigger primary or two is established it just isnt possible for th esmaller ones to get a look in. It should be stopped and admissions policy reformed.

sfxmum Sun 06-Mar-11 11:07:26

what Kewcumber said

we need decent secondaries preferably not too big and spread out through the borough

amidaiwish Sun 06-Mar-11 12:36:48

bayjay

my point "i don't know any" to no.4 was to the point "I accept that there will always be very religious people who want to segregate themselves" not that there aren't any outstanding secondaries.

Kora Mon 07-Mar-11 10:19:35

Ages ago I spoke informally to one of the new councillors who seemed keen to emphasise that two secondaries will be set up and indicated that the secular one would take priority (although he used politician's speak so I'm not sure what he said really...).

Either way, I wouldn't hold my breath. Recently there was a consultation about what to do with the Stag Brewery Site in Mortlake. I know quite a few parents responded to say it would be a good site for a new secondary school as it's next to playing fields, fills a gap location-wise, is accessible etc. But it looks like they're just going to build more young executive flats there, and maybe a primary school, see: www.richmond.gov.uk/al/home/council_government_and_democracy/council/consulation_and_feedback/council_consultations/consultation_details.htm?id=C00496. There seems to be no explanation as to why the secondary idea was rejected and no indication that they are looking at other sites.

So, I'm not sure we should rely on this plan - more effort/money seems to be going into trying to attract parents to existing schools. I suspect, behind the scenes, any money for new secondaries - secular or faith - has been allocated elsewhere for the time being...

Suzihaha Tue 08-Mar-11 22:16:46

Hmm. I am reading this thread with interest. My DSs are a long way off going to secondary, but I worry as our nearest school is Tw. Academy and I remember that even in my school days (15+ years ago) it had a pretty dodgy reputation.

Which would you say were decent schools for boys?

BayJay Sun 27-Mar-11 20:18:26

This issue has been generating some heated debate in the Richmond & Twickenham Times over the last few weeks.

BayJay Sat 02-Apr-11 16:56:24

There's going to be a council debate about this school on Tuesday.

BayJay Wed 06-Apr-11 12:57:01
singersgirl Thu 07-Apr-11 19:21:11

Bumping this too because it's all over the front page of the local paper heralding a massive support for the Catholic school

SeenButNotHeard Thu 07-Apr-11 19:44:24

I would love it if we had a Catholic secondary school in borough.

There is a huge amount of vocal support for one, but I concede that there are a large number of people who will be against it. The fact is that Richmond is one of only two London Boroughs without a Catholic secondary school and the Catholic primary schools in borough would more than fill it.

If faith schools were abolished, I guess we would have to live with that, but the fact is that communities of faith are thriving in our society, both socially and academically so why, in this borough, should I not have the option of sending my dc to a Catholic school if I choose? Even going out of borough and remaining in a Catholic school is not as easy as it once was, it really does depend which side of the borough you live in.

teaplease Thu 07-Apr-11 20:57:12

Here's a positive for non-catholics.....if all the catholic children go to a new catholic secondary school there will be more spaces at the non-faith schools for them.
I am sure this will go ahead - too much senior backing at church & council level, and all in the wake of the papal visit. There's going to be another new non-faith secondary, so I don't really see the problem.

Kewcumber Thu 07-Apr-11 22:17:20

is there really a "huge" amount of support? The petition I think had about 1250 signatures didn't it? Thats really not enough to fill a econdary school every year.

I don;t much care as long as there is adequate provision for non-faith schools as a priority because that is now the majority in the UK. Additionally I don;t see how it is a good thing for people to be faking religious principles to get into a school if that is your genuine faith.

"should I not have the option of sending my dc to a Catholic school" - no, why should you? Britain is not a Catholic country it is not the offical religion, y son doesn;t have the option of a muslim state education and I would be perfectly happy for him to have a decent non-denoinational education. He doesn't need a relgious school to be Muslim/jewish/insert religion of choice. Going to a (relatively) secular school doesn;t preclude him practising a religion and therefore that should be the default position of all education. Once that is satusfied (to a sufficient standard) I am happy if there is money left over to start looking at ways to address minority groups requirements.

SeenButNotHeard Fri 08-Apr-11 18:05:04

The petition only went to three of the primary schools in the borough - most schools did not even see it as they only needed 1000 signatures to force a council debate.

As I said above, if state faith schools were abolished, I would have to live with it but that is not the case is it? I pay council tax along with everyone else and there is a need for a Catholic Secondary - we have more than enough children at a Catholic Primary school to fill it, probably several times over.

I have struggled with this to be honest, as I really do understand the argument re integration and non-denominational education, but the bottom line is that at the moment my dc would have a very long journey to continue their education in a Catholic school, and, perhaps selfishly, I would like them to be educated closer to home.

BayJay Fri 08-Apr-11 19:34:22

SeenButNotHeard (and others in a similar position), would you have any objection to your children attending an outstanding non-Catholic school if it was local to where you lived and they were able to go there with a cohort of their friends from primary school? Do you think there would be positive benefits from being in a thriving school community that included families of other faiths, and families of no faith at all?

SeenButNotHeard Fri 08-Apr-11 19:54:20

Interestingly, we live just around the corner from an 'outstanding' non-denominational primary and chose to go the primary attached to our Catholic Church which is 'good' rather than outstanding and a little further away.

I know that many believe that the pull of a Catholic school is results and OFSTED driven, but we actually wanted a Catholic school to encourage our children in their faith - to go to the school attached to our Church, if we just wanted an outstanding school for academic reasons, rather then for faith reasons, we really would have gone around the corner.

We are possibly just on the outskirts of the Waldegrave School boundary, so if it was just about secondary results, we could send dd there.

I wish I was elequent enough to put into words why this was so important to me. I guess I think that the teenage years are difficult enough already - I would love to think that my dc are being taught in a way that addresses their pastoral needs, not just the ABC's.

BayJay Sat 09-Apr-11 06:03:03

Being a Mumsnet newbie I started two threads on this topic, one on national mumsnet, and the other on local Mumsnet, and now that they're both being posted to, I'm regretting that! Fyi, here is a link to the other thread but I don't mind if people want to continue to post to this one.

Kewcumber Sat 09-Apr-11 09:44:20

"I would love to think that my dc are being taught in a way that addresses their pastoral needs, not just the ABC's" don't we all?

I just don;t understand why my son has no chance of attending a school which specifically addresses his religion but another minority religion would have a state funded school.

I understand it is important to catholics - I'm just not sure why it should be a state funded option when I don't get that choice. I doesn't always make sense to provide a state funded religious education when there are greater numbers children who have little or no choice currently.

singersgirl Sat 09-Apr-11 09:55:02

There isn't a 'need' for a Catholic secondary; there's no 'need' for education segregated on the basis of religion in this country. There's a 'desire' for a Catholic secondary school amongst (well, what do you know?) Catholics.

How about working it the other way round and making sure the non-faith school weights its criteria to exclude people with Christian faiths? Mmm. That would go down well. I pay my council tax, so shouldn't I have the right to have a school that only accepts people who [insert whatever random criterion I can think of that's important to me here]?

As I've said before, there's no Jewish/Moslem/Hindu/vegetarian/left-handed school in the borough. There is a girls' school but no boys' school, which is also unfair.

Kewcumber Sat 09-Apr-11 09:59:16

there also no atheists school

BayJay Sat 09-Apr-11 13:47:39

Nobody is calling for other types of faith school in Richmond Borough as far as I know. However, there is a call for an Islamic school in neighbouring Hounslow. What do people think of that? While there is talk of creating new Catholic/CofE schools it is presumably only right that other groups should be able to do the same, but is this a good direction for our society to be going in?

Kewcumber Sat 09-Apr-11 16:57:25

In principle I am against state funding of any religious education.

sfxmum Sat 09-Apr-11 17:24:30

I expect there is some genuine Catholic feeling but I don't feel, on principle that the state should fund faith schools
I sincerely feel this is just an attempt to introduce some selectivity (for want of a better word) now that private schools are falling a little out of reach with the recession, I would much rather the focus stays on quality provision for community schooling

singersgirl Sat 09-Apr-11 19:34:03

Like Kewcumber, I'm against state funding of any religious education. Surely when resources are scarce we should be providing a school that will accept 100% of children, not one that will give preference to 10%.

BayJay Sat 16-Apr-11 18:33:43
singersgirl Fri 22-Apr-11 10:57:26

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13158380 Hearing this on the Today programme heartened me somewhat, though I know it has no immediate bearing on issue of a Catholic school in Richmond.

BayJay Sun 24-Apr-11 19:35:56

singersgirl, yes it was interesting to see the issue getting prominence in the news. For info, the Catholic Church has quite a different approach to the Church of England when it comes to admissions. Here is their response to the story.

BayJay Wed 27-Apr-11 13:52:23

For anyone with views on the provision of 6th Forms, there is still time to respond to the council's consultation. The deadline is May 6th.

I'd be interested to know how many Richmond parents have heard about this consultation via their schools? It began just before Easter, so it hasn't made it into our school newletter yet. I'm curious to see if it appears this week. In the meantime, I've been spreading the word, because I think it's important that people have the chance to express their views over this sort of thing.

BayJay Wed 13-Jul-11 14:25:59

Just an update on this thread. A group called the Richmond Free School has submitted an application to the Dept for Education proposing a Free School on the Twickenham Sorting Office site opposite the station.

Cat2405 Fri 15-Jul-11 10:51:34

Has their been any official update on the sixth form plans or the planned new secondaries?

Cat2405 Fri 15-Jul-11 10:52:41

obviously, I meant there blush

BayJay Fri 15-Jul-11 22:27:58

The council has just announced it has a site for the new Catholic school, in central Twickenham. See here for details.

Kora Fri 15-Jul-11 22:54:47

Why are they all going to be in Twickers? The "free" school and now this one. Twickenham's already got three excellent secondaries and strict catchments/feeders etc. What about the barnes/sheen/kew/mortlake end of the borough? Just one secondary (and rather a lot of room for improvement). Where's the exasperated emoticon...

hester Fri 15-Jul-11 23:04:48

So the Catholic school is going ahead? What a shame sad

BayJay Sat 16-Jul-11 06:26:37

Well, there's already a campaign against it. Now that a site has been announced it will no doubt focus people's attention on the issue. Lord True's quote about the school's opponents is interesting, and in my view misjudged, as I have talked to many ordinary local parents who are against this school, including some Catholics.

Jasbro Sun 17-Jul-11 13:22:48

The plan to have a Catholic secondary school is absolutely preposterous, given that the majority of people in our society are not practising Catholics, and I cannot see why taxpayers of all beliefs should subsidise the teaching of a single faith.
All schools should be inclusive so that all young people have the same opportunity regardless of their parents beliefs or attitudes. Whilst it would be impossible to abolish the existing religious schools due to the church's historic involvement in education and ownership of school buildings, our society is now one of many faiths and non-believers, and the council should not be selling off public assets to the Catholic church.
Why do some Catholics complain their children have too far to travel to go to secondary school? You can't have everything. I would love to have a state funded Montessori nursery at the end of my road, I'm sure it would be oversubscribed in no time, but obviously I'm not going to ask the council to set one up. Many parents send their children on long journies across London to go to their chosen independent school - if you want a specific type of education that's the price you pay.
Now that the leadership of our council has made it clear that their priority is to work towards the establishment of a Catholic secondary school in Twickenham by 2013, I feel that all parents who are not Catholic, or would prefer their children educated in a secular school, join the Inclusive Schools campaign to make it clear that this is not what our borough needs.

Rodmellgirl Mon 18-Jul-11 13:16:16

Like a lot of people, I also oppose the Catholic secondary school, for three main reasons:
(i) Schools should bring children from different communities together, not segregate them - this is a key part of preparing them for adult life;
(ii) As the mother of non-christian, ethnic minority children, it appals me that I should have to pay for my children to be discriminated against;
(iii) The council has identified that there's going to be a shortage of secondary places in the borough, but this school that will give preference to out-of-borough catholic children over in-borough non-catholic children. So it's not really a solution. And as Kora noted, there's no sign of the council actually doing anything about another non-catholic school.

I guess I wouldn't feel so strongly if there were enough quality places across the borough, but if the Council's record on primary schools is anything to go by, the vast majority of the borough's children are going to end up shoe-horned into over-crowded schools with 'temporary' classrooms and excessive class sizes.

hester Mon 18-Jul-11 14:07:41

Exactly, Rodmellgirl. There is no way this option can be justified by the needs of the local population as a whole.

BayJay Tue 19-Jul-11 14:24:26

The opposition spokesman on Education, Lib Dem Cllr Malcolm Eady, has made a statement saying that a community secondary should be the first priority.

BayJay Thu 21-Jul-11 13:00:18

There are lots of interesting comments being posted about the Clifden Rd school site story on the RTT website. Apparently all that is being proposed so far is that the site should be bought for a school. The type of school is yet to be decided. Let's hope there is a full consultation on that.

SeenButNotHeard Thu 21-Jul-11 17:26:41

Sorry to disagree with most of you, but I am delighted that the possiblity of a Catholic secondary school looking more and more likely.

There are enough children attending local Catholic primary schools to fill a secondary several times over.

Rest assured though that this will only happen if the Dioceses are willing to help fund it and clearly this will save the council money.

BayJay Thu 21-Jul-11 20:39:13

Thanks for your viewpoint SeeButNotHeard, and there is no need to apologise for disagreeing with the majority of people posting in this thread. It is certainly true that there are a lot of children at Catholic primaries in the borough, and that those of them who wish to stay in the borough are badly served by the link system. However, if that system was reformed so that they were given access to more of our excellent community schools do you not think that many of them would be satisfied? Do you not think that many of them would be pleased to see their children being educated alongside non-Catholics in a new potentially outstanding community school on the Clifden site? Also, as its being widely quoted that there are already 8 existing Catholic secondaries within a 5-mile radius of the centre of the borough, it must be the case that many Catholics who wish to stay in the RC system will find that this Clifden site is not going to be the best option for them anyway.

h2ohno Thu 21-Jul-11 22:01:48

Their may be 8 Catholic secondaries in a 5 mile radius but it is increasingly difficult for richmond residents to get in - particularly for boys. For those who do manage to get in, it usually involves 2/3 bus journeys or a combination of train/bus.

As a Catholic parent with 2 children, i strongly support this proposal and urge all Catholics to contact their councillors as well as the Diocese to make their views known. The provision of a Catholic secondary in the borough is long overdue.

BayJay Fri 22-Jul-11 08:16:27

But why do you not want them to go to our outstanding Community Schools? I agree that there is a problem with access, and that should be resolved, but surely demands for an exclusively Catholic school that 90% of the population would not be able to attend, is not going to gain sympathy for an otherwise worthy cause.

BayJay Fri 22-Jul-11 09:45:49

I wanted to extend my previous comment with some personal perspective. My own children go to a Church of England school, linked to Orleans. However, as Orleans is very oversubscribed, even with a link in place there is no guarantee that my children will get in. Despite that, I would be very supportive of an additional link being given to the nearby St James RC school, because I think its incredibly unfair that children (in particular boys) from there don't have the option of a local community school. To balance that I would also expect that any school created on the Clifden site might be an option for my own children. To make that new school the exclusive option of Catholics seems deeply unfair, especially as it will be our closest secondary school.

h2ohno Fri 22-Jul-11 10:34:53

Whether a secondary rates outstanding by ofsted is not my main concern. A Catholic education will and should be ranked higher (in my view) for any Catholic family.

The argument that 90% of the children in the borough will not be able to access, is neither here nor there. If the demand is not there then surely the distance criteria would apply. If it doesn't come down to the distance criteria then that simply means that the demand for a Catholic secondary is there.

Anyone know what happened at yesterdays meeting??

SeenButNotHeard Fri 22-Jul-11 10:57:35

I am not sure what happened last night (I was at the 'demo' grin but could not get into the meeting)

As I have said up thread 'we live just around the corner from an 'outstanding' non-denominational primary and chose to go the primary attached to our Catholic Church which is 'good' rather than outstanding and a little further away.' It is not all about Outstanding Ofsted status.

In terms of attendance, actually, a Catholic Secondary would serve more of the borough, as a whole, than a non-denominational school, as it will hopefully mean that Catholic children living on the other side of Richmond will also have an opportunity to attend, not just children living in the Twickenham area.

Kora Fri 22-Jul-11 13:45:31

I still find it tricky to understand why someone would give stronger weight to the desire to segregate their children, rather than wanting a good school. But my opinion on that point doesn't matter; they aren't my children. What is perhaps a more crucial issue is that when there are limited resources and a a real need for an additional secondary school, those resources should be used for the widest benefit of the whole community. Despite help from the church, much of the funding for a catholic school will still be from local taxpayers. This does affect my children.

I see no sign of a community school being given priority. On the contrary, I hear that the council is "working on this", but a) no news is likely to come to light for ages as more secondary places are not considered to be needed until 2015/16 and b) the site may well be in Twickenham alongside already good schools as it is considered very difficult to find a site in the Richmond end (which is less well served). Anyone with good site ideas, or who would like more info sooner, tell the council!

Finally, although nobody has come out and said it, the Richmond Free School, with its vague admissions policies etc, seems to be "The Plan" as far as it goes for the community school. There certainly doesn't seem to be anything else on the cards... All very unclear.

BayJay Fri 22-Jul-11 16:50:14

Here is a link to information about what happened at the Cabinet Meeting. The purchase of the site was approved. However, my understanding is that the council can't just decide to gift the site to the Catholic church without some sort of consultation and/or competition. It will be interesting to see if any other groups come forward with a proposal for a school on the site, and what effect that has on the debate.

BayJay Fri 22-Jul-11 17:38:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SeenButNotHeard Fri 22-Jul-11 18:18:32

What the figures don't tell you, I guess, is the choice preferences. In our school, for example, a significant number did not get into their first choice Catholic School as it is out of borough and the distance rules still apply.

BayJay Fri 22-Jul-11 20:32:27

Reposting my post from 17:38, linking to the source of the figures:

h2ohno, when you say that "Catholic education will and should be ranked higher ... for any Catholic family" then presumably you have in mind the Canon Law that says Catholic parents have a duty to provide a Catholic Education for their child. While that may be the overriding motivation for some Catholic families, there is evidence to suggest that for others it is the quality of the school that is driving their choice, just as it does for many people in the wider population.

A little bit of analysis on 2010 transfer figures from St James' RC School reveals the following:

- Of the 19 pupils transferring to private school, only 1 chose a Catholic School, despite there being a private Catholic girls school just a short distance from St James'.

- 17 transferred to local community schools (despite there being no linked school) and non-denominational Grammar Schools.

- 85% of those transferring to schools in the State sector went to schools rated as Outstanding.

- The capacity of the cohort is 90, yet there were only 78 transfers. In the Sacred Heart case (June 2007) the Schools Adjudicator heard evidence that children were transferring schools before Year 6, in order to gain access to their local community school via a school with a link. It would be interesting to know if the same was happening at St James, but that is not possible without further analysis.

In summary, while its not possible to judge people's motivations from these figures, they do suggest that there are factors other than Canon Law at play.

Postscript: I agree that it would be useful to look at choice order, if that information were to be made available, and to compare with other types of school.

h2ohno Fri 22-Jul-11 21:20:09

In the case of Sacred Heart, only a handful go to Teddington despite the link. This is mainly because it is nearly impossible for a boy to get a place at Catholic secondaries, such as Richard Challoner or the London Oratory. Also come year 6, not all children in the school are Catholic and therefore the link suits them brilliantly.

As for families not choosing St Catherines (private girl school) you must be kidding? The fees are out of reach for most families, particularly if you consider that most Catholic families have several children. Personally i wouldnt pay for a Catholic secondary, even if i could. Seems obscene to pay that amount of money for a school when that money could be put to such better use in the world. For those who do pay, my guess is that it is for an academically superior school, such as Hampton Boys or LEH. Scholarship/bursary provision also factor in when deciding which school.

I understand the frustration of non Catholic families to potentially see their taxes being spent on a school that might exclude their child, but understand that for a Catholic family,their is no alternative provision locally. You still have Orleans, Teddington etc.

hester Fri 22-Jul-11 21:46:54

A Sacred Heart mum told me that last year only 6 children went on to Teddington. But she said that the others mainly went private, that - in her words - "Sacred Heart is like prep school, and their motivation is a good school not a Catholic one".

I'm NOT saying that no Catholic parents genuinely want a Catholic education for their children, not at all. But equally, it is undeniable that a fair whack of those at Catholic primaries are using a family faith heritage to access better schools (and Sacred Heart does seem a lovely school - it almost makes me regret I'm not Catholic!) and may be as happy to access an excellent new community secondary as a new CAtholic secondary.

So that also has to be taken into account when calculating the size of the minority whose needs would be served by a CAtholic school - against the needs of the borough as a whole.

h2ohno Fri 22-Jul-11 22:31:35

The majority of Sacred Heart year 6's definitely did not go private. This years group only had 3 go private. Many are devoted Catholics who are having to send their children to secondaries in neighbouring boroughs (Merton/Hounslow).

Sadly there are families who play the church card to ensure a better school for their child. Nevertheless in this borough i find it strange as all primary schools seem pretty good. Particularly in Teddington, as the only non outstanding primary i believe is Sacred Heart.

Better to keep our little gem a secret wink.

hester Fri 22-Jul-11 22:34:43

It is a lovely little school, and I think its size is a big pull for many parents. Its nearest competitor is Collis, where my dd goes, which is a fantastic school but absolutely enormous - over 700 children. Also Sacred Heart seems more ethnically mixed, which would be a big draw for me - if I was Catholic and could get in!

BayJay Sat 23-Jul-11 08:14:22

St Catherine's is interesting, and unfortunately unusual, because although it is a Catholic School it "a community that is completely inclusive and comprised of pupils from many different faiths and ethnic backgrounds." Because of that, it has pupils from many types of family, including Muslim, Hindu and Sikh. Vincent Cable spoke warmly of its ethnic mix in a speech to parliament some years ago. If our local Vountary Aided Catholic schools were to have a smililarly welcoming entrance policy I think it would be safe to say that they would also attract famlilies from different backgrounds, creating a positive outcome for everybody.

BayJay Sat 23-Jul-11 09:10:00

I just wanted to add that the debate about faith schools has moved on considerably since Vince Cable made that speech in 2002, so it would be interesting to know if his view has evolved.

Personally I would disagree with his view on a hierarchy of a right to grievance.

BayJay Sun 24-Jul-11 11:36:57

Just for reference (in response to some of the discussion above), here is are last year's Sacred Heart transfers.

foxinsocks Sun 24-Jul-11 14:18:14

As a RUT resident with my children in the state sector, I would be devastated if they used council funds to build a religious secondary. Build it for everyone or use the funds to make some of the less desirable state secondaries better. Building a school that will discriminate on entrance by faith, IMO, is not a good use of council funds.

Cat2405 Sun 24-Jul-11 19:12:07

The Sacred Heart 2011 transfer figures are interesting. So it would seem that even with link school status to the very well-regarded Teddington School that most parents do indeed chose a Catholic state secondary school for their children.

As it is very hard for boys in the borough to get in to any of the neighbouring borough's Catholic schools, so that may explain why the school has pointed out the gender specifics in the transfer information?

BayJay Thu 28-Jul-11 17:46:12

By my calculations that's 68% transferring to Catholic schools and 32% transferring to non-Catholic schools (including private and grammar schools).

It would be unwise to make any snap judgements on these figures, as it is not possible to judge people's motivations by the raw numbers. Some things to bear in mind are:
- The link to Teddington was only made in 2007, so those children transferring in 2010 would have joined the school when there was no link in place.
- Teddington School is heavily oversubscribed, so even if a link is in place, children would not get in if they didn't live close to the school.

BayJay Tue 02-Aug-11 21:33:25

Update: The Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign have launched a petition to the council to request that any new school on the Clifden Road site (or elsewhere in the borough) is open to the whole community, rather than being restricted to Catholics.

ChrisSquire Mon 08-Aug-11 11:23:25

Please sign the petition if you live in Richmond Borough & agree with it:

'We, the undersigned, petition the council to ensure that every state-funded school opening in the borough from now on is inclusive, so that no child can be denied a place in a good local school because of the religion or belief of their parents.'

It needs 1000 signatures to trigger a mini-debate at a council meeting this autumn, which will bring the issue to the attention of parents across the borough whose children will be affected by what is decided.

This is not about the merits or not of religious education: it is about what to do with this site, in a borough that needs to open two new community schools open to all by 2015 to keep up with rising numbers. No other sites for new schools have been found, or even suggested.

The petition has almost 600 signatures already. It is at:
www.richmond.gov.uk/home/council_government_and_democracy/petitions/online_petitions/epetitions.htm

BayJay Fri 12-Aug-11 08:49:03

There are lots of interesting comments on last week's Richmond and Twickenham Times article about the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign. It looks like the comments of one contributor (against the campaign) early in the thread were deleted by the moderator as they were pretty offensive, so if it reads a little strangely that is the reason.

gmsin Fri 12-Aug-11 22:34:08

I am deeply concerned and disappointed over the Council's proposal to open a new Catholic secondary school. Given the shortage of quality secondary school options in the borough, our expectation is that the Council shows responsibility,sensitivity and a non discriminatory approach towards deployment of tax payer funds for enhancing the quality and quantity of education in the borough.
1) The main issue is that in these tight times a religiously selective school is being created and given priority over creation of an inclusive school. The council has the responsibility for creating high quality schooling and create a level playing field for education for all. Hence this decision is appearing to be undemocratic and highly discriminatory to 90% of the non - catholic population.
2) We are already aware of the gaps and issues around secondary school education in Richmond, the failure of the erstwhile Shene School International and the massive task ahead that lies in turning around RPA. Hence it is only fair and moral to give priority to more inclusive schools. The demand supply imbalance is growing to exceed and there is a need now in the borough for a new state secondary school and defintely another one in the next 3-4 years.
3) I believe that the Council has 4 options here
1. An inclusive school (which could be an Academy or, subject to competition, a Community school) in terms of admissions, employment and balanced religion/belief teaching
2. A Catholic school (probably an Academy) with fully inclusive admissions
3. A Catholic school (probably an Academy) with a maximum of 50% faith - based admissions
4. A Catholic Voluntary Aided school, with admissions (and employment) policies set and amended by the church - dominated governing body.

The Council seems to have chosen the very worst, most restrictive option. It is even out of line with its own policy to convert all the Community schools into Academies, and government policy on inclusiveness at faith schools. How has this been chosen to pursue as a top priority when there is a looming crisis in secondary school places for the borough's children.

4) I am sorry but to get assurance that there will be a new inlcusive school opened in the next 3-4 years is just not good enough. I also do not buy the political argument that there is bipartisan support. My humble opinion is that if this is the case, then both parties have got this wrong and they should hold a proper public consultation before making this important decision.

5) As the parent of two young children living in Richmond, I am heartily opposed to the idea of creating a non inclusive school . I have no problem with faith-based schools, that have a non-discriminatory intake. As it now stands, we do not have a secondary school within a two mile radius of our house and we would be excluded from attending this new school.

6) Majority of us in the borough are facing the bleak prospect of either paying around £ 100k for private seconday education per child or moving out of the borough if state secondary school options in the borough are not improved.

7) I have now also signed an e-petition to support inclusive schools. Since it was launced last week, it has already got an overwhelming support of over 750 parents. I am sure that we will get many more to sign this in the coming days, once people are back from their holidays and schools re-open. Every child in the education system in the borough deserves an equal and non discriminatory educational opportunity and does not deserve to be left behind. Please sign the e-petition http://tinyurl.com/riscpetition1

I feel like the councillors and MPs for Richmond have not done an adequate job of determining local support before making a decision and are badly letting us down. I firmly believe that any objective assessment of the position in Richmond will lead to the conclusion that a new Catholic VA school cannot meet the urgent need for secondary school places, nor conform to government policy on Academies or inclusiveness

MrsLittle Fri 12-Aug-11 22:42:01

I also signed the petition. I forwarded by email to as many people as I could think of. It seems like the council has purposely pushed through the deal while everyone is away on summer holiday. The whole deal looks shady, especially in light of the fact that the North Kingston secondary school plans were scratched. I'm not opposed to faith-based schools, but discriminatory intake is not acceptable for a state funded school. Let's hope we get to 1000.

gmsin Sat 13-Aug-11 07:48:14

Please sign our official petition on the Council website for inclusive state school: http://tinyurl.com/riscpetition1

I am deeply concerned and disappointed over the Council's proposal to open a new Catholic secondary school. Given the shortage of quality secondary school options in the borough, our expectation is that the Council shows responsibility,sensitivity and a non discriminatory approach towards deployment of tax payer funds for enhancing the quality and quantity of education in the borough.

1) The main issue is that in these tight times a religiously selective school is being created and given priority over creation of an inclusive school. The council has the responsibility for creating high quality schooling and create a level playing field for education for all. Hence this decision is appearing to be undemocratic and highly discriminatory to 90% of the non - catholic population.

2) There gaps and issues around secondary school education in Richmond, the failure of the erstwhile Shene School International and the massive task ahead that lies in turning around RPA. Hence it is only fair and moral to give priority to more inclusive schools. The demand supply imbalance is growing to exceed and there is a need now in the borough for a new state secondary school and defintely another one in the next 3-4 years.

3) I believe that the Council has 4 options here

1. An inclusive school (which could be an Academy or, subject to competition, a Community school) in terms of admissions, employment and balanced religion/belief teaching

2. A Catholic school (probably an Academy) with fully inclusive admissions

3. A Catholic school (probably an Academy) with a maximum of 50% faith - based admissions

4. A Catholic Voluntary Aided school, with admissions (and employment) policies set and amended by the church - dominated governing body.

The Council seems to have chosen the very worst, most restrictive option. It is even out of line with its own policy to convert all the Community schools into Academies, and government policy on inclusiveness at faith schools. How has this been chosen to pursue as a top priority when there is a looming crisis in secondary school places for the borough's children.

4) Majority of us in the borough are facing the bleak prospect of either paying around £ 100k for private seconday education per child or moving out of the borough if state secondary school options in the borough are not improved.
5) I have now also signed an e-petition to support inclusive schools. Since it was launced last week, it has already got an overwhelming support of over 750 parents. Every child in the education system in the borough deserves an equal and non discriminatory educational opportunity and does not deserve to be left behind.

Gastonladybird Sat 13-Aug-11 08:07:51

Signed and couldn't agree more - I am not anti faith schools but giVen lack of places I am staggered they this is th best alternative.

BayJay Sat 13-Aug-11 21:03:54

Changing the focus slightly, if the school on the Clifden site becomes an inclusive school, what kind of school would Mumsnetters like to see there?

As the council have said there is room for a primary school on the site as well as a secondary, it would presumably make sense to have some sort of all-through school, catering for children from 4 - 18. Would that be something that people would welcome?

Other options could be for an all-boys school, to balance Waldegrave, or perhaps some sort of Waldegrave-Clifden partnership where boys/girls are kept separate for some types of classes and educated together for others.

As Waldegrave Girls is the only local school with a science specialism, then maybe this new school should also be a science specialist school, perhaps combined with another discipline such as engineering. That would give our boys a fair crack at the sciences (and would capitalise on having Teddington Physical Laboratory in the borough, which has strong links with Waldegrave).

Whatever type of school it becomes, I would say that it needs to be distinct in character from Orleans Park and Twickenham Academy so that each school can stand on its own merits when attracting pupils. It is particularly important that it does not disrupt the very promising recovery of Twickenham Academy.

Any thoughts?

Gastonladybird Sun 14-Aug-11 20:22:36

It's a good point- has any analysis been done of the effect on boys v girls in terms of school places? If fact there is Waldegrave is distorting numbers so boys adversely affected that might sway in favour of a boys school but I think a mixed school likely to better (else you run risk of similar argument on school places nor being inclusive).

I think Tories (or any party) that does support any option that is selective (as seems to be current choice) are heading for a hiding in the next election that will make rows over emissions based car park spaces look like nothing. The issue of school places has been getting progressively worse and it's been dodged for too long.

gmsin Sun 14-Aug-11 23:28:58

A proper needs analysis should be done to determine what are the main issues and gaps that need to be resolved in the borough's education. Public should be sought. Instead what seems to be happenning is a closed door process that is sneakily trying to serve vested and political interests

Suzihaha Thu 18-Aug-11 13:49:28

Perhaps we need to petition the council that if the Catholic School does go ahead, it needs to have a significant proportion of admissions that do not rely on faith. Surely that's the bext compromise?

I don't agree with faith schools on principle and have signed the inclusive schools petition.

DS1 is only 3.5 years so we have a way to go before secondary schools become an issue, but with the link system in place it's proving a bit of a nightmare trying to decide which prmary school to send him to!

Does anyone know if the council are looking at abolishing the link system? I had heard rumours but not seen anything concrete.

BayJay Fri 19-Aug-11 18:41:47

Suzihaha, in answer to your point about admissions, the type of Catholic school that the council is proposing is Voluntary Aided (VA), which means that it will set its own admissions policy, and the council will have no influence on it. VA schools control their own admissions, following national guidelines set by the church. Church of England VA Schools are moving towards increasing the number of "open" places, in order to serve the wider community, however the Catholic Education Service vigorously opposes any suggestion that it might do the same.

It is very interesting that the council is proposing a VA school rather than an Academy, despite the fact that it is actively encouraging all existing borough schools to become academies. The Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign think that this is because the Government's policy on academies says that all NEW faith-based academies need to have 50% open admissions, whereas schools that convert from VA to Academy status further down the line will be able to keep their existing admissions policy.

BayJay Fri 19-Aug-11 18:54:28

Also, answering Suzihaha's question about the Linked School Policy, paragraph 4 of these minutes indicates that it is going to be reviewed in September by the Admissions Forum.

Note that the borough's school admissions policies are open to consultation each December. In the meantime if people want to comment on the Linked School Policy then I suggest they contact either their own councillor or one of the councillors on the Admssions Forum.

Kora Sun 21-Aug-11 15:01:20

No doubt it's been said above, but it's worth remembering that the linked school policy also affects children who go to smaller primary schools, not just faith schools. My DD is going to a local one-form entry school and they have a variety of school destinations, none enough to establish a link, and it seems a few people missed out on places at the oversubscribed richmond schools.

The new faith school will not help her form as they will not get a place at that school unless they meet religious criteria, nor will it free up places in the other richmond schools, unless it's untrue that most go outside the borough (and that seems to be a central plank of the call for a richmond catholic school).

It'll be interesting to see what the council says in September.

Suzihaha Mon 22-Aug-11 07:00:05

I have just written to my councillor about the link system and the Catholic School admissions criteria.

How can they decide on a Catholic VA school when there is so much opposition? I still don't understand. Will the Catholic Church contribute funding towards the cost of the building/land or to the running of the school?

BayJay Mon 22-Aug-11 22:16:31

The Clifden site is being purchased by the council. To qualify for VA status the church would need to contribute 10% of any capital (i.e. building) costs that would be required, but as there is already a viable school building on the site these will presumably be minimal. The running costs of VA schools are 100% funded by the Local Authority.

gmsin Tue 23-Aug-11 20:35:57

Sign the online ePetition proposing that all new borough schools should be inclusive tinyurl.com/riscpetition1
Support the right for all our children to be able to attend any new state-funded Secondary schools, regardless of religion.

ChrisSquire Wed 24-Aug-11 19:14:11

The ePetition now has 940 signatures & so needs just 60 more by September 3 to make it onto the agenda for the September 13 meeting of full Council: if you know anyone who hasn't signed yet but is sympathetic to the cause please nag them to sign pronto!

gmsin Fri 26-Aug-11 06:33:28

We now have the 1000 signatures necessary to trigger a short Council debate, but need as many as we can to strengthen our case as the campaign progresses.

Kora Fri 26-Aug-11 14:32:07

Just heard the application for the Richmond Free School was rejected by central government (they are considering whether to reapply). So the faith school plan is the only current prospect for a new secondary.

gmsin Thu 01-Sep-11 19:45:45

Richmond Inclusive School petition now has over 1100 signatures - a fantastic result. It's only been running 4 weeks, and that's in the middle of the holiday period. A big "thank you" to everyone who's helped so far - you've really made a difference.
If you're just back from holiday, please sign it: http://tinyurl.com/riscpetition1. (You must have a home, work or study address in Richmond borough.

ChrisSquire Sat 03-Sep-11 11:48:45

The 'Inclusive Schools' petition opposing this plan will be submitted to Council on the 13th and briefly debated.

BayJay Sat 03-Sep-11 21:11:38

Just going back to what some people (e.g. Kora Sun 21-Aug-11 15:01:20) have been saying about the existing linked school policy adversely affects small schools, as well as Catholic ones, it's worth noting that the judgement made by the Schools Adjudicator in the Sacred Heart Case (June 2007) could arguably be extended to any primary school in the borough that does not currently have a linked secondary. In paragraph 14 he says "...the issue is less the principle of linked schools than the mechanism used to establish links.... In general it is unfortunate that the outcome of applications are in part determined by choices and decisions made by the parents of previous cohorts of pupils. More particularly, the system as operated has the effect of preventing the admission of small number of children to a school serving the community in which they live"

For those Mumsnetters affected by the problem, perhaps it is worth mentioning this judgement in letters to your councillors or members of the Admissions Forum.

BayJay Thu 08-Sep-11 11:44:39

The latest news on the Catholic School debate is that the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign are inviting people down to York House from 5.30pm on Tuesday 13th Sept, to show their support ahead of the Council debate that will start at 7pm. It sounds like a child-friendly event with balloons and t-shirts and the like. I expect more details will be posted on their Facebook Page or website over the coming days for anyone thinking of going along.

Kewcumber Thu 08-Sep-11 14:07:07

I am going with DS at 6-6.30 nfortunately can;t stay for the debate.

SeenButNotHeard Thu 08-Sep-11 15:14:38

I'm hoping to be there too - but for the 'other side' wink

I will convert you all mmmwwhahahahaha!
grin

There is a new petition for those in support of a Catholic school which has over 200 signatures in only three days.
www.richmond.gov.uk/epetitions?mgl=mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx&ID=48&RPID=8290821&HPID=8290821

Kewcumber Thu 08-Sep-11 17:55:02

Ineresting that the catholic church seem to be planning to "picket" the non-catholic viewpoint. I would have thought that was a bit counter productive when we didn't do it when the catholic petition was heard.

You won't convert me (I know you were joking).

I fundamentally disagree in principle with the state supporting religious schools. Personally I'd have them all banned (even the CofE ones but at least there is some argument for them being the state sponsored religion) but in an area where there is insufficient provision for all pupils with a need, I can see no argument at all for a faith based school to take priority other than "we want one".

My son goes to a primary school with no linked secondary and the provision for boys in the borough is abysmal as it is. That there may be council money spent on a school because no other school is good enough (when it is expected to be for my son to which he will not be admitted makes my blood boil.

How weak does your catholic faith have to be that it cannot sustain itself in a school that does not specifically teach Catholicism? How do other religions cope?

sfxmum Thu 08-Sep-11 18:04:41

everything that KewC said with bells on ( not church one mind)

BayJay Thu 08-Sep-11 21:20:41

There is a very obvious compromise that would satisfy most (but not all) people on both sides of the Catholic School debate. The new school could be a Catholic Faith Academy, rather than a Voluntary Aided school. Then it could reserve 50% of its places for practising Catholics, and provide the rest as open community places.

SeenButNotHeard, I'd be interested in your view on that.

SeenButNotHeard Thu 08-Sep-11 22:53:43

I'm not sure that there is actually any organised 'picket'. I am going along as a fair and balanced person I would like to hear both sides of the debate, as well as having my say if the opportunity arises.

At the last council debate, there were actually representatives from both sides.

I would remind everyone again that there are more than enough Catholic children, in borough, to fill a Catholic secondary school.

I think that the idea of a Catholic Faith Academy is an interesting one. I guess I would worry a bit that a 50% dilution of attendees of the Catholic faith may undermine its ethos, but I would be willing to find out more.

I actually think that this is something that the Wesminster Diocese would support given that it is trying to change the admissions criteria for Cardinal Vaughan at the moment (this is however not supported by the majority of parents at the moment AFAIK)

Kewcumber Thu 08-Sep-11 23:41:15

There are more than enough non-catholics to fill two more secondary schools and despite being the majority, they are not being considered as the priority.

Starting with a Catholic secondary school won't don't anything to address the lack of spaces for the majority of children of any religion in the borough and as the building that is being mooted is already partially suitable at the monet the rebuild costs will be minimal, added to which it is in cetnral Richmond with easy bus and train links throughout the borough which would make it an ideal all inclusive school.

There are Catholic schools (which are currently being attended by Richmond residents) which are closer to some parts of richmond than the state secondary schools in Richmond and given Catholics get priority to them I don;t see the problem for putting yourself out a bit to get the additional Catholic tuition you require as it isn;t something the state is compelled to provide.

My son has NO priority at any school - not one, inside the borough or outside. He goes to a small state school that has no link and as a result in a single class moving to secondary last year the children were attending 10 differnt secondary schools spread across the borough.

I'd take any half way decent school, really any at all. Even a Catholic one. I still really don't see why an all inclusive school isn't prioritised. If there is the money/premises left when the schools accomodating the whole borough (including Catholics) have been supplied then more than happy for the council to start asking who wants what and allocating the money in descending population order.

I get that you want a catholic school I just don't get why you need one more than I do.

It's all a bit moot point as I strongly suspect the deal was done a long time ago behind closed doors as Lord True has openly stated links as a trustee of a catholic charity.

Kewcumber Fri 09-Sep-11 00:03:06

Oh my understanding was that there was a couple of people from the all inclusive schools campaign present at the reading of Catholic petition. I will be interested to see if the Catholics campaign is more high profile than that (not that I'm suggesting there is an orchestrated protest) - I hope not as it wouldn't be very polite! I must say am a bit alarmed at the idea of having to run the gamut of Catholics to hear a petition I signed being read - sfx will you come and hold my hand?

SeenButNotHeard Fri 09-Sep-11 00:14:33

No need to fear - I doubt there will be public flogging and burning at the stake (well, unless you all get really out of hand wink)

hester Fri 09-Sep-11 00:24:58

What kew said. I will get along there on Tuesday if I can.

sfxmum Fri 09-Sep-11 08:21:02

I will try to be there might have to bring child or work out some kind of childcare

SeenButNotHeard Fri 09-Sep-11 09:45:06

As I have said before, in terms of attendance, actually, a Catholic Secondary would serve more of the borough, as a whole, than a non-denominational school, as it will hopefully mean that Catholic children living on the other side of Richmond will also have an opportunity to attend, not just children living in the Twickenham area.

We are not talking about the LA providing a school that will not be filled by LBRUT children, these children just happen to be Catholic.

hester Fri 09-Sep-11 09:50:59

SBNH, you are arguing that a Catholic school would actually provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number. Is that right?

Do you, then, agree that the overriding principle should be the greatest benefit to the greatest number of Richmond children? Or, if we could demonstrate that a Catholic school does not do this, that it prioritises the minority over the majority, would you still want it to happen anyway?

BayJay Fri 09-Sep-11 10:29:25

SeenButNotHeard, that's an interesting perspective, which I could understand if all of our other borough secondaries were 'ring fenced' for LBRUT children. However, the council is not allowed to ring fence schools in that way. It is against the law. Borough boundaries are not allowed to be used as a criterion in admission policies. That is why many other LBRUT children (not just catholics) attend out-of-borough schools, and also why many children from outside of the borough attend 'our' schools. There is a table in this report which displays Secondary schools offer data for entry in 2011/2012 by residence. It shows that 415 of our 1626 secondary school places were offered to out-of-borough children. It is common practice for children to cross borough boundaries when they live close to them.

The second petition that you referred to in your earlier post has been raised by the chair of governors at St Edmunds Primary School in Whitton. According to Google Maps that school is 1.9 miles from St Marks in Hounslow, and 2.4 miles from Gumley House in Isleworth. In contrast, it is 2.8 miles from the Clifden site. Are you suggesting that those children who currently go from St Edmunds to St Marks and Gumley House (78% of them last year), will switch to Clifden, just because it is in LBRUT?

SeenButNotHeard Fri 09-Sep-11 10:32:29

Bugger, just wrote a long reply and my computer refreshed so I lost it.

Basically, I can't argue that in terms of a pure numbers game that there are more non-Catholic than Catholic children in the borough.

However, there are more than enough Catholic children accross the borough, who would like to complete their education in a Catholic secondary, and so I honestly think that as an option, this should not be discounted.

This is not exactly a new policy for the elected council, I believe that they did give a promise in their Manifesto to explore the possibility of adding a secondary school to the local Catholic primary schools.

Kewcumber Fri 09-Sep-11 11:01:17

Yes I do understand that you'd like for them to complete their Catholic education in a Catholic secondary and predominantly I understand that catholic children do already. I understand you fighting for what you'd like, of course I do. I just don't understand (and haven't yet been convinced by the "but we want one "!) why what the majority of childrne in the borough need is less important than what you want.

Other children in the borough are forced to go out of the borough for secondary school, not because they are following a particular desire for a school in tune with their beliefs, but because they have no choice, there are not sufficient schools of any sort at secondary level and this problem is projected to get worse over the next 5-10 years. Having a Catholic secondary will not address this as by even the Catholic admission many of these childrne are going out of borough at the moment and will therefore not free up many places in the existing school system but just exacerbate the problem.

I don't want the council to discount the idea of a Catholic school, I have no problem with them investigating the possibility, I just think that prioritising it in the light of the woeful shortfall in provision to all children is lunacy.

Your children get priority in out of borough Catholic schools (which by the nature of the London landscape are probably closer than most people are to their secondary school out of London). My DS has no priority at any school, anywhere in UK and could be offered a place at any random school that can take him.

Do you understand why I am fighting so hard? You have some choices - I do not. I have no choice but to fight for another all inclusive school as I see it as the only hope DS has of attending a secondary school somewhere vaguely near where we live that isn't grappling with failing school status. It isn't much to ask is it? Isn't that something to fight for out of common human decency before a religious angle is introduced?

Kewcumber Fri 09-Sep-11 11:10:46

and you won't be able to "have your say" - the meeting is restricted to the person presenting the petition speaking for five minutes, then three councillors speaking no questions or answers allowed (is my understanding).

But with the leader of the conservatives unashamedly plugging the Catholic agenda I wouldn't worry too much about not having your say hmm

Good point about the manifesto though. I hadn't realised (naively) that investigating the possibility of a Catholic school would result in the priority of a Cathlic school over an all inclusive school. Why would it occur to me, its bizarre. Mind you I feel strongly enough about it to vote next time on this single issue alone, which, given that I live in a marginal ward with a school which has no link to a secondary school and where parents are extremely concerned about the secondary provision, our councillor has some explaining to do about how he reconciles this decision with meeting the needs of his constituents.

SeenButNotHeard Fri 09-Sep-11 11:28:32

My guess is that there are Catholics in your constituency too.

You have given me food for thought Kewcumber. I do understand why you are fighting so hard. If you are in Kew, I guess your closest school is RPA. We all want want is best for our children, even if we don't agree, I'm glad we are fighting for them.

Kewcumber Fri 09-Sep-11 11:44:20

I'm sure there are Catholics - I know some of them. They go to our school!

Kewcumber Fri 09-Sep-11 11:45:16

Actually our closest school is Christs - but thats also religious and selective (though marginally less so than a catholic school would be)

BayJay Fri 09-Sep-11 11:47:51

And Christs prioritises Catholics over other religions and non-religious children.

SeenButNotHeard, you still didn't really answer the nub of my earlier question about an Academy. Would you mind your children going to a Catholic school that was an Academy rather than a Voluntary Aided school? Would it go some way to addressing what you want?

hester Fri 09-Sep-11 12:02:54

I'm going to have to challenge you on that, SBNH. "We all want what is best for our children, even if we don't agree, I'm glad we are fighting for them". Of course we all want what is best for our children, but we also have a social and moral duty to fight for what is best for all children.

That is why I am part of this campaign, even though I am in a part of the borough served by a perfectly good secondary school (and with a girls' school up the road - I have girls). I have nothing to gain from a new secondary school, but it is the right thing to do.

It is why I am not one of those parents campaigning against primary school expansion in my part of the borough, even though my dc's school is already big and I'm already in it. It would be better for my children if the school didn't expand, but that would be us just drawing up the ladder behind us, and I can't defend that.

Your attempt to equalise your struggle and kew's, when she is fighting for the chance to have one decent school option for her ds, and you are fighting to have your dc to have privileges at the expense of other children's needs, is just not on. I can't believe your faith asks you to just look out for your own kids, and not for anyone else's. Honestly, would Jesus have taken the children of the rabbis and taught them? No, he wouldn't. He would have gathered the children of the poor, the homeless, the prostitutes and the Samaritans, and given his attention to them. Would he have said, "You fight for your kids, and I'll fight for mine?"

Lots of things offend me about faith schools, but the widespread abnegation of moral responsibility for other people's children really chuffs me off worse than anything.

sfxmum Fri 09-Sep-11 12:27:02

OMG hester liberation theology is not very popular these days I find shock

Seriously what is wrong with having a good, inclusive community school?
What is imagined will happen to Catholic children attending a non denomination school?
I grew up in a overwhelmingly Catholic country yet the schools were secular, I cannot understand the need or desire to segregate.

hester Fri 09-Sep-11 13:05:18

Did I get a bit 1973 then, sfxmum?

grin

BayJay Sat 10-Sep-11 09:37:40

Just picking up further on my point about the irrelevance of borough boundaries (BayJay Fri 09-Sep-11 10:29:25), its worth adding that Catholic schools are organised by Diocese, rather than by borough. LBRUT spans part of two Catholic dioceses: Westminster (north/west of the river) and Southwark (south/east). The Diocese of Westminster specifically states in on its website that it has "sufficient places in Catholic secondary schools in this diocese to accomodate every Catholic child".

Also the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign has produced a map showing that there are 8 Catholic Secondary Schools within a 5 mile radius of the centre of LBRUT.

The evidence seems to be pointing to the fact that there are already enough Catholic Secondary schools in this area. They might not be conveniently located for everybody who wants to use them. However, it would seem reasonable from most people's perspective that families seeking a specialist kind of education should be prepared to travel for it.

SeenButNotHeard, does this information make you reconsider your position at all?

Also, sorry to hound you on this point, but assuming the numbers issue is a red herring, then does that make a Catholic Academy a more attractive prospect for you? Would you welcome the opportunity for your children to have a Catholic Education, and yet to learn alongside children from other backgrounds too?

Cat2405 Sat 10-Sep-11 16:16:12

What would be the differences between a Catholic academy and Catholic VA school?

BayJay Sat 10-Sep-11 17:15:35

The main difference that is relevant to this debate is that a Faith Academy could only have 50% of its places allocated on a faith basis and the rest would be open to the community.

The council has a policy of encouraging all of its schools to work towards academy status anyway (ie self governing rather than under council control). If this one starts life as a Voluntary Aided Catholic school then when it converts it will be allowed to keep whatever admission policy it has at the time (likely to be 100% priority for Catholics in line with existing Catholic school policy). However if it starts life as an academy then the 50% rule will apply.

Apologies for not including linked references for this info, but I'm typing on my mobile, and its all discussed earlier in the thread anyway, with links.

BayJay Tue 13-Sep-11 09:21:43

For info: the debate that has been triggered by the Richmond Inclusive School Campaign's petition is going to be broadcast live on the web tonight. Presumably there will also be an archive copy after the event.

BayJay Tue 13-Sep-11 11:48:33

People could be fooled into thinking tonight's debate was a referendum, given the rate that the pro-Catholic-School petition is climbing. The numbers don't really matter, as the stated purpose of the petitions is to just get the 1000 signatures needed to trigger a debate. Of course, a Catholic School with fully inclusive admissions would satisfy the wording of both petitions (though not neessarily all of the supporters on each side).

Some prominent names have been signing the Inclusive petition recently, including the head teacher of Waldegrave (or, at least, her namesake) and Cllr Stephen Knight, who is the Lib Dem council leader.

ChocolateMama Tue 13-Sep-11 11:57:40

I guess the steep increase in the number of people signing the petition asking for a Richmond Catholic School are just a representation of the desire of Catholics in the borough for a secondary school for their children.

I can see both sides of the argument, however:

- A Catholic school would free-up places in other over-subscribed schools in the borough and so alleviate pressure on numbers
- Children who attend Catholic schools in the borough are currently split-up dramatically at age 11 as there are no linked schools to take them. This is upsetting for the children and something that a new Catholic school could possibly address.

BayJay Tue 13-Sep-11 13:17:40

Hi ChocolateMama. Good to have some new voices in this thread. Have you read through all the previous postings? That's worth doing because there's a lot of discussion about the Linked School system. The one thing that everyone does seem to agree on is that it certainly is unfair, not just to children at Catholic schools, but also to the other primaries in the borough that don't have links. The governing body of Sacred Heart RC primary resolved the issue for their own school, by appealing to the schools adjudicator, and getting a link created. It would seem reasonable for the council to extend that judgement to the other primaries that don't have links. All eyes are on the next Admissions Forum meeting, when the linked school system is due to be reviewed.

I can sysmpathise with the "splitting up" concerns, though I suppose that could also be seen as a result of there being so many choices for Catholic families, rather than so few. Children in Twickenham are also split up dramatically by gender at age 11 because of the Waldegrave effect, so I've heard some people say the Clifden site should be used to resolve that issue (e.g. by having a boys school that had strong links with Waldegrave).

Another option could be a Catholic Academy (see discussion above). What would you think of the idea of a Catholic School with an inclusive admissions system? Would you mind your children attending school with children from other backgrounds?

Kewcumber Tue 13-Sep-11 14:13:12

chocolatemama - the linked system is a problme for all non-linked schools it is emphatically not a catholic problem. In fact I would guess that my sons scool has a bigger problem with childrne being spread to the four winds than most catholic schools in the borough. How is another school that he can't get into going to solve the problem for him, his classmates or those in other non-linked schools?

I suspect that the dramatic increase in the take up on the catholic petition is more a function of the growing awareness that non-catholic people are not as apathetic about their childrens education as was previously thought and that having been given the nod that a catholic school was next in line it now appears (at the very least) that the Council will have to justify its position of a Catholic VA school contrary to their stated policy.

I have been honest about my personal view - no state funded reliogious schools but I would accept as a compromise an academy which has to comply with the national curriculum in all subjects and admit at least 50% non-selectively.

I haven;t ever seen a convincing argument that a catholic school will significantly releive pressure on the current secondaries - indeed the Catolic campaign repeatedly uses as one of it arguments (the other being "We Want one) that the majority of catholic primary pupils go out of borough to secondary (bearing in mind that "out of borough" catholic secondary is in many cases closer than the next nearest non-Catholic secondary)

I would rather see the link system abolished (in line with other London boroughs) than a selective school which isn't open to the vast majority of childrne who live in teh borough.

sfxmum Wed 14-Sep-11 08:37:00

Who thought that bussing in small children from Catholic schools, to fill the gallery from 5 to 8pm was a good idea? hmm
Very good turn out yesterday

hester Wed 14-Sep-11 08:57:28

suffer the little children (and everyone sitting around them)

Kewcumber Wed 14-Sep-11 10:16:22

Did they really? shock RISC were recommending that anyone with young children went home and didn;t stay for the actual meeting. I had (naively) assumed that the catholic contingent had just used adults to fill the gallery. Were they crying to order and looking sad and wan? grin

BayJay Wed 14-Sep-11 10:38:21

The archived version of the webcast from the council meeting is now available to view online.

Kewcumber Wed 14-Sep-11 13:52:13

thanks I tried to watch it last night but would only say the even twas closed - will try again now.

BayJay Fri 16-Sep-11 17:09:19

Following Tuesday's council debate about the proposed Catholic school in Twickenham, I've heard lots of people asking "what happens next?". Well, as mentioned in the debate, the Catholic Church will need to ask Michael Gove for special permission to set up a new school without any form of competition. The fact that there is local opposition will no doubt influence his decision on that. If he waves it through, then there will still be a consultation process. If he doesn't, then the council will have the choice of either having an open competition for the site, or working with the Catholic Church to set up a Faith Academy. Academies are exempt from competition, but, as discussed earlier in this thread, the Catholic Church may not be happy about going down the academy route because of the rules that say new faith academies can only select 50% of their pupils by faith. They would need to decide between walking away from the opportunity, or setting a national precedent on admissions.

Either way, things could get very interesting!

sfxmum Fri 16-Sep-11 17:16:30

I think the campaign needs to continue, the local paper I feel seems to be leaning towards a more sympathetic towards the Catholic option, more letter writing and more visible objection needs to be maintained imo
Last Tuesday I got the feeling there was surprise there was such strong objection and that the objection managed to organise itself sufficiently grin

BayJay Fri 16-Sep-11 17:54:43

Just following on from my last post. Another alternative for the Catholic Church would be to continue to try and change the law on Faith Academies to give them more control over admissions.

ChrisSquire Sat 17-Sep-11 11:23:56

I have posted the Liberal Democrat response to the petition at: twickenhamlibdems.co.uk/en/article/2011/511916/the-inclusive-schools-petition-the-liberal-democrat-response . The Lib Dems have called a consultation before any decision: twickenhamlibdems.co.uk/en/article/2011/512958/call-for-consultation-on-new-twickenham-secondary-school

It is rumoured that some Conservatives are now having doubts about giving the site to the RCs. They are worried that there will be an uproar when it becomes known what a lot of money they have had to pay to get the site [this is secret for now]. If you oppose the scheme, live in the borough and have a Tory councillor in your ward, make sure that they know what you think.

The RCs may also have difficulty in finding their share of the £7 million+ needed to alter the site and equip it.

Kewcumber Tue 20-Sep-11 16:48:00

I just got a questionnaire from Boris asking about local issues... will be replying asking if he thinks prioritising a selective catholic school over an inclusive school is really the best use of our money at this stage.

I was totally confused by the councillor at the meeting who appeared to be arguing that they did have sufficient school spaces contrary to their own stated need for two additional secondary schools. I guess they are ignoring their own plan to put in sixth forms which would require a decrease in the number of spaces at existing secondary schools confused.

I assume that they will need to disclose how much they paid for the sire.

Will be emailing my counsillors to ask them.

BayJay Tue 20-Sep-11 18:05:13

Kewcumber, I agree that Councillor Hodgins speech wasn't very clear. He put lot of emphasis on the very real and commendable efforts that are being put into improving Twickenham Academy. My interpretation of his view is that as Twickenham Academy improves, more parents from Twickenham primaries will be happy to send their children there (or at least, not mind that it will be their only remaining choice). Currently it is undersubscribed, and is topped up by many children from Hounslow. It has a troubled past, and has a lot of prejudice to overcome in the local community. If he allows the new Clifden school to be "inclusive" then Twickenham parents will choose it in preference to TA, and disrupt those improvement plans.

Of course, local parents don't necessarily want to be deprived of choice and used in that way, and it would be preferable for Twickenham Academy to attract borough families on its own merits. In theory it should be possible for all local secondaries to be high quality and inclusive, and yet have a distinctive enough ethos for parents to select them on the basis of what is best for their own children.

corlan Wed 21-Sep-11 16:07:02

Bayjay, as you know,Twickenham Academy is right on the edge of Richmond borough. It is not 'topped up' by children from Hounslow - I believe about 50% of the students come from Hounslow borough.This is because Twickenham Academy is seen to be a better choice than the other options available to them in Hounslow borough.

BayJay Wed 21-Sep-11 17:26:03

Sorry Corlan, I didn't mean to imply anything by the phrase 'topped up'. Just clumsy terminology.

What would be your interpretation of Councillor Hodgin's speech? I'd be interested in other opinions.

Kewcumber Wed 21-Sep-11 17:31:47

Of course we need to improve standards of existing schools (we are close to RPA so a subject close to my heart). But surely that is a separate issue to the number of places required. His speech seemed to deny that two new secondary schools were required which totally confused me!

BayJay Wed 21-Sep-11 18:41:07

The original Richmond education White Paper referred only to the 'equivalent' of two new secondary schools. The council have so far made no public commitment to creating a second new school. The implication from Councillor Hodgin's speech, as I see it, is that they intend to create the extra community places required through a combination of expansion, Free Schools, and the improvement of the academies such that they become a destination of choice for Richmond Borough families.

However, I'd be interested in hearing other interpretations.

Kewcumber Wed 21-Sep-11 19:47:51

Blimy aren't most of the secondaries big enough already?

And I though the capacity was going to decrease with the intention to provide sixth forms?

corlan Wed 21-Sep-11 22:20:11

Thinking about it, all 3 academies are right on the edge of the borough.

I sincerely hope that those schools will improve to the point where they become 'the destination of choice for Richmond families'.However, when that happy day arrives, we will be competing with Hounslow and Wandsworth borough parents to get our kids in.

For example, if Twickenham academy improves enough, a lot of parents who currently send their children to Heathlands may well choose Twickenham instead. In that case, I wonder if there will be as many 'spare' places for Richmond borough kids as the Councillor Hodgins has calculated?

BayJay Thu 22-Sep-11 14:14:33

Good point Corlan. It will certainly be interesting to see Councillor Hodgin's numbers when they are eventually published.

Just for info, here are some links to articles about the Catholic School controversy in the local and national press.

BayJay Thu 22-Sep-11 17:21:00

There is some news about the Linked School Policy. The minutes for last night's Admission Forum meeting have been published. The forum is recommending to the council that it consults the public on removal of the Linked School Policy for 2013/2014 entry to Grey Court, Orleans Park and Teddington.

Suzihaha Tue 27-Sep-11 22:17:50

I think it'll be great if they remove the link system. What difference do you think it'll make if Grey Court, Orleans and Teddington become academies?

Kewcumber Tue 27-Sep-11 23:32:04

of course the linked system would be irrelevant if all the secondaries in the borough were reasonable. I accept that they are trying to change this but really, how on earth did a relatively affluent borough with such good primaries get into such a state with its secondaries!?

bluerodeo Wed 28-Sep-11 22:39:25

"twickenham academy seen as a better choice than other options available in Hounslow borough.."

heaven help us when twickenham academy is a better choice than other options - the entire secondary transfer game freaks me out and I wish so much that we had the money to educate our children privately when they reach that age.

bluerodeo Wed 28-Sep-11 22:42:02

kewcumber - because so many families historically tranferred to private secondaries and with the recession more families are choosing state schools, putting a squeeze on admissions

i think
don't jump on me with flashy statistic and stuff please

Kewcumber Wed 28-Sep-11 22:44:36

yes blue I'm sure thats why the pressure on secondary places but it isn't why some of the schools deteriorated so badly. In fact it was a perfect storm of different things happening at different schools at similar times.

But other affluent boroughs don't appear to have the same issue of so many failing schools in one borough.

bluerodeo Wed 28-Sep-11 22:53:20

But have they deteriorated or have they always been failing schools?
Think of where the 3 new academies are, ie widely viewed as less desirable parts of Richmond. well maybe not Richmond Academy - that's the odd one out

Kewcumber Wed 28-Sep-11 23:48:36

Well Greycourt was the school that everyone fought to get into when my neices were young then was a failing school for many years - luckily (very very recently) it seems to have picked up with the new head so that may have been solved.

Richmond Park Academy (or Sheen International school) is certainly (as you identify) not in a less desirable area but quite a cross section of housing and incomes. Though I can only speak for the schools I know near me, my knowledge of other areas of richmond eg whitton are that they may be less desirable than some parts of Richmond but hardly no-go ghettos which result in failing schools.

The irony that there was a Catholic secondary in Richmond which failed and had to be bailed out by CofE (even though it was some time ago now) doesn't escape me! If the Catholic church had stuck it out with St Edmunds instead of cutting and running when the school was "awarded" failing school status we wouldn't be having this argument debate now.

BayJay Thu 29-Sep-11 11:40:11

Twickenham Academy is currently being rebuilt and there is a lot of effort going in to turning it around. Plus, from current Year 7/8(?) onwards they are using the Kunskapsskolan methodology, which may be new to the UK, but is well established in Sweden. I think its fair to say the school has a strong chance of a bright future, but that is yet to be proven.

There are a lot of very nice family size houses in Whitton, that are currently much cheaper than Twickenham. They could be a smart buy right now for anyone who is prepared to take a leap of faith.

I know less about the other Academies, but as they are being run by the same Academy Sponsor, presumably they also have potential to rise high.

However, that doesn't mean that large areas of Twickenham will be prepared to accept Twickenham Academy as their only choice of Secondary School (for boys, anyway). It needs to attract pupils on its own merit.

bluerodeo Thu 29-Sep-11 18:36:41

we would move before accepting twickenham academy I have to say - it may take years to prove itself and turn things around.
I am pretty local

(richmond park is not a kunskapsskolan school btw)

bluerodeo Thu 29-Sep-11 18:37:31

anyway......it is interesting to read other's thoughts on all of this

BayJay Thu 29-Sep-11 19:58:12

There's a very positive Mumsnet thread about Twickenham Academy, if anyone is interested. It hasn't been posted to for a while though.

BayJay Thu 29-Sep-11 20:11:16
BayJay Tue 04-Oct-11 11:15:27
BayJay Wed 05-Oct-11 07:41:57

Anyone watching this thread should be aware that there is a parallel thread in the Secondary Schools forum. It covers much of the same ground as this one, but has some different voices in it and has been quite active lately.

hester Wed 05-Oct-11 07:53:02

May I just say how very IMPRESSIVE BayJay is on this thread? She sound dead clever grin

BayJay Wed 05-Oct-11 09:11:55

blush I just want everyone to have the facts, so that if there is a formal consultation people can be objective, rather than relying on political/religious allegiance, gut instinct, or playground gossip. We're so lucky these days that all the information we need is online, so long as we know where to find it.

Kewcumber Wed 05-Oct-11 10:25:40

Yay! Bayjay for PM!

sfxmum Wed 05-Oct-11 10:29:40

keeping an eye thanks BayJay

ChrisSquire Thu 06-Oct-11 11:23:35

Update October 06: the church has made a formal application to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, for consent to "publish proposals" for a Voluntary Aided school on the Clifden Road site. This is required to avoid the Council having to hold a competition for the new school, or having to set it up as an Academy (which would have a maximum 50 % faith-based admissions). His decision is a closed process and we don't know what's happening. See: twickenhamlibdems.co.uk/en/article/2011/512963/the-new-school-for-twickenham-what-happens-next for more detail.

Gove will not respond to letters from the public but he will to a letter from an MP on their behalf. So if you object to the church’s application and live in the Twickenham constituency, please write to Vince Cable [cablev@parliament.uk or by letter to: 2a Lion Road,Twickenham TW1 4JQ] copying ministers@education.gsi.gov.uk . A letter is better, if you can make the time to write it.

BayJay Fri 07-Oct-11 11:47:57

There are lots of letters about the Catholic school issue in this week's Richmond and Twickenham Times. See pages 28 -31.

For info, on page 31 there is a question from a reader wanting to know the names of the 8 Catholic Secondary schools within 5 miles of the centre of Richmond Borough. If you're interested in the answer to that, here is a link to the map produced by the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign.

The same letter also questions the 10% figure that RISC has been quoting for the percentage of Catholics in the borough. This document contains their explanation for that number.

Cat2405 Sat 08-Oct-11 10:42:51

Is the map missing St Paul's Catholic College in Sunbury? Not too familar with that area, so it may be just outside the boundary.

Cat2405 Sat 08-Oct-11 10:46:18

Whoops, just seen that St Paul's has been mentioned in the other thread about this blush

sfxmum Sat 08-Oct-11 13:45:29

so are the rumours of adding a primary Catholic school, possibly at the same site, true?

BayJay Sat 08-Oct-11 14:00:58

According to paragraph 4.1 of this report the council is planning a one-form entry primary school on the Clifden Rd site. The Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign are reporting on their Facebook site that they have "an email confirmation from Dfes that they have received two section 10 requests from the Diocese of Westminster for consent to publish proposals outside of a school competition for a secondary and primary school".

Read into that what you will.

sfxmum Sat 08-Oct-11 14:04:08

many thanks

Kewcumber Sat 08-Oct-11 16:05:11

what on earth justification can there be to spend public money on a primary catholic school? confused There are already more catholic primary places than there are catholics in the borough.

BayJay Sat 08-Oct-11 18:09:04

Note also in Section 4.2 of this report, confirmation that the council does not intend to provide a new Community Secondary any time in the forseeable future, if at all.

hester Sat 08-Oct-11 22:27:40

I despair, I really do. They should be ashamed of themselves.

sfxmum Sat 08-Oct-11 22:28:34

We voted them in, or some did

ChrisSquire Sun 09-Oct-11 11:12:34

The Conservatives were voted in narrowly and unexpectedly, 44 % to 42 % for the LDs overall, with split results in 5 wards: St Margaret’s, Whitton, Heathfield, Hampton N and Kew. If anyone here thinks they could do better, the borough’s Lib Dems would be glad to hear from them: enquiries@twickenhamlibdems.co.uk

Kewcumber Sun 09-Oct-11 14:49:12

To be honest the libdems have on the face of it been supporting the Catholic proposal until very recently.

Kora Sun 09-Oct-11 15:05:02

I suspect many who voted them in do not use the local secondary schools or were not aware of all the issues...

Fuming about u-turn in two-school policy. It's all very well the local council asking parents to use existing "spare" places in the academies, but would they themselves? Not until the schools visibly improved; the jury's still out on whether the academy changes will achieve that or are just a rebranding exercise.

I just think the whole faith argument is a sham. The council have conveniently forgotten that Christ's school used to be joint Roman Catholic and CoE, and it was woefully undersubscribed - there was no demand then despite the Catholic provision. Why? Because the school was poorly managed and had terrible results. The new school will provide a fresh option while other secondaries are still struggling, but only to a select few.

At least Christs show how a school can be turned around. Richmond Park Academy etc - please investigate!!

BayJay Sun 09-Oct-11 18:27:31

Many people voted for the Conservatives because they liked the sound of 6th Forms, or because they wanted to stop the Twickenham Riverside development, or some other reason unconnected to this. That's the problem with elections ... they're a blunt instrument.

As Kewcumber said, the Libdems supported the idea until recently, and there are still only two Lib Dem Councillors names on the RISC petition (though to be fair I can't see any councillor names on the Catholic petition at all). It would be nice to think that councillors could be allowed to vote freely on this issue, rather than following their party line, but I'm not holding my breath.

I think there's a generational thing going on here. The people driving these policies (Lord True & Councillor Samuel of the Conservatives, and Malcolm Eady of the Lib Dems) aren't necessarily in tune with the local modern demographic of parents. I wonder how many of them read Mumsnet for instance smile.

Melfish Mon 10-Oct-11 22:52:12

Bayjay, totally agree with what you are saying about a 'generational thing' about the councillors pushing the policy through. One of those you mentioned, despite living in the borough and being on the council, chose to send at least one of his kids to an out of borough secondary (not selective) which says it all! They are dinosaurs from the days when more people chose not to send their secondary age children to Richmond's schools- e.g. in my old road, 20 or so years ago, despite being 5 mins from a secondary popular these days, many fellow teens I travelled home with were attending local private schools or one of the Tiffins. Don't think the council realise how many local parents want to/have to send their children to the state schools now. I have nothing against 'faith' schools, having attended 2, but think that if you want your children educated in such an environment you should pay yourself, or the 'faith' or foundation should provide the education at their own cost and charge, or not charge, the parents accordingly.

ChrisSquire Tue 11-Oct-11 10:21:30

Linked schools: I have published on the borough Lib Dem website (which I edit) an article describing the likely effects on Orleans School of scrapping the linked schools policy: twickenhamlibdems.co.uk/en/article/2011/523396/abolishing-the-linked-schools-system-who-gains-who-loses-a-forecast-for-orleans-park

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 10:42:47

Interesting ChrisSquire

So it is ok to discriminate against Catholic children, so long as those attending historically linked primary schools still get to attend their preferred choice of secondary?

The hypocrisy here is amazing.

I am not a Catholic, but actually fully support the proposal for a Catholic secondary school. There are 7 Catholic primaries for heavens sake. Why should they not have a chance of attending an in-borough Catholic secondary school?

What we all should be concentrating on is improving the outcomes of the already established secondary schools. This is what will make a real difference. For those of us living close to Richmond Park Academy, or Twickenham Academy, or Hampton Academy we would not have a chance of getting our children into the new school anyway (unless it becomes a Catholic school and we were Catholic) as we would be too far away to get a place at a small 3 or 4 form entry school.

This new school will be the smallest secondary in the Borough. I am pretty sure, that as a secular school we would need to be living pretty much on the doorstep to be guaranteed a place.

There are enough places at in-borough schools for all pupils; we just need to make our schools ones which we can be consistently proud of. It can be done. When I moved here 10 years ago, I would not have wanted my child to attend Orleans, but it has now clearly turned a corner.

Why are people not fighting hard to improve the schools that already exist, then you would not have to waste your energy fighting the campaign for a Catholic school.

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 11:00:09

goodnessme, the Linked School Policy was introduced in 1992 to try and counteract the effects of the Greenwich Judgement which prevents Local Authorities from prioritising admissions to in-borough children. However, it has been controversial for many years, because of its unintended effects (not least on children at Catholic primaries who woul like to go to community secondaries) and recent lobbying by local people (not least by people from this forum) has led to it being reviewed. A consultation will start on that very soon.

I'm not sure whose "hypocrisy" you're referring to, but if its the hypocrisy of the Linked School policy that you mean then at least you will get the opportunity to express that in the consultation.

So far no such consultation has been held to assess demand for different types of school in the borough.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 11:06:55

But BayJay, do you not get my point that if we all worked hard to improve the schools already established in the borough, noone really would give a flying F* about a Catholic Secondary because we would be happy with the schools available locally.

~As it is, I would not have a chance of getting my child into the new school anyway, regardless of it's admission policy. In much the same way as my child not attending a primary linked to Orleans Park so having no chance of getting in there.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 11:13:14

Whatever the new school is, the only school that I currently have a chance of being able to send my child to is RPA and improving the outcomes for children who attend should be the priority for us all.

I honestly think that the Inclusive Schools Campaign is anti Catholic and is trying to fool everyone that it is not. If only some of the energy was put into really wanting to improve outcomes for all children, as suggested by Hester and the like, we could all be happy.

Wanting to improve outcomes for everyone means a real change for the better is needed across the borough, not concentrating on a proposed school that will only benefit 90-120 new children a year.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 11:14:29

and breathe blush

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 11:17:56

goodnessme, many of the people supporting the RISC campaign are already governors, teachers and actively supportive parents at local schools, so they already work hard to improve current schools. Whichever secondary school my children end up at I will work hard to ensure that it is the best possible experience, and I'm sure most other parents reading this would say the same thing.

It is probably true that the majority of the more active supporters live close to the site and will be affected personally by the changes. That is why the amount of interest in RISC sky-rocketed when the site itself was announced. However, the supporters of the Catholic school campaign are motivated by self-interest too. Its a powerful force!

However, the pursuit of fairness is also a powerful force. That is why many of us who will be negatively impacted if the Linked School policy is dropped, would still argue for it to be reformed. It is also why there are many Catholics supporting the RISC campaign.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 11:23:05

Those living around the proposed site already have a good chance of getting into Orleans, or Waldegrave.

Maybe the name of the campaign schold be changed to the Twickenham Inclusive Schools Campaign as it can't possibly think that the outcome of the school on the Clifton site will positively effect the school chances for children living towards Sheen, Mortlake or Kew.

Sorry but this has really got my goat.

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 11:28:12

goodnessme, the current focus of the RISC campaign is Twickenham, but if the council suddenly announced that it had bought a site next-door to you, then the wording of the campaign, and the petition, would apply equally to that site.

Many people in Twickenham do not have a good chance of going to Waldegrave or Orleans, and will have less chance in the future. That is why they feel strongly about the Clifden site.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 11:35:52

But if, as it currently looks, the council are not going to buy another site, for the good of children accross the borough, we should focus our energy on the schools that already exist.

That benefits all doesn't it?

I think that the Catholic community are discriminated against in terms of school places and this new site will at least go part of the way to rectify that.

I also think that some of those involved in the RISC should declare their personal interest in this and get away from the 'campaigning for everyone' bollocks.

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 11:46:56

goodnessme, the Catholic community are discriminated against in terms of transferring to community schools, and that should be addressed. However, many would argue that they are not discriminated against in provision of Catholic secondary options.

Have you read the whole of this thread? Also have you read the parallel thread in the Secondary School forum? This has been a long-running debate, and so far everyone has been very respectful of other people's views. If you suspect an individual's motivation, perhaps you could take it up with them personally.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 12:04:47

BayJay - sorry if you think that my wording has been a little harsh - I have sat on my feelings on this matter for some time and seem to have let-rip today blush

I have read the whole of this thread which is one of the reasons why I want to shake those living in my neck of the woods not to blindly follow the RISC at the expense of improving standards in their local schools.

I have not seen the other thread though - will have a look now. Thanks.

sequoia Tue 11-Oct-11 12:20:39

I really appreciate your comments goodnessme - so well put and they make total sense. I'll declare my position up front. I am a practicing catholic who had a catholic education (free) and so was well placed to 'pass on the faith' to my kids. My kids did get in to a catholic primary - by metres I'm guessing - and I worry, as do so many parents, about the next stage. Of course I'd love a Catholic secondary in the borough though fear we might not get in (based on distance). As it is, my daughter hankers to 'walk to school'. I tell her it is possible...if we leave the house an additional 40 mins before we do. I'm hoping when she's a little older, some days we could do that walk together. I don't like to think about the logistics of her journey to a catholic school out of the Borough though I will have to.
As she hits her teenage years I know her commitment to her faith will wane/wobble and I probably won't have the back up of a church school to help with that. And it is a great pity that our kids will be cut loose at 11 from that.

I agree that all of us should focus on raising standards in the ailing schools on our doorsteps. So often I read those articles in the Evening Standard etc where a 'poorly performing' school has been turned around - sometimes in as little as 3 years! Less time than it takes to build a new school I'm guessing. Wouldn't it be great if the passion, energy, drive and intelligence of the parents in the inclusive school group got behind these local schools. Wow - what a difference we might see. I think all of us in the Borough - catholic and non, those close to the site and those not close should work towards that.
(hops off soap box)

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 12:29:44

sequoia, I suspect you may have cross-posted that based on goodnessme's early postings, and that you may not have yet read the full exchange, so I won't repeat any of the points that I made. However, they do apply to your post too.

I'm sure everyone wishes the three academies well, and hope that they reach their full potential. There has been a lot of discussion about them in this thread already.

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 12:34:56

Sequoia, just reading your post again a bit more carefully, I think that you are advocating that the Catholic community should embrace the Academies as much as everyone else. That would certainly help to relieve the current controversy!

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 12:38:53

Although my wording may well have been harsh - I still stand by my argument BayJay.

You yourself have said that "It is probably true that the majority of the more active supporters live close to the site and will be affected personally by the changes" - I see little mention of this in the RISC website.

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 12:48:55

The Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (RISC) has been in existence for many months, and was already gathering a lot of support before the site was announced in July. That certainly accelerated their growth.

Once again, I agree that we should all support the Academies. Perhaps in the future, when they have been succesful in their improvement strategies, many Catholics will choose them too.

gmsin Tue 11-Oct-11 13:26:58

goodnessme -

I am m a community board member of RPA and fully interested in its success and turnaround. We all need to strive hard to get the community to embrace RPA and all our other academies. However if we want the academies to attract more local children, surely we must encourage everyone, including Catholics, to embrace them. Having different standards for Catholics and other community members simply creates division. This Divide and Rule policy is discriminatory. People from all backgrounds in Richmond want their hard earned tax money to be spent in a fair and non discriminatory manner.

In the quindrat of Barnes, Mortlake, East Sheen and Kew the only state funded school is Richmond Park Academy. The nearest state schools from the centre of Barnes are 1) Sacred Heart High School & London Oratory both Roman Catholic State funded and 2) Christ's School, a Mixed Church of England comprehensive school in Richmond, where Catholic students get priority. So majority of people in Barnes have fewer choices on state secondary education than the Catholics.

The Council has no electoral mandate for making two new Catholic schools a top priority, using the first - and so far only - available site, regardless of the needs of the borough as a whole, or for it to be a Voluntary Aided school with discriminatory admissions. The significant news now is that a Voluntary Aided (VA) Catholic primary is also proposed along with the secondary will, of course, further enflame the situation. They have so far been only talking about a Catholic secondary school - but now it is ‎2 new schools, 0 consultations - 90% of the borough excluded from both. Catholic VA schools must always “give priority to Catholic families."
There’s no distance limitation, so the proposed school will fill completely with children of Catholics from Richmond and surplus places will be filled with children from other boroughs.
Council should immediately consult all the borough's residents and then based on the response decide on the best use of Clifden Road site. This is needed urgently to restore the communal harmony.

gmsin Tue 11-Oct-11 13:27:54

The inclusive school petition (http://tinyurl.com/riscpetition1) asked the Council “to ensure that every state-funded school opening in the borough from now on is inclusive, so that no child can be denied a place in a good local school because of the religion or belief of their parents". Over 2000 people from across the community have supported it, with beliefs ranging from the non-religious to Anglicans, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Catholics, including parents and senior figures from borough schools.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 14:09:53

Look, I am not a Catholic but I am not, as appears to be the case with many, anti Catholic either.

It seems reasonable to me, when there are so many Catholic primary schools that there should be a in-borough Catholic secondary school for children to move on to.

If the other schools already in-borough were of a better quality, we would not be having this debate would we? (unless of course this really is an an anti Catholic debate)
What ever this school ends up being is a red-herring as it will have no impact on the admission chances of children north of the borough. We have no choice but to concentrate our efforts on improving the life chances for our children by improving the schools that they will end up attending.

I can see why parents living in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site would not be happy, but given that if the linked schools policy was removed, they would be on the door step of Orleans Park, I can't have too much sympathy. I would love my child to be able to attend there.

This new school will be tiny and many Catholics living in borough will be unable to get a place so I can't see that there is much chance of places going out of borough - and if they do, the numbers will be far, far fewer than out of borough places in our other schools.

Twix43 Tue 11-Oct-11 15:02:32

As stated in thread above supporters of the RISC campaign comprise people from all backgrounds, religions and affiliations.

I fully support the petition, and being Catholic and having children already at an outstanding local community secondary school certainly have no self interest or anti-catholic sentiments motivating me, rather a strong sense of what is fair and right overall for children in this borough.

I would encourage anyone who shares this view to express their feelings to their local MP so they are aware of the strength of public opinion against the proposals, especially important as no consultation has taken place.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 15:19:02

<<sighs>>

It is not "children in this borough" though is it? The designation of this secondary school will either effect Catholic children in this borough (covering a larger geographical area) or, in the case of a non-denominational school, children who live within a very small catchment area because the school is going to be so small as to not have an impact on children living any distance away.

The designation of this school does nothing to improve the chances of my child, or his peers living in our neighbourhood. I might even argue that the saved 10% running costs that a VA school would free up could more easily then be ploughed back into schools that need help.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 15:32:25

Self-correct = 10% Building costs

LittleMrsMuppet Tue 11-Oct-11 15:38:41

goodnessme - you are spot by saying the reason people are so upset is because of the perceived lack of quality of some of the other in-Borough Secondaries.

However, it does seem that the crux of your argument seems to be that because you won't personally have access to the school whatever its admission policies, it makes not a jot to you what they are.

I am personally fortunate to live in the catchment of a secondary that I would be perfectly happy with. As a Catholic family we could now have even more choice. Lovely. Aren't we lucky?

The flaw in your argument is that you seem to think that this new school will have no impact on you. How do you think it is being paid for? It's a nice-to-have, not a necessity. Given we're supposed to be tightening our belts it strikes me as an extraordinary poor use of limited funds. Besides, the idea of "in-Borough" equating to it being a local school is misleading. For many children this new school will actually be further away than other Catholic options.

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 15:48:09

goodnessme, the reason why RISC have such strong support is that they are not anti-religious. Many people (including me) would not have chosen to support them if they were. The campaign is endorsed by the Accord Coalition which includes religious groups, political groups and teachers unions, who are all working together towards common goals, namely to open up the admssions of faith schools, ensure they have fair employment policies (as they are currently exempt from important aspects of equalities legislation), and ensure that they have curricula that are accountable to OFSTED. Accord would not have agreed to endorse the campaign if they thought it was anti-religious. If you have encountered individuals who are anti-Catholic then of course you should confront them, and if they claim to represent RISC then you should let the campaign organisers know about it. However, to claim that the whole campaign is anti-catholic is unjustified. Even Lord True is on record as saying that RISC isn't anti-Catholic (sorry I can't find the link right now, but it was in a letter he wrote to the RTT a while ago).

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 15:56:52

The 'catchment' argument is an interesting one as I believe the only non-linked school secondary in our borough not to be undersubscribed is Waldegrave.
I just don't see the RISC jumping up and down about linked schools and the inherent inequality in this. As demonstrated by the arguments put forward in Chrissquire's link.

I guess there will always be winners and losers in any change to policies or new provision so I guess in that, you can consider yourself 'lucky' - I do however still believe that we need to focus on improving the schools that we already have as this is the only way in which we can indeed ensure that we are benefitting all childen, across the borough. We have schools that are undersubscribed - we need to tackle that!

And, I still think that it is reasonable that Catholic children, whose parents are also tax payers, have an opportunity to attend an in-borough Catholic secondary.

sfxmum Tue 11-Oct-11 15:57:44

Without question, for me, the priority is to support the existing schools, including making sure the council actually supports them on the way to excellence, supporting appropriate and strong leadership

Personally, in principle, I am against state support for religious schools of all flavours,this is the system we have, so we have to work within it.
But I would not support the petition if it was targeting this proposed school on the sole basis of it being Catholic,
However no argument that I have seen has persuaded me that the proposed VA Catholic school is the best use of the scarce money available.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 16:02:10

If all eight Richmond schools were 'outstanding' do you still think that the RISC would have the support it has - the answer to that has a good chance of being 'no' wouldn't you say?
Not to say that it would not still have some support, from those that are against faith schools, but the debate would be far weaker.

On the other hand, I would take a guess that those in support of a Catholic school would still be campaigning like mad to have one.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 16:03:17

Sorry sfxmum - cross posts - my question was directed to BayJay

sfxmum Tue 11-Oct-11 16:04:40

I think it is the same on both sides, people are reluctant to send their children to failing schools or schools perceived to be failing, and they fail further, this happened to the last Catholic school in the borough lets not forget

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 16:06:26

goodnessme, this whole discussion today was triggered by ChrisSquire's link. However, he is not a spokesperson for RISC. He is the webmaster for the local Lib Dems (Chris - I hope you don't mind me saying that), so perhaps your anger is misplaced.

I'm not a spokesperson for RISC either. However I know that they have consisently pointed out the unfairness of the Linked Schools policy. One of their most prominent supporters is on the Admissions Forum and was influential in arguing for it to be reformed (for info, note that there are also several prominent supporters from the Catholic School campaign on the Admissions Forum too). There is going to be a consultation on the Linked School policy very soon.

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 16:18:21

goodnessme, in answer to "it would not still have some support, from those that are against faith schools, but the debate would be far weaker", I agree that there would probably be less support. However, not because the fairness argument would be weaker, just because the 'self-interest' force would be less strong. Needless to say the 'self-interest' force on the other side would remain high.

I repeat that (according to their own documentation) RISC is not against Faith Schools. Its aims are inline with those of Accord, so I suggest you take some time to go and read their website. Bear in mind that the faiths school debate goes much wider than Richmond Borough, and there are many politicians supporting the aims of Accord.

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 16:29:07

For info: the council have just published this report about the Linked School Policy. I'm off to read it now ....

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 16:29:43

I'm sorry, but there is no way that you can say, from the tone of this leaflet that they are not against Faith Schools.

In regards to the linked schools bit, the leaflet states "If inclusive capacity were increased to the right level, the system should be reformed"
This appears very much to me as a side issue.

I honestly do not think that this is just a capacity issue. I would have no problem getting my child into RPA because it is undersubscribed. It is a quality issue and it is this that needs to be addressed.

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 16:50:41

Well, if I was designing the leaflet I would have worded it less stridently, and I agree that it doesn't imply a priority of reforming the link system. Perhaps some people saw that leaflet and came to the same conclusions as you, and if so then it was an own goal for RISC. However, people have heard about the campaign from many different sources, and enough of them are happy with what they know about it to support it. If you don't agree, then fine, but that doesn't mean its right for you to try and tarnish the whole campaign as anti-Catholic. The evidence doesn't support it.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 17:05:09

Gosh, I never thought that I would be arguing for the Catholic Schools campaign - where are the Catholics to help me out?

I am against the RISC for the reasons I have already stated.

I am not trying to imply, in any way that you are anti-catholic BayJay - but you can see where I would have got the idea that the campaign has an anti-Catholic stance, given the leaflet that continues to be promoted through the RISC website.

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 17:13:14

Well, I expect that there will be members of the RISC organising committee who will read your comments here and bear them in mind when designing future leaflets.

hester Tue 11-Oct-11 20:59:36

goodnessme, I don't know anybody in the RISC, but I think it rather unfair of you to suggest that its ranks are filled with the self-interested and the narrow-minded. Like many others, I support the campaign even I live round the corner from one of the borough's good secondary schools and so have no need for other options. I am not anti-Catholic. I am anti faith schools, but that doesn't make me anti-faith. I think the linked school policy is indefensible.

Your argument seems to be that because people are partly motivated by the poor quality of some borough schools, that somehow invalidates their arguments. But I could equally turn it round and say that, while many borough children are not getting a good enough education, it is even more outrageous that the council is planning on using our money to give a small minority of them privileged status over the rest. It is easy to say, "Why shouldn't catholic children go to catholic schools", and it sounds the most innocuous thing in the world, but we all know that school access is a cake you can only slice so many ways. If Catholic children get more options, that means other children get less options. It is NOT anti-catholic to find this unfair.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 21:18:17

Again, my priority is to try and improve the standards of schools that are the only ones that some of us have a fighting chance of getting our children into.
I can't see why anyone without another agenda would argue against this.

Catholic parents in Richmond pay taxes too. I can understand why they are fighting to have a Catholic school, in borough that their children can attend.

The issue of whether this school ends up being a faith school or not is absolutely a red herring given that for there to be eqitability in educational provision accross the borough, it is going to take more than a tiny school of no more than 90-120 pupils per year.

I'm pleased for you Hester that you already have a great local school to fall back on. Many of us are not so lucky.

gmsin Tue 11-Oct-11 21:57:35

What is wrong with a high quality school at which children from all backgrounds are equally welcome, including children of Catholics?
.

hester Tue 11-Oct-11 22:09:43

I know, goodnessme; that is why I want to improve the chances of as many of them as possible, not just a select few.

hester Tue 11-Oct-11 22:11:05

And, by the way, I have to say I like the way you turn that back against me, as though I'm sitting here all smug and uncaring grin. It seems that you doubt the integrity of both those parents who do not have access to good schools, and those that do.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 22:17:05

The bottom line, from my perspective is that the RISC is not about improving school chances for all.
It is about stopping Catholic children getting an in-borough school.

This new school, whatever it's designation, will improve nothing for children outside of it's catchment area.

School improvement should be everyone's priority - this has become a battle of those either wanting to deny the establishment of a faith school, at any cost, or a personal battle for those who are not Catholic who live close to the site.

Why would anyone really interested in improving the opportunities for all not want to focus on improving acadamy schools on the outskirts of the borough, rather than focus on a tiny school in the centre of Twickenham.

gmsin Tue 11-Oct-11 22:24:53

goodness me you are wrong. RISC petition does not rule out faith schools, including Catholic - all it is saying is that any new state funded school should be inclusive. This is important especially as there is projected shortage of secondary school places in the borough. Apart from Clifden road, there are no sites available - hence the new school should cater to everyone and not have selective admission

BayJay Tue 11-Oct-11 22:30:52

goodnessme, you keep saying that the Clifden Rd school will be tiny, but 120 pupils per year is 4-form entry. It is also expected to have a 6th form. If you include the one-form entry primary school that is also proposed then that gives a total of well over 1000 pupils. I don't call that tiny.

hester Tue 11-Oct-11 22:31:14

So what are you doing to improve those schools, goodnessme? I'm sorry if that sounds challenging - I'm not meaning to me - but I think you are constructing a straw man here. At least the RISC campaigners are doing SOMETHING to improve the education chances of all children in the borough. Criticising them for saying they don't fight on all battlefronts at once (and how do you know that many of them don't?) is rather strange. Having inclusive schools benefits all our children - I don't understand how you interpret it as narrow self-interest. Surely it is the Catholic campaign that is operating out of self-interest, not RISC which argues that no child should be excluded? confused

Twix43 Tue 11-Oct-11 22:46:00

Goodnesme you seem to not take into account that a school in Central Twickenham would eventually free up places in schools such as Orleans, Teddington and Waldegrave, all attended by Twickenham based children. Maybe still too far to affect you personally but certainly would help a number of areas affected by a shortage of places.

Kewcumber Tue 11-Oct-11 22:57:37

I'm totally confused by your arguments godness me. though I am easily confused.

Like you, our nearest secondary school is RPA so no-one has more of a vested interest in improving standards there than me. I am totally baffles why you think that campaigning for all new schools tobe inclusive is mutually exclusive with trying to improve standards in existing secondary schools.

The RISC is specifically about making new schools inclusive - it is a single issue campaign. It does not mean that those of us who support this aim do not have feeling about other education issues and are not supportive of them as well. My brain can cope with more than one thing at a time confused

I am personally anti-govt funded faith schools (or at least new ones) I see no rationale for any tax-payer funding the specific religious schooling of any child although I do accept that in theory as we have no separation of church and state in this country that there is at least some argument for church of england schools. Otherwise - nope sorry I don't see it.

However if there were not a shortage of secondary places in richmond, then I certianly wouldn't be bothered to be campaigning personally - it would irrritate me but I would shrug and chose other battles.

Provision for the shortage in secondary places the councils current proposal is

a) increase uptake at those schools which are undersubscribed (my best hope)
b) increase intake at a religious school (Christs)
c) build a new religious school (catholic)

Do you not think thats a bit unfair on the majority of children?

Do you have a view on the fact that the catholic church do not arragne their schooling by borough but by diocese and there sufficient secondary places in the two diocese to cover all the catholic childrne (by their own admission)?

Isn't in fact your position driven by the self interest you accuse others of? A new school at the Clifden site is not going to benefit your child and therefore you really don't care about it.

goodnessme Tue 11-Oct-11 23:42:24

Kewcumber I had to grin at your typo - I'm not godness me!

I can list the things that I am doing to try and help RPA if you like - raising money through the PTA, supporting a small local literacy/homework group.

Given that the increased demand on Catholic secondaries outside of the borough will impact on those families having to remain in-borough and so using local schools, I don't think that you can argue that it will only be an inclusive school that will take off some of the pressure.

At present, the bottom line is that everyone could get a place in a local school, just not necessarily a good school. I want a good school not only for my child, but for a huge number of children who live on the outskirts of our borough and so rely heavily on the success of the acadamy schools.
I just don't necessarily think that this can only be achieved by focusing all our energy on a campaign to discredit the need for a Catholic secondary.

Kewcumber Tue 11-Oct-11 23:50:19

I'm not focussing all my energies on it. Not even close. I'm also not trying to discredit anything except that there is a need for a catholic secondary. There is a want for one.

Many many catholics very happy to get a place at christs and wouldn;t/don't go further for a specific catholic education becasue they are happy with the alternative. Speaks volumes that the requirement is really for a good school not a catholic one. Although the cactholics would deny it publically - I know it to be the case for many catholic parents privately. Because I mix with catholics shock, still see no need for a catholic school - none at all. Otehr than "we want one"

(but yes typo very funny)

gmsin Wed 12-Oct-11 06:39:40

goodness me - thanks a lot for your good work on RPA. I would encourage you to work with the RPA community board in driving the 2012 admissions . Its critical to encourage the entire community including catholics to embrace RPA. RPA will benefit is we can encourage the community uptake and help them reach their target 125-140 in 2012 ( was 96 and 2011). This will need support now in 2011 from all the local primaries including the Catholic primaries St Edmunds and St Mary Magdalene. RPA will welcome whole heartedly all those who go to these Catholic primaries and do want wish to travel 2 miles to 1) Sacred Heart or 2) London Oratory both Roman Catholic State funded in Hammersmith and Fulham borough or 3) Christ's School, a Mixed Church of England comprehensive school in Richmond, where Catholic students get priority.

Mir4 Wed 12-Oct-11 11:23:37

Thank you Goodnessme for making so many valid points about why the 'Richmond Inclusive schools campaign' is not so 'inclusive'. Politely can i remind people what 'inclusion' actaully is. It is about including in soceity and respecting the rights of everyone, enabling everyone to practise their faith and beliefs. At present this campaign is for the 'benefit' of one group only those in central twickenham it is not going to impact across the borough and is highly unlikely to provide places for those outside of twickenham (which already has 2 such good schools). However a Catholic school would benefit children over the whole borough in 2 ways 1)it would enable some of the 200 children of tax paying families who have to go out of borough to have a school place within the borough in their community 2) as a substantial amount of money (several milllion) will be put into this project by the Catholic church (which these parents also contribute to through their church donations) more money can be realeased into the rest of the borough to help further improve other secondary schools .

Bay Jay your wording implies that majority of Catholics support your campaign. Over 2 thousand people on the 'Catholic schools for richmond' would beg to differ . Those Catholics who simply want excellent schools are already in your community schools, those 200 or more families every year who are going out of the borough are doing so because they do not meet our needs and being in 'the top school' is not our priority where being in a Catholic school is. This has absolutely nothing to do with not wanting our children to go to the exsiting academies for the majority of us. I whole heartedly support using our taxes to support the improvement of other state local schools as we are part of a community. I feel strongly that people are forgetting that in this debate and it is becoming more about getting more for those that have rather than providing something for those that have not. If you consider please that 200 families a year going out of borough and you multiply this by 7 years of secondary school there would be well ovr a thousand displaced children from this borough. 1 in approx 7 children in this borough is a catholic and not even 1 in 8 secondary schools meets those childrens needs which has to be wrong as we are all paying our taxes and paying for the education of your children too. All Catholics are asking is a school for teaching their children peacefully within the community to live alongside their peers of different faiths. There are more than enough children to fill that school across the borough and it would proivide continuity of education for those moving on from our 6 Catholic primary schools (1 in 8 primary schools in Richmond after all is a Catholic school)

At the end of the day all of us aim to chose a school that reflects our values, culture, hopes and desires for our children. Some parents chose Orleans for its technology, or twick academy for its sports, some people refuse to consider schools that they think culturally do not relect their home life why is it then that Catholics are expected to be differnt and ar being told they have no right to a schools to meet their needs? All the majority of practising Catholics want is a school that reflect our beliefs, supports our values, is centred on God and helps our children to grow into good young men and women who will be great additions to their community and to the world. Like you we just want to give our children the best chance possible too and this has nothing to do with wanting the best top performing, school in the borough we just want a school.

Bay Jay I have noticed on another site that your children attend a Voluntary aided Cof E school . Am i to believe tha despite benefiting from this education yourself that your are advocating the system to be scrapped for other childrne in the borough?

I would also like to ask the question , how is it possible that Catholics should not feel that this campaign is anti Catholic when I believe Jermey Rodell was also involved heavily in the campaign to prevent the Pope from visiting our borough? Does Mr.Rodell have children of primary school age that the policies he is advocating will help? I am asking this politely as I struggle to understand what his motivation here is and would like to understand it better. I respect the Mr.Rodell for his right to practice his beliefs as a Humanist but I do not feel that the respect goes two ways in allowing Catholics and therby surely also at some point Anglicans, Muslims, Sikhs , Hindhus and all those of other faiths in the borough to practise and live their beliefs alongside his own .

Yes we need to improve the boroughs schools for everyone! In the last council meeting when Jeremy put forward his objections we were informed that the borough intends to spend far more on improving the existing schools than they intend to put into the new Catholic school as the church were also going to contribute significant funds to the school. I live close to Twick acadmey and can already see the massive amount of improvements taking place there. In understand that at the present time many of the school places there are taken up by children out of borough which would indicate that LBRUT children are not chosing it rather than there is a shortage of school places for Richmond children. So yes we need to do all we can as a community to support the borough in their work, however this does not need to mean that we continue to exclude over 200 Catholic children a year (from tax paying families) by not providing places for them to study and grow within their own borough

Please do go onto the councils website and watch the live debate which was recorded and is available to watch to see the argumants from both sides

BayJay Wed 12-Oct-11 11:51:41

Mir4, that's a lot to answer in the time I have right now, so I'll come back to it a bit later. However, just picking up on a few of your points:

- Firstly, I get the impression you have partly read this thread and partly read the other thread, but have joined the debate late and not followed it from the start. That's fine, but I would urge anyone in that position to please read through all the posts (I realise there's a lot). That could save a lot of repetition, as many of these issues have been covered before.

- Regarding my own children being at a CofE VA school I suggest you look at the arguments I have made extensively in both threads for faith schools being inclusive, in line with the position of the Accord Coalition. Personally I would have no problem with a Catholic school that had an inclusive admissions policy (I went to one myself!) and have yet to see a substantial defence of the Catholic Education Service's policies on that. The council has not considered the option of a Faith Academy, and I think that option should be discussed seriously with the Diocese of Westminster. An inclusive Catholic school would satisfy the wording of both petitions, and many (but not all) of the supporters on both sides.

- I certainly haven't suggested that the majority of Catholics support RISC (and if you flag where you've picked that up from I'll be happy to look at it to see why you may have got that impression). I know several local Catholic families, and some of them are supporting RISC. Some of them are also supporting the Catholic petition.

LittleMrsMuppet Wed 12-Oct-11 13:29:37

Mir4
"Bay Jay your wording implies that majority of Catholics support your campaign. Over 2 thousand people on the 'Catholic schools for richmond' would beg to differ"
I'm pretty sure that BayJay has never implied such a thing, she has simply stated that RISC includes a number of Catholics, alongside people of other faiths and none. I'm wondering why you feel the need to throw unsubstantiated slurs at someone in order to make your case?
And further to that, you are not able either to construe that over 2 thousand people signing the "Catholic Schools(sic) for Richmond" petition means that the majority of local Catholics are actually in favour of it. I've actually got no idea what result a poll would give, as I know many Catholics who fall on both sides of the argument.

Mir4 Wed 12-Oct-11 13:46:07

Bay Jay once again you are making assumptions about the wider community and specifically the Catholic community. How can an 'inclusive' school satisfy both sides when it still exludes the majority??? Only half of the Catholic children will get places as only half the spaces would be available to them that are needed and the majority of non catholic children are excluded as they live outside of Twickenham? This sounds like a very 'exclusive' not 'inclusive' campaign to me and one that will not benefit at all the majority of tax paying parents on both sides of the debate.

BayJay Wed 12-Oct-11 14:07:02

Mir4, we have different definitions of inclusivity. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that.

I'm out at DS2's swimming lesson at the mo but will reply to some of your earlier points when I get back home in an hour or so.

Kewcumber Wed 12-Oct-11 15:42:23

I find anyone trying to claim that a school restricted to one particular minority religion is inclusive is bizarre in the extreme.

You do not need a catholic schol to be a practising catholic. You are not prevented from practicing your religion by going to a non-catholic school.

My son was born Muslim, how far are you going to take your version of inclusivity? Is he prevented from being a muslim because there are no muslim schools in Richmond borough confused

Religious education is a nice to have not a need to have.

When the council have succesfully sorted the seconary places for all childrne in the borough of any religion I would have no problem with spending whatever money they have left in assessing whether they can accomodate particular religious wishes in education. To prioritise it is just wrong.

BayJay Wed 12-Oct-11 15:58:45

Right, Mir4, I'm back, so here goes:

First some background. I started this thread (and the other) because I think its important that people know what's going on with regard to their local schools. I'm not sure if RISC existed at that time, but the council's Education White Paper had just been published and I was aware that it contained lots of significant proposals. I'm the sort of person who reads the local newspaper and the council website, and tries to research the facts behind issues so that I can judge things objectively. Where possible I like to point people to those same sources of information so that they can make their own judgement. Sometimes they will come to the same conclusions as me, and sometimes they won't, but so long as they have taken the time to look at the facts, then that's fine with me. I have come to the conclusion that I support RISC. Others support them for different reasons to me, and others don't support them at all.

Note that while I support RISC, I don't speak for them, and I'm not on their organising committee.

I suggest you contact RISC directly if you want to know more about Jeremy Rodell. You are making claims about him that I personally don't agree with, but other people can make up their own minds. Here are some facts:

- This is his LinkedIn profile.

- He is chairman of the South West London Humanist Group.

- As part of that group he took part in the local Protest the Pope demonstration, which claims to be against the pope's state visit, rather than against the pope himself. Perhaps you could contact him to find out his personal views on the Pope, but I recommend that you don't jump to the conclusion that taking part in that demo makes him anti-Catholic, as many groups took part in it for a variety of reasons.

As RISC supporters come from all sections of the community they will not agree on everything. However, they are united on the wording of the RISC petition.

Mudslinging at individuals is a bit too Daily Mail for my tastes so I try not to do it.

BayJay Wed 12-Oct-11 17:05:49

p.s. Another thing I try not to do is rant, so sorry if I did a bit in that last post.

muminlondon Thu 13-Oct-11 00:20:34

Your links have been very informative BayJay - thanks. smile

BayJay Thu 13-Oct-11 12:40:39

I need to make a correction to my last post. I wrongly assumed that because SW London Humanists were listed as supporters of the Protest the Pope campaign that Jeremy Rodell himself was part of the local demo. I should have been more careful blush. I have been asked to post the following clarification:

"Contrary to the post above, Jeremy Rodell was not a member of the Protest the Pope campaign and did not participate in any of its demonstrations. He did speak at a public meeting organised by the campaign, which was attended by many Catholics and others. But his speech was purely about the proposed Catholic school, and not about the Pope's visit. He's also a member of Richmond Inter Faith Forum and a strong believer in mutual understanding and tolerance between those of differeing religions and beliefs - including the non-religious. But he's opposed to members of one belief group being given privileges over others.

RISC is in any case not a humanist campaign. It's supporters include fair-minded Catholics , Anglicans and many others. Its aim is simply to ensure that no new school in the borough, whether it's run by the church or anyone else, is allowed to refuse a place to a child simply because of the religion or beliefs of their parents. It's a basic issue of fairness."

I suggest any more discussion re individual supporters or organisers of the campaign is directed to them directly, rather than via Mumsnet, so that they can be in a position to answer their critics directly.

Tahdah Thu 13-Oct-11 13:16:51

Hi Mir4,

Thanks for your comments. Do you have any more details about the funds the Catholic church are putting into the new school? It would be intersting to know how much and when?

Mir4 Thu 13-Oct-11 20:50:09

Bay Jay I am just trying to understand this situation and what is motivating this campaign, making it clear for everyone reading (including myself) I have to say though I am confused that somebody stating they are not on the the RISC campaign group committee and do not speak for them can produce a statement such as this that appears to come directly from the campaign committee . If this is not the case then please state who is 'asking' you to post this statement so that there can be no confusion.

To be honest whereas I am very pleased to hear that Mr.Rodell was not part of the Papal campaign I still have not been convinced of his personal reasons for starting the current campaign for any other reason than a humanist agenda which according to the SW Humanist website seeks "An end to the proliferation of maintained faith schools"ie surely an end to the schools that both of our children go to.

However this aside and taking into consideration the statement made by your group I still think there are some serious questions to be answered here :-
1)how is this petition for the good of the borough? .
A non Catholic school or an academy with 50/50 admissions would mean that only those living on the doorstep of the school would benefit (ie Twick town centre).This would still leave a large number of Catholic children (children of tax payers) displaced out of borough. A VA Catholic school would ensure representation from all the communities from across the borough and allows all children the right to be schooled in their home borough.

2)How does a school like this actually benefit the children of local communities (outside of Twickenham) such as those living in Whitton, Barnes, Kew, Richmond, Mortlake, parts of St.Margarets, East sheen, North Sheen who on distance would not gain access to this school etc?

3)If there is no percieved benefit for children outside of Twickenham how can it be beneficial to turn other communities against each other by campaigning across the borough for a scheme which only benefits Twickenham children ? Twickenham children who already have 2 of the best borough schools on their doorstep ie Orleans and Waldegrave

4)How would it actually affect funding of improvements at schools across the borough if the contributions from the church (several million)are taken out of the equation and the borough has to find extra money out of its tight budget? Surely this is going to have a detrimental affect on the continued improvement of our academies which are the local schools for so many of our communities.

5)How can a lack of capacity be an issue for our community schools and a reason for not having a Catholic school to offer continuity in education to over 200 Catholic children? Infact 25% of the overall available spaces are taken up by out of borough students. This is particularly apparent in the 3 academies and Greycourt. Greycourt school had a wacking 52% of places offered to out of borough students this year, Richmond park academy 42% out of borough places, Twickenham academy 31% and Hampton academy 23% . Infact across the borough 415 places out of 1626 places across the borough were offered to out of borough students, so capacity is there. The real issue seems to be for quality not quantity and providing yet another community school in an area so close to Orleans is surely only going to take funds away from the academies. An extra 7 million will have to be found by taxpayers to benefit a very small area of the population who will have access to this school, not the 90% of the children in the rest of the Richmond borough.

As parents we all want the best for our children here and I am still to be convinced that the 'Richmond Inclusive school campaign' is actually as inclusive as its name implies here.

hester Thu 13-Oct-11 20:56:13

This is Alice in Wonderland logic. I'm retiring from this thread to lay a wet towel over my forehead.

BayJay Thu 13-Oct-11 21:09:53

Mir 4, thanks for telling us your views. We have very different perspectives on this and I don't want to be drawn into qualitative arguments such as "how is RISC good for the borough?". People will need to form their own judgement on that.

I do think it would be helpful if you're going to quote statistics and make claims about finance to provide links to your sources (preferably primary sources, rather than secondary sources). If you scroll to the bottom of the page where you post your message it tells you how to embed a link so it needn't be obtrusive.

BayJay Thu 13-Oct-11 21:17:05

Here's something people might be interested in looking at. The RISC website now has copies of the applications made by the Archdiocese of Westminster to the Secretary of State Michael Gove, under section 10 of the Education Act, for permission to create a Voluntary Aided Secondary School and Primary School on the Clifden site.

priviet Thu 13-Oct-11 21:23:36

I have been reading and following this thread with interest over the last few days and have been trying to look at all the information and facts of this current situation. i must say that Goodnessme and Mir4 have made some completely valid points, with regards to the 8 local secondary schools, only one of which is a faith school. The facts are that these schools are under-subscribed by in-borough children by a substantial amount. Therefore, these schools are having to fill up their places with out of borough children. Also, three of the schools are not up to capacity!
If Richmond council put into these schools the millions of pounds of tax payers money they would not be having to put into the Clifden Rd school (which would be put in by the church), then surely, this would help raise standards in ALL schools, which would help ALL children of Richmond Borough. Whereas, if the Clifden Rd school became another community school, then the council would not be able to help to improve existing schools, but only provided a school for children who live locally to the Twickenham site only!!
So as Mir4 says, this school would not benefit the 90% of Richmond children, as the RISC states!!
There would still be the problem of the 220+ Catholic children, who will have to travel out of borough everyday of their school lives, whereas, no Richmond Borough parent of children who go to community schools, ever have to see their children travel out of borough! (unless they choose to go private)
Sorry, but i agree with Goodnessme and Mir4 - its almost a no brainer - improve and raise the standards of our schools we have, why leave them to stay the same? Capacity is there!

LittleMrsMuppet Thu 13-Oct-11 21:37:11

I'm just bemused at the insinuation that we should refuse children entry to our lovely Richmond schools (that just so happen to be on Borough boundaries) because of their audacity to not live in RUT...

But I suppose that's the premise of the whole Catholic Secondary School campaign. This bizarre idea that a school can't be local if it isn't in the same Borough. It's as if we Catholics have suddenly concluded that our community identity is defined by arbitrary Borough boundaries rather than by parish and diocese.

LittleMrsMuppet Thu 13-Oct-11 21:40:43

Priviet - do you have any more information on the "millions of pounds" that the church is going to be saving Richmond Council?

priviet Thu 13-Oct-11 21:45:59

LittleMrsMuppet....NO-ONE is insinuating that we should refuse out of borough children a place at a RUT school, but surely aren't the RISC campaign talking completely about Richmond borough children?? and that they feel there is no capacity for our children?

Mir4 Thu 13-Oct-11 21:49:36

thanks for your post bay jay yes we will have to agree to differ on this one. However I do think it is extremly important that the points I have raised are answered by those advocating the 'Richmond inclusive schools campaign' as they are very valid points.

You have also I noticed not answered my question about who has asked you to post statements on this site? Please clarify this as I think it is really important to avoid miss interpretiation.

Little Miss Muffet I'm afraid you miss my point entirely! No prob with having out of borough students but def a prob with the insinuation that our schools are bursting to the extent that a new school must be made available for central Twickenham students only as opposed to Catholic students from right across the borough.Clearly capacity is very much there but the places are not being taken up by residents hence going to a big proportion of out of borough children which indicates a dissatisfaction with the schools rather than a lack of capacity

BayJay Thu 13-Oct-11 21:50:41

Mir4 and Priviet, your quantitative argument re secondary school places is the one being used by the council too. However, they have not yet published the calculations behind the logic, so we don't yet know if they're robust. We also don't know if they have missed out key factors, such as increased popularity of the academies from out-of-borough families as they improve. Lets hope they do that soon.

For many people, no matter how robust the quantitative argument, it still wouldn't outweigh the basic principle of not discriminating against people on grounds of religion.

The financial argument is also a strong one, but again it won't sway people who see this as a fairness issue.

LittleMrsMuppet Thu 13-Oct-11 21:54:30

Priviet - please can I refer you to point 5 in Mir4's post?

The premise of the RISC campaign is that although there is currently capacity for Richmond children, there potentially won't be in a few years' time. Capacity cannot automatically be claimed from "out of borough" children, since many of those "out of borough" children will actually live closer to the school in question than those "in borough" who need places.

BayJay Thu 13-Oct-11 21:59:06

Mir4 you asked: "You have also I noticed not answered my question about who has asked you to post statements on this site? Please clarify this as I think it is really important to avoid miss interpretiation."

The answer is that I contacted Jeremy Rodell myself to ask him to check what I had posted about him. I thought that was the courteous thing to do. Perhaps if you want to know any more about him you could contact him yourself too.

LittleMrsMuppet Thu 13-Oct-11 22:16:52

BayJay - interesting document from the Council that you linked to. Clearly you are closely liaising with God himself, as it is not due to be written until four days' from now wink.

Of more interest to me was that the council has concluded that the increase in the primary population won't translate to an increase in the secondary population.

I quote "it may take time for the positive changes at the
three academies to translate into oversubscription in secondary
schools. For that reason, it is unlikely that the increased demand in the
primary sector will lead to additional secondary school places being
required until beyond 2016 at the earliest, if at all."

Effectively, what they are saying is that although the primary school population has gone up, they don't anticipate that the secondary population will. Where are all these children going to be heading to then? Presumably the council expects them to either move house or to go private. Why is that seen as acceptable? And more significantly, why are children of parents who follow this course of action seen as a lower priority to those children sent to Catholic schools over the Borough boundaries?

Mir4 Thu 13-Oct-11 22:21:17

Bay Jay you are stll not answering my question?

Surely too the councils logic is based on the facts that they actaully have in their hands. Do you have facts that contradict theirs?

It is missleading for the RISC campaign to state in their leaflets (in the very first bullet point) "Rising pupil numbes mean Richmond needs more secondary schools" if these facts are not 'robust' as you would suggest

You mention religious discrimination however is it not then discriminating against our Catholic children to continue the current situation where they are having to go out of borough. This is the group identified by the borough who are under represented in our secondary schools so how therefore is it innapropriate that given there is adequate provision for non catholic children these children cannot be allocated an appropriate catholic school to meet to meet these needs.

Surely this campaign therefore is stirring up religious intolerance in our communities throughout the borough under the premise that catholics are taking places away from the rest of the community?

priviet Thu 13-Oct-11 22:21:22

LittleMrsMuppet ...maybe we are interpreting point 5 differently? i am reading it that it shows there is an obvious under-subscription to our community schools and especially the academies. With the £7 million pound the council will be saving, they can improve these schools dramatically and therefore, as demand rises, the places will be there for all Richmond children, not just children from a small catchment area in Twickenham for one school!

BayJay Thu 13-Oct-11 22:26:06

LittleMrsMuppet smile, the doc is part of the agenda for Monday's Education & Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting. The agendas are always published a week before the meeting.

BayJay Thu 13-Oct-11 22:30:01

Mir4, when you say "Bay Jay you are stll not answering my question?" I don't know which question you mean. Sorry, there's a lot of cross posting going on.

LittleMrsMuppet Thu 13-Oct-11 22:51:17

BayJay the application for setting up a new primary school is interesting. In particular point "6". It makes me think of the phrase "lies, damned lies and statistics". Surely these figures are utterly meaningless in London where applicants can put up to 6 choices? How do they know that many of these applicants didn't have the school down as a grudging choice number 6 on the thinking that at least it was local? And I know that at least one of the schools on that list has had some problems filling its roll in recent years.

BayJay Thu 13-Oct-11 22:56:54

LittleMrsMuppet, yes I agree they're interesting, and they contain several things I don't agree with, but I'm not sure its worth going into all that here. People will have to read them and make their own mind up. Of course, the only person who's opinion really matters is Michael Gove, so it'll be interesting to see what his response is.

Right, I'm off to bed now. Night night everyone!

Kewcumber Thu 13-Oct-11 23:14:11

"This is Alice in Wonderland logic. I'm retiring from this thread to lay a wet towel over my forehead."

I'm with Hester - particularly the claim that the council spending (presumably as they haven't released the figures yet) tens of million of pounds on a catholic secondary school to accomodate children who would normally attend a catholic secondary out of the borough (but generally within 5 miles and in many cases closer than the proposed Catholic school) saves the council millions.

Its the kind of saving I make when I buy a handbag I don't need in the sales. Saving me a fortune. Its what we in the accountancy world call a cost. Its a technical term which I don;t have time to get into now, too busy lookng for a damp flannel.

gmsin Fri 14-Oct-11 06:18:39

BayJay - thanks for posting the link to the Council's scrutiny meeting and I am surprised by their statement on secondary school place. Is there any bottom up detailed calculation to support this or is it just a shift in their position to justify a story that has been changed since they published the school strategy paper in Dec 2010 and were till the purchase of the Clifden Road site in July stating ...the need for a community school. There is a detailed bottom up predection on secondary school places done by Cllr Eady twickenhamlibdems.co.uk/en/article/2011/524386/secondary-school-places-hodgins-dodges-the-questions-again
As per his estimates by 2016 we will be 169 places short, if we assume just moderate improvement in our secondary schools.
True a lot of investment and efforts have been put into the academies for the benefit for the entire community including Catholics - all of them follow an inclusive admissions policy. They are doing a great job in getting better and if we are serious about helping them succeed, we need to support their drive to increasing the 2012 admissions. A school needs a good intake from everyone in the local community to get better. It is critical to encourage the entire community to embrace our academies. Having "Divide and Rule" or discriminatory standards simply creates division in the community that we must avoid.

BayJay Fri 14-Oct-11 07:15:13

gmsin - Thanks for the link. I'll take a look at it later. In answer to your question, no numbers have been published to back up the qualitative statements in the report. In any case the numbers will change significantly if the Linked School Policy is removed.

Kewcumber - I love the handbag analogy smile. I would only extend it to say that in this case the handbag has been bought and can't be taken back to the shop. I would also perhaps liken it more to an expensive mobile phone with a 100+ year contract, and no option to upgrade the phone if your needs change in the future. If the Cathoic Church do put £7 million into this (and that figure has not been verified) then they will be purchasing complete control of the Admissions System in perpetuity.

LittleMrsMuppet Fri 14-Oct-11 07:41:10

Do you know something, BayJay? I don't think they will get complete control of the Admissions System in perpetuity. For the foreseeable future, perhaps, but times change.

I don't honestly believe that this is a debate that our children will still be having.

BayJay Fri 14-Oct-11 09:10:57

LittleMrsMuppet, I hope you're right. Certainly if these amendments to the Education Bill are passed then this whole argument could simply dissolve. However, given the make-up of the House of Lords, I'm not holding my breath. I wonder which way our own Lord True will be voting! smile.

LittleMrsMuppet Fri 14-Oct-11 10:07:47

BayJay, I can't honestly see that amendment being passed at this present time. However, it's all about small steps. The Church of England is gradually moving to more inclusive admission at its schools; that will also put on further pressure for change. Even the Diocese of Westminster is already slowly moving its position forwards, evidenced by its push to update the selection policies at Cardinal Vaughan.

And, ultimately, I truly believe that the Church that I was brought up in and belong to will do the right thing in the end.

BayJay Fri 14-Oct-11 10:18:29

LittleMrsMuppet, that sounds good to me. Again, let's hope you're right.

Just for info: here is a link to today's Richmond & Twickenham Times which again has lots of letters on this issue (from pg 29).

If anyone knows Mr A. Gnostic of Whitton then perhaps they could point him towards Mumsnet so that he could read up about the admissions policies of Voluntary Aided schools smile. Apart from his obvious lack of knowledge on that I agree with the rest of what he has to say, i.e. that an inclusive Catholic School could be a good solution to this. If only the Catholic Church could be convinced of that we could all get on with our lives!

Mir4 Fri 14-Oct-11 14:29:47

So lets get this straight ,at the end of the day it is fine for the rest of the borough to buy Twickenham children another very exclusive handbag paid for with the taxes of the Catholic families (who can go else where despite paying towards the lovely handbag)and from the parents of the rest of the boroughs children (non of whom will get to use the lovely bag either)?HMMMN! I have yet to be convinced that this is really good for the rest of the borough. No one still seems able to offer a constructive answer to any of my questions, for example:- How is this handbag good for the children in Whitton, Barnes, Richmond, Sheen, etc etc? when it is highly unlikely any of their communities children will benefit in securing a place at it. Worse still it is may well impact on the continues improvement of their local schools as extra money is going to have to be found? Whereas a Catholic school will have children from every local community in our borough and free up funds.

Catholics do not have "priority at all 8 Catholic secondaries" claimed to be "within 5 miles of Richmond" as is suggested in your flyer "Threat to childrens schooling in Richmond'. How could that be remotely possible when they are forced to compete for places out of borough and naturally the children of the schools borough have "priority". To make it even more difficult many schools also have links with other boroughs too .

As somebody so rightly pointed out Cardinal Vaughan has changed its admissions policy recently which has meant that children which historically went there from some of our Richmond Catholic schools can no longer get a place there unless they have a sibling. Infact I have seen children struggle to get places in a catholic school in an adjacent borough only a mile away! Being a catholic child does not give you instant access to a fantastic choice of 8 schools at all and you are hugely blessed if you can get into one.

gmsin Fri 14-Oct-11 16:10:51

Mir4 - I respect your views and would like to humbly make 3 points.

1) Catholic Voluntary Aided schools must always “give priority to Catholic families." There’s no distance limitation, so the proposed school will fill completely with children of Catholics from Richmond and surplus places will be filled with children from other boroughs. If this goes ahead, the 90% of Non-Catholics will have to fight for places at one of the existing community schools, or take up places at one of the three academies with surplus places or go private. If we want the academies to attract more local children, surely we should encourage everyone, including Catholics, to embrace them. Having different standards for Catholics and other community members simply creates division.
2) As a RPA community board member, my view is that a school needs a good intake from everyone in the local community to get better. It is critical to encourage the entire community including catholics to embrace RPA. RPA will benefit if we all help them reach their target 125-140 admissions in 2012 ( it was 96 in 2011). This will need support now in 2011 from all the local primaries near RPA including the Catholic primaries St Osmunds and St Mary Magdalen's - it will require only 5-10 more pupils per school to select RPA to ensure its meets its targets. RPA will welcome whole heartedly all those who go to these Catholic primaries and do want wish to travel 2 miles to 1) Sacred Heart or 2) London Oratory both Roman Catholic State funded in Hammersmith and Fulham borough or 3) Christ's School, a Mixed Church of England comprehensive school in Richmond, where Catholic students get priority. It also offers a shorter commute for people at the North end of the Borough, compared to the potential commute to Clifden Road.
3) Why cant we have better non discriminatory solution that is a "win a win" for everybody - a Catholic school could be among the inclusive schools. Inevitably it would attract Catholic parents, but that would be fully in line with the ethos of "Choice & Diversity" in education. Giving top priority to a new VA school that 90% of the population will be unable to "choose" makes a mockery of choice and diversity for all except a small minority.

muminlondon Sat 15-Oct-11 00:02:42

Mir4 your point about how pupils on the other side of the river will benefit.

The link policy is about to be abolished. If not with this consultation then in a few years when Grey Court, Orleans and Teddington become academies. This means that more Richmond pupils, and those Twickenham pupils not at the current link schools with Orleans, will apply to Twickenham schools and get in on proximity. Schools near Kew (e.g. Darrell) might find it harder to get into Grey Court unless places are vacated by Vineyard and Marshgate pupils having easier access to Grey Court.

Meanwhile, Grey Court will become increasingly popular but will continue to take in Kingston pupils on proximity. The law prohibits Richmond council from reserving places for Richmond children.

Meanwhile the 11 bulge classes currently filtering through the system, many in Twickenham, will need to be catered for - that's 330 children.

Meanwhile recession will drag on and the academies on the edge of the borough will become popular. So the 35-40% who go private will look to the state schools. There are 2000 primary school kids and 1500 secondary places. So that could be another 200-500 children.

We will need another inclusive school especially in Twickenham. Not to have a choice but to have the chance of a place. Then after the majority have been catered for there could be a catholic school, but at presents there are enough places in the diocese.

muminlondon Sat 15-Oct-11 00:09:32

As the council is not planning a community school or new academy, if the only new school is not inclusive - like Christ's - it is not catering to the needs of the majority of local children.

ChrisSquire Sat 15-Oct-11 12:18:02

MuminLondon sums up the situation well, I think. Here is a well informed forecast of the effect of scrapping linked schools: Abolishing the ?linked schools? system: who gains? who loses? A forecast for Orleans Park

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 13:22:28

Thanks for posting that again Chris. As it caused a few ruffled feathers last time can you confirm that a) the report has been produced by Malcolm Easy (Lib Dem education spokesperson) and b) that it isn't intended to imply that the Lib Dems are taking a position on whether the system should be dropped or not?

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 13:25:04

That should read Malcolm Eady, not Easy. Predictive texting, bah!

muminlondon Sat 15-Oct-11 13:59:55

I certainly think the link school policy should be dropped - it discriminates against pupils in Richmond and Kew schools without a link. That's probably as much a legacy of Grey Court's dip in popularity in the early noughties as well as the building of two new primaries. But now Grey Court is popular again - if it had restricted entry to 200 pupils this year, very few would have got in on distance putting it out of reach of Richmond parents (while Kingston primaries benefit from the links). I want to find the data but I believe more 'Surrey' pupils go private than 'Middlesex' ones simply because they currently have less choice.

Another point - you can check how many schools of an RC (or CE) denomination are within a 5 mile radius on the Government's website. From where Orleans Park is there are 8 catholic schools within that radius. St Osumund's has 13, St Elizabeth's 9, etc. But it's true that within 3 miles that choice narrows to about 2 if you take each RC primary. Still about the same choice as for CE pupils.

My feeling is that the RC secondary application is based on out of date evidence. It's true that 200 pupils go out of the borough. But the situation is changing very rapidly. The RISC petition has gained as many signatures as the Catholic school petition. My beef is with the council for not listening to all the arguments and for lack of long-term planning.

ChrisSquire Sat 15-Oct-11 14:11:58

No - it was NOT written by Cllr Eady, who only writes in his own name and as education spokesperson. ‘A concerned resident’ is someone else who is well-informed as well as concerned. The Lib Dem Group (of cllrs) have not debated this issue and, I think, have agreed only that the policy should be reviewed - as is happening.

As MuminLondon has pointed out, if/when all the secondary schools become academies (as the council intends they will) they will decide, not the council, how to select 50 % of their intake and the balance will be selected by distance.

I think you are confusing this article dated Oct 10 with this one dated Oct 07, which was indeed , as it clearly states, written by Cllr Eady as spokesperson:

‘Secondary school places: Hodgins dodges the questions - AGAIN
• [Oct 07] Cllr Malcom Eady* writes: CLLR Hodgins** recent (30th September) letter to the RTT again failed to answer parents' basic concerns about the future provision of secondary school places in the borough . . '
* Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson
** Council cabinet member for education‘

It was sent to the RTT for publication but they haven’t used it yet.

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 14:14:16

I agree with you muminlondon. I'm also curious as to how the Linked School Consultation is going to be evaluated. How will they weight strength-of-numbers against strength-of-argument? For example, if 500 people say "the system should stay because I benefit", and 100 say "the system should go because it is unfair on several counts", then which way will the consultation swing?

The same question could be applied to any other type of consultation. I'm off to look at the council website to see if they have any guidance on that.

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 14:23:44

ChrisSquire, thanks for clarifying that. For info, it was your post at [Tue 11-Oct-11 10:21:30] that ruffled feathers, so I think it was the same doc. However, I think the problem was that it was misinterpreted as advocating that the links should stay.

Of course, if the links go it will have adverse consequences for some schools. My own children's school is linked to Orleans Park, and I know there are a lot of connections between the two schools (especially in their languages curriculum). However, I don't think that outweighs the basic fairness issue, so I certainly will be advocating a change when the consultation starts.

muminlondon Sat 15-Oct-11 15:15:16

Good that academies would need to reserve at least 50% of places on proximity. But does that mean they could retain links for the other 50%? Or convert to faith academies? Or select on ability in music/maths/languages? Or have a two-box catchment area like Waldegrave?

I was surprised to see Tiffin boys school is a CE converter academy - I thought it was a non-denomination grammar. Tiffin Girls isn't CE but maybe the two schools aren't linked any more.

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 16:06:24

ChrisSquire, what is your reference for "when all the secondary schools become academies ... they will decide ... how to select 50 % of their intake and the balance will be selected by distance"?

According to these guidelines schools that convert to academy status can keep their existing admission policies.

Brand new faith academies (i.e. ones that don't replace existing schools) have to have 50% open admissions.

ChrisSquire Sat 15-Oct-11 17:40:56

BayJay: thanks for the double clarification. I had indeed forgotten my Tuesday post.
I do not know what the author Concerned Resident’s personal opinion is as they did not express it in the email sending me the article. It asserts that scrapping links would: reduce the social mix; shrink the catchment area; harm local school collaboration & co-operation; and make St Stephen’s less attractive. These are 4 strong points in favour of keeping OS’s links.
As regards admission policy of academies - I stand corrected! This means that in a few years time families will have to contend with a mixture of admissions policies as each amends or scraps its linked school policy independently.
I looked the other day for anything re the consultation and found nothing.

gmsin Sat 15-Oct-11 18:10:01

Two new COE faith schools with fully inclusive admissions in London.

1) North Ealing COE Secondary Academy opening in Sep 2013 with provision for 6th form http://schools.london.anglican.org/119/north-ealing-church-of-england-academy-necea
2) A primary school St Luke COE in Camden opened this year http://www.stlukesschool.org.uk/parents.html

This proves that admissions policy of faith schools can be based on community inlcusion and distance. It is fully in line with governments policy for future faith schools to be delivered through academies with the community getting share of admissions.

Why cant we have better non discriminatory solution that is a "win a win" for everybody - a Catholic school could be among the inclusive schools. Inevitably it would attract Catholic parents, but that would be fully in line with the ethos of "Choice & Diversity" in education. Giving top priority to a new VA school that 90% of the population will be unable to "choose" makes a mockery of choice and diversity for all except a small minority and causing the current division in our community.

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 18:45:34

Muminlondon, in answer to your question about the admission policies of converter academies, they need to follow the current admission code, as do other schools. The only difference is that they are their own admissions authority, so are independent of the council (like existing VA schools).

Selection by ability isn't allowed (only existing grammar schools that convert can do that). They can select on 'aptitude' but as that is more difficult to measure I don't think its very common. Geographically defined catchment areas are allowed (but not using borough boundaries). Linked schools are allowed so long as the mechanism for determining links can be justified).

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 18:54:38

Muminlondon, in answer to your question about the admission policies of converter academies, they need to follow the current admission code, as do other schools. The only difference is that they are their own admissions authority, so are independent of the council (like existing VA schools).

Selection by ability isn't allowed (only existing grammar schools that convert can do that). They can select on 'aptitude' but as that is more difficult to measure I don't think its very common. Geographically defined catchment areas are allowed (but not using borough boundaries). Linked schools are allowed so long as the mechanism for determining links can be justified).

Kora Sat 15-Oct-11 19:27:11

Not that I know much about them, but the Richmond Free school proposal wanted to serve the whole Richmond borough albeit based in Twickenham. richmondfreeschool.org.uk/index.php/the-site. They got turned down by DfE partly because of "not enough evidence of demand for school places in Richmond", even though they used the council's own forecasts: richmondfreeschool.org.uk/index.php/school-places-in-richmond. Not sure if that group will apply again, seems the free school idea is losing momentum generally...

I'm finding the whole secondary thing more and more baffling as time goes on. The council's policy seems horribly fragmented and inconsistent, part of the cause seems that they (and the DfE) are panicking about budgets behind the scenes and that's why they want the injection of capital from the church rather than going it alone for a new inclusive school. Does anyone know if the faith academy idea is being taken seriously?

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 19:52:05

I'm assuming the reason the Government thought there wasn't enough evidence of demand was because there was so much spare capacity at the Academies. I'm also assuming that is why the council dropped its plan for a community secondary (because they concluded that they wouldn't get any money for that either). The timing seems to fit.

I haven't seen a proposed admissions policy for the Richmond Free School, but you're right that they did say that they would bus children in from around the borough. The only justification that I can imagine for that is that children of Free School Applicants may in future be allowed to have priority admissions. The implication is that if you help to set the school up then your child will get priority.

gmsin Sat 15-Oct-11 20:06:02

How does the £ 7m that is being quoted as the church's contribution compare to the overall market value of Clifden road deal With all the taxpayers money LBRUT is putting to buy the 4 acre prime acre site at Clifden Road are they really making a financially prudent decision ??? ? Is it not a fantastic deal for the Church if the Clifden road site is leased to them at a peppercon rate for a period of 125 years !!!

h2ohno Sat 15-Oct-11 20:55:59

Seems to me that this is a pointless debate. Alot of the "facts" being spat out are simply untrue. This massive selection of Catholic schools in other boroughs you seem to think Richmond Catholics have is hilarious. In our primary school (Catholic) hardly any of the boys were able to get a place at a Catholic secondary, despite being practising Catholics with regular mass attendance. Girls at the moment are slightly luckier but even that was down to extra classes being taken on at Gumley. St Marks, Richard Challoner or the Oratory may be within 5 miles but admission to these schools is near impossible from many parts of our borough.

As for the fairness argument how can a school in Twickenham be fair for taxpayers in Barnes/East Sheen etc? At least a Catholic school would accept children from across the whole borough. With 6 Catholic primaries the school would not have troubles filling in its places.

I realise in the future a new secondary will be needed to support the increasing population BUT at the moment there are undersubscribed secondary schools in the borough. Until these vacancies are filled spending money on building a new secondary, is a waste of our taxes.

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 21:07:59

Welcome back h2ohno. The underprovision for boys is something that is felt by the community as a whole, mainly due to Waldegrave. I think it would be reasonable to consider a boys' school. I don't think it would be reasonable to solve the perceived problem for Cathoilc children and not for anybody else. That's my opinion. I know others disagree.

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 21:12:06

Also h2ohno, would you agree that the Catholic community could play its part in helping to fill up the Academies too?

h2ohno Sat 15-Oct-11 21:24:35

Thank-you BayJay. Although i respect all the work and research you have currently showed on this thread, i simply do not see a need for money to be spent on a new secondary school when places still exist for Richmond children at 3 academies. Catholic children still have no local choice.

I thought the council did recognise the need for more secondary places, but not for a few years? Creating a Catholic secondary addresses an immediate need. Whether you agree with faith schools, the reality is that there are 6 Catholic primaries in the borough. It seems only right that these children have a Catholic secondary to follow on to. Christs may favour Christians but short of living super near the Queens Road you would never get in.

I acknowledge that for non Catholics this debate seems "Alice in Wonderland" like, but for those of us with a strong faith it is a very personal and sensitive matter.

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 21:34:12

Re Christs, I have heard anecdotally that the foundation category of the admissions system is routinely undersubscribed. (If anyone has data to verify that then please post a link).

h2ohno Sat 15-Oct-11 21:41:55

Wouldn't help us Catholics anyway as its initial preference is for those worshipping at Church of England churches.

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 21:50:13

Yes, but its next preference is for a wider category of Christians which includes Catholics. If the foundation places are undersubdcribrd (anecdotal) then any practising Catholic who applies should get in, no matter where they live.

h2ohno Sat 15-Oct-11 21:53:27

This was definitely not the case a few years ago. I knew of Catholics near Richmond Park (SW14 bit) who did not get in. Maybe it has recently changed?

BayJay Sat 15-Oct-11 21:59:48

Like I said, I heard it anecdotally. I don't think that sort of data is published, but a phonecall to the admissions secretary could probably confirm it either way.

LittleMrsMuppet Sat 15-Oct-11 22:11:48

Why is it a pointless debate? Sorry, but I know that I'll fight unfair admission policies to the bitter end. As much as anything it's because I believe they are undermining the work of the Church.

Obviously there isn't a massive choice of Catholic schools for all children across the Borough. There are certainly significant "catchment" holes. But it has been that way for a very long time. For example, nearly ten years a large enough number of children from Sacred Heart went to Teddington that a link was formed. And if you go much further back than that, you'll be back into the much unmissed St Edward the Confessor territory.

It's also worth remembering that there's a realistic Catholic choice for those on the west side of the Borough, in St Paul's College, Sunbury. Perhaps the Catholics here should embrace this much improving school (after it was deemed unsatisfactory by Ofsted five years ago) in the same way as they expect everyone else to embrace the Academies. There are excellent transport links to it for a start.

I really wish Richmond Catholics would admit that their desire for a new school school has far more to do with getting a good quality education than anything else. The reason people here are debating it is because this desire is identical for everyone, whatever their religious beliefs.

LittleMrsMuppet Sat 15-Oct-11 22:13:50

Sorry that should read ten years ago

h2ohno Sat 15-Oct-11 22:40:03

Pointless in the aspect that for several of those in the RISC campaign do not understand the spiritual need for a Catholic school. This side of the argument is frequently mocked or downplayed.

If it was simply about getting a good quality education then surely Waldegrave or Teddington School would be good enough for several of us in the Strawberry Hill/Teddington/Twickenham side of the borough?

LittleMrsMuppet Sat 15-Oct-11 22:52:13

But you haven't answered why St Paul's isn't good enough for those of you where a spiritual need is foremost.

Besides, Waldegrave won't help if you have a boy. Teddington won't help if you live further into Twickenham with its rapidly shrinking catchment. Surely you accept that although the spiritual need for a Catholic school might be foremost for "several" of you, it probably wouldn't be for a significant number? And if there were sufficient high quality community places available, maybe that would free up space at Gumley, St Mark's, Gunnersbury etc for those who absolutely must have a Catholic education for their children.

h2ohno Sat 15-Oct-11 23:09:08

Who said St Pauls wouldnt be acceptable? Their priest Father Ray, is a brilliant and inspirational man. I have no doubt that the pastoral care received there is of a high calibre. However transport to the school is not as easy as you think. Why should children have to catch 2/3 forms of transport just to get to school in the morning? Why can't we as Richmond tax payers not have a right to a Catholic secondary in our borough?

Out of curiosity, why is there such a strong campaign for creating a new school in Twickenham when Twickenham Academy is not oversubscribed? Why not put this energy into improving these so called undesirable schools?

LittleMrsMuppet Sat 15-Oct-11 23:38:25

Perhaps you should look more seriously at it. It's a 13 minute direct train from Teddington! (Or 9 mins from Fulwell/Hampton Hill). St Paul's is right next to Sunbury station.

Obviously this particular link entirely depends on living near a station, but most of the Teddington/Hampton Hill area is reasonably walkable or a very short bus journey from one. And further into Hampton it's potentially directly bus'able. In fact, it could be as easy to get to for half the kids that hope to go to this new school school as the new school itself will be.

Tbh, I'm not sure there'd be any big campaign for a new school in Twickenham if it wasn't that this Clifden site has already been purchased. Twickenham Academy isn't oversubscribed at present, but that's because of nervousness about its quality. It isn't because there aren't enough children that could (should?) go to it. Hopefully that will change, but if it does, it could very rapidly go from undersubscribed to over. There are more than enough children to do this. If it does, I wonder how easy it will be to find another site in the area?

Kewcumber Sat 15-Oct-11 23:57:22

"Why can't we as Richmond tax payers not have a right to a Catholic secondary in our borough?"

There is no right to a religious education outside of that provided by the national curriculum.

Just thought I'd restate that fact in case anyone was in any doubt.

All children have a right to a decent education. There is no other right that any group has as far as I am aware.

Please do correct me if I'm wrong.

ChrisSquire Sun 16-Oct-11 02:02:14

h2ohno: Kewcumber is correct. For myself, I don’t mind paying taxes to educate the rising the generation but my hackles rise when I am asked to pay for their ’special spiritual needs’.

This is tosh. Let them attend a secular school open to all for their education and go to Sunday School for their spiritual needs as Protestants do. This what happens in France, a country with a large at least nominally Catholic population, and the United States, a much more religious country than England with a substantial Catholic population (I haven’t looked up the numbers but would guess it is a larger % than England’s).

I don’t think you realise just how offensive Catholic special pleading is to the non-Catholic majority. We live in a secular age in a mainly secular, historically Protestant, country with a large minority population who are culturally non- or anti-Christian. RCs cannot expect special treatment from the taxpayer.

BayJay Sun 16-Oct-11 06:36:25

This is emotive stuff, which really gets to the nuts and bolts of the issue, so lets all try to stay calm and respectful. I'd like to post a few facts, to try and help both sides understand the other's perspective.

Canon Law 793 states that:

"Catholic parents have ... the duty and the right to choose those means and institutes which, in their local circumstances, can best promote the catholic education of their children. §2 Parents have moreover the right to avail themselves of that assistance from civil society which they need to provide a catholic education for their children."

However, this is not English Law, so does not directly equate to a right to a Catholic School.

The First Protocol, Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998, Part 2, states that:

"No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and teaching, the state shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions."

However Amnesty International UK, in Amnesty (September - October 2000), reportedly stated:

"This article guarantees people the right to access to existing educational institutions; it does not require the government to establish or fund a particular type of education. The requirement to respect parents' convictions is intended to prevent indoctrination by the state. However schools can teach about religion and philosophy if they do so in an objective, critical, and pluralistic manner."

I say "reportedly stated" because I can't find a link to the original source to verify it, but it is widely quoted on the internet.

Nevertheless there is a strong tradition of Faith Schools in this country, for historical reasons. While people still want them, they are likely to continue (and the current and previous government have encouraged them). In my view that's acceptable, so long as they are recognised as a privelege rather than a right. People also need to recognise that in difficult economic times, priveleges are in short supply, and will cause controversy if they are handed out without consultation with the wider community.

BayJay Sun 16-Oct-11 08:41:34

I just wanted to add something. While Amnesty's interpretation of the Human Rights Act may not have been tested in the courts (yet) it would seem reasonable. The opposite interpretation would imply governments had a duty to provide schools of every denomination, for everyone who wanted them, whether or not they could be afforded.

h2ohno Sun 16-Oct-11 09:09:35

ChrisSquire - Its responses like yours that put Catholics off attempting to enter these debates. Mocking our beliefs is offensive and small minded. Sadly however not unique!

The fact of the matter is that our borough provides funding for six Catholic primaries and if the opportunity arises for our council to provide a continuation of this schooling they should.

Spaces exist for children in 3 academies across the borough. Why spend money creating spaces when spaces already exist?

BayJay- Interesting research there. Nice to know some people can argue the other side without having to enter into playground retorts.

BayJay Sun 16-Oct-11 09:35:13

H2ohno, I think that the solution to this row will come down to numbers in the end. You are right that there is space in the Academies at the moment, but they will soon fill up. Unfortunately the council have not published their projected figures for secondary school places, and keep changing the story. They need to publish a full forecast so that it can be properly scrutinised ahead of any decisions on new schools.

LittleMrsMuppet Sun 16-Oct-11 16:09:58

Whilst I can accept that Chris Squire used a mocking tone that was perhaps unhelpful, I can't see how you can assert he was mocking your Catholic beliefs. He was challenging the assertion that a conveniently located Catholic school was a "right" and a necessity to ensure a Catholic child's "special spiritual needs". As I have already pointed out, parents in your part of the Borough do already have realistic Catholic options even if they'd rather not use one of them. I simply don't buy into the argument that St Paul's is too complicated to get too.

On the subject of numbers, I have done a quick tally of the numbers in Richmond church primary (or junior) schools.
RC = 270
CofE = 600
As you can see, there are more than twice as many children in Church of England primaries as RC ones. Those 600 children get to fight over a paltry 70 foundation places at Christ's if they want their spiritual needs supported at Secondary school. Also, as far as I'm aware there are aren't out of borough Church of England options either. (Although I'm prepared to stand corrected if anyone knows if there are some!)

muminlondon Sun 16-Oct-11 17:42:54

LittleMissMuffet I've looked at the comparison between CE and RC schools too. When I checked out the DfE Compare Schools website it didn't look like there was much choice (or even less choice than for RCs). But there are a couple of differences: (a) the CE primaries are often more inclusive so it's possible that only 50% applied on faith grounds and (b) no one is clamouring for a new CE school (although I lost track of what happened to the proposal for the North Kingston one).

I don't blame Catholics for wanting what it appears the council is offering them - it's like a carrot being dangled in front of them. But the government and council MUST give some very convincing and objective evidence why it should be a VA school rather than a faith academy.

My criticism is of the council for the lack of consultation, transparency or respect for alternative views.

muminlondon Sun 16-Oct-11 17:44:57

LittleMrsMuppet I mean!

Kewcumber Sun 16-Oct-11 19:33:32

I'm a bit confused about what exactly ChrisSquires said that mocked cathoics. He thinks your arguments for special consideration are "tosh".

Like muminlondon I am horrified by the council readiness to go ahead with this without proper consultation and horrifed by the catholic chruches readiness to approach a new school with an exclusive admissions policy.

I have been to both CofE and catholic schools and neither discriminated against anyone. The religious element was in the philosophy of the school, and the curiculum of the RE. Anyone who wanted that approach, regardless of their religion were welcomed.

Allowing any new school to become a VA school when the councils stated policy is for all secondaries to convert to academies smells to high heaven and reflects badly both on teh councillors who have been party to it and the ethos of the catholic church that thinks this is the way forward for catholic education.

LittleMrsMuppet Sun 16-Oct-11 20:05:12

muminlondon - I entirely agree that a good number of attendees of CofE schools won't be practicing Christians as their admissions policies are more open. But I still imagine that enough of them come from families that would choose a church school for secondary if one was on offer.

The CofE bid for the North Kingston school was unsuccessful, btw. I'm not sure of the exact details, but the result was that a competing bid for a secular school was considered more desirable for the community.

Unfortunately, I fear that the idea of a Catholic academy is a non starter as then the Diocese of Westminster probably won't throw in a bean. And without any extra cash, Richmond council is back to the drawing board.

BayJay Sun 16-Oct-11 20:59:53

LittleMrsMuppet, here are the details of the rejected CofE school bid in North Kingston. In that case there was a competition between two providers, and the schools adjudicator made the decision in favour of a community school. In any case, they have now had funding for the new school rejected.

richst Sun 16-Oct-11 21:20:33

saw this debate on secondary school places . pls check this http://twickenhamlibdems.co.uk/en/article/2011/524386/secondary-school-places-hodgins-dodges-the-questions-again

BayJay Sun 16-Oct-11 21:46:32

Thanks richst.

The doc gives Lib Dem Education Spokesman Cllr Eady's forecast for secondary school places over the next 5 years. In summary he concludes that there will be a shortfall of 169 secondary school places by 2016, and that the Clifden site will be needed to accomodate those.

The Conservatives have so far not published any detailed forecasts for comparison.

muminlondon Sun 16-Oct-11 22:00:09

Thanks for those Kingston links. Kingston obviously has the same pressure on places as Richmond.

But what of the application for an RC primary on the same Clifden site? That was a sneaky move and no mention in any press release (anyone?). With 11 (12?) bulge classes taking up space in portakabins all around the borough and school halls crammed to the gills, what sort of game are they playing here?

ChrisSquire Mon 17-Oct-11 01:46:35

Bayjay: you write: ‘ . . Nevertheless there is a strong tradition of Faith Schools in this country, for historical reasons . .’

How much do you know about this? The present uneasy balance between community and faith schools arises from a series of compromises between the CofE and the State, motivated in large part by the long struggle of the Nonconformists to free themselves from taxation [via tithes] to pay for a church and cleric they despised and a school they didn’t wish their children to attend by agreeing instead to be taxed to pay for secular schools. My party [now the Lib Dems], strongly rooted in the Nonconformists but now mainly atheistic retains the tradition of anti-clericalism; the CofE has historically been seen as the Tory Party at prayer but the Tories now claim to include everybody. The Catholics have mostly been on the side lines but have achieved equal status with the CofE.

In the present secular age no-one can remember what these past quarrels were about but they do remember what side their family is/were on. As long as the status quo is unaltered we all get along quite happily but a proposal that we should pay taxes so as to be able to give the last remaining site in the borough for a new school to the one group who intend to exclude everyone else is bound to upset everyone else, as it as done.

A Google search on: "Human Rights Act 1998" site:amnesty.org education religion pluralistic confirms that this quote is not to be found on the Amnesty website and that they haven’t digitised that issue of their magazine.

BayJay Mon 17-Oct-11 05:39:32

Thanks for the historical perspective ChrisSquire. I know there's a lot of baggage that goes with this whole issue, but I think that is something that is best kept out of the current debate, other than to see it as a reason to respect other people's strongly held opinions. If everyone bunkers down in their 'camps' we won't get anywhere. Overcoming historical grievances is a gradual process, and everyone needs to tread carefully.

BayJay Mon 17-Oct-11 09:40:15

Muminlondon, re your question "But what of the application for an RC primary on the same Clifden site?" it was actually mentioned in the original Council press release about the Clifden Rd purchase. However, it wasn't clear at that time whether that was also intended to be a VA school, and it got a bit forgotten amongst the debate over the secondary school.

Reception places in central Twickenham are at a premium at the moment, and anyone who doesn't go to church struggles to find a place. I personally know of 2 families in central Twickenham who weren't originally offered any Reception place at all. After a long wait, one of them was offered a place in Kew, and I never heard whether the other family eventually got an offer. However, both families ultimately went private (they were lucky to be able to afford to do that, but would rather have had a state place). It is that sort of frustration that is driving support for the RISC in the Twickenham area. Even those who do go to church often don't feel comfortable about whether they're doing it for the 'right' reasons, and resent having to queue up to sign registers to prove their attendance frequency. However, that topic was covered quite extensively in the other thread recently so I won't repeat it all here.

muminlondon Mon 17-Oct-11 17:00:03

Bayjay, I read that press release and understood that there would be a community primary school. Some schools have had to take extra pupils on top of the bulge classes they are already taking.

ChrisSquire Mon 17-Oct-11 17:45:08

A press release from Cllr Stephen Knight: [Oct 14] Richmond’s Liberal Democrats have called an extraordinary council meeting to press for consultation with parents before the council takes a decision on a new catholic secondary school on the Clifden Road site in Twickenham. The resolution to be debated at the meeting will be:

“This council resolves to consult all parents of children at the borough’s maintained primary schools about the type of school places to be provided on the Clifden Road site, with options to include a new community school or a new Roman Catholic School. In the light of the results of this consultation, the Cabinet should recommend to full council the type of school to be provided on the site.”

Cllr Stephen Knight, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Richmond Council, said: “The Council has yet to take any formal decision as to what type of school places should be provided on the newly acquired Clifden Road site in Twickenham. However the Leader of the Council has apparently - without authorisation, consultation or scrutiny - already offered a 125 year lease of the site, for a peppercorn rent, to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has already formally applied to the Secretary of State for permission to establish a new catholic school on the site.

Local taxpayers have contributed a very large sum to the purchase of this site and deserve a say over its future use. Before this proposal goes any further, there needs to be full and open consultation with parents and the public, followed by a transparent and open decision making process to determine what type of school should be provided. Our resolution aims to force the council to follow a proper process.”

Should be a lively meeting!

richst Mon 17-Oct-11 19:43:47

Thank you Chris - what is the composition of the extraordinary council meeting and when will it be held.

ChrisSquire Tue 18-Oct-11 10:11:07

All councillors; dated not yet fixed.

BayJay Tue 18-Oct-11 13:13:31

For info, here is a link to the Lib Dem's Press Release referred to above. The resolution that will be debated is:

"This council resolves to consult all parents of children at the borough's maintained primary schools about the type of school places to be provided on the Clifden Road site, with options to include a new community school or a new Roman Catholic School. In the light of the results of this consultation, the Cabinet should recommend to full council the type of school to be provided on the site."

richst Tue 18-Oct-11 13:46:06

BayJay I have just noticed this on Twitter Press release:Surprising turn of events in a heated meeting - Richmond Council denies offering site 4 Catholic church http://www.richmondinclusiveschools.org.uk/files/?folder_id=6143985

richst Tue 18-Oct-11 13:47:05

Sorry did not convert the links but here is the text of the press release

RICHMOND COUNCIL DENIES OFFERING SITE FOR CATHOLIC SCHOOL

The controversy in the London Borough of Richmond about the plan for a new Catholic secondary school took a surprising turn last night when the Council denied that any decision had been taken to offer the proposed site to the Catholic church.
The Catholic Diocese of Westminster has recently made an application to the Secretary of State for Education for consent to publish proposals for both a secondary and a primary school on the site. The application says that “The Council approached the Diocese of Westminster with the offer of the school site”. But senior Council representatives said they were not answerable for statements made by the Diocese.
The denial was given in a heated meeting of the Council’s Education Scrutiny Committee on 17 Oct, in response to a legally-based challenge from Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign spokesman, Jeremy Rodell, that the Council had acted unconstitutionally. He said they should not have made the offer to the church without first taking an official decision to select that option rather than follow the normal process for a new school, which is to hold a competition. And a major decision like that would require consultation giving all the available options. None of that had happened.
Nick Whitfield, the Director of Education, explained that the Council’s contract to buy the site depended on a number of conditions that the current owners, Richmond Adult and Community College, needed to meet before the purchase could be completed. And these were outside the Council’s control. He and Councillor Hodgins claimed that no decision on what to do with the site could therefore be made, so no offer had been made to the church.
The Committee agreed to minute the fact that there was disagreement between its members on whether or not a key decision had actually been taken.

sfxmum Tue 18-Oct-11 15:53:03

watching with interest what follows

ChrisSquire Wed 19-Oct-11 11:09:49

This is a press release from RISC. It is true and surprising that not only has there been no decision by Council or its Cabinet to offer the site, there has been no discussion within the Conservative Group of councillors either. The Liberal Democrat councillors decide their policies by debating and voting on them at Group meetings but the Conservative simply wait to be told by their leaders what to support. So their private opinions on the matter are unknown.

This means that the forthcoming extraordinary council meeting will be the first chance Tory councillors have had to debate the pros and cons of giving the site to the Catholics.The backbench cllrs for T Riverside (Susan Chappell and Scott Naylor) and South T (David Marlow and David Porter) will be expected to speak and declare their positions. One can imagine they would much prefer to remain inert and invisible, as they have been up to now. Residents of these wards should contact these cllrs before the meeting and pester them to say where they stand on this matter.

Gigondas Wed 19-Oct-11 18:52:02

I did email David marlow- will cut and paste his response but implied to me that this was a done deal and he supported it (first part of statement is debatable given they are discussing it).

Gigondas Wed 19-Oct-11 21:02:08

Can't copy on phone but Marlowe response was both parties have supported idea in principle as there are a number of catholic primaries and no secondary in borough ad also Richmond is only London borough without a catholic secondary. Counsellors head and porter didnt reply .

muminlondon Wed 19-Oct-11 22:59:28

No mention of the Catholic primary application then? No consultation (even from 7 years ago) or previous announcement of this at all.

richst Thu 20-Oct-11 03:32:51

Shocking to see the latest press release from Cllr Eady - Lib Dems www.richmondinclusiveschools.org.uk/files/index?folder_id=6143985-
Cabinet member tries to cover up breach of procedure on catholic school plan
“Cllr Hodgins’ denial that the Council has offered the Clifden Road site to the Catholic Church lacks any credibility when you consider firstly that he announced at the last council meeting (13th September) that such an offer had been made and secondly that the Archdiocese’s formal application to the Department for Education sets out both that an offer has been made by the Council and its terms (125 year lease at peppercorn rent).
“Cllr Hodgins is clearly trying to cover up the fact that the Conservative administration has bypassed the lawful democratic procedures of the Council and offered the Clifden Road site to the Catholic Church without any legal authority to do so. At no stage has a decision to offer the site to the Catholic Church been taken to a Council committee or open to public consultation. We have therefore asked the Chief Executive of the Council to investigate this apparent serious breach of procedure.”

ChrisSquire Thu 20-Oct-11 11:07:17

Special meeting of Richmond Council, Tuesday, 1 November 2011 7 pm, to debate the motion: “THIS council resolves to consult all parents of children at the borough’s maintained primary schools about the type of school places to be provided on the Clifden Road site, with options to include a new community school or a new Roman Catholic School. In the light of the results of this consultation, the Cabinet should recommend to full council the type of school to be provided on the site.”

The agenda will be published 5 clear working days before the meeting

BayJay Thu 20-Oct-11 18:08:34

Here's something interesting. Another new Free School is interested in setting up in Richmond. Looks like it has inclusive admissions, though presumably the ethos wouldn't appeal to everyone.

BayJay Fri 21-Oct-11 09:33:12

There's lots of coverage on the Catholic School issue in this week's Richmond and Twickenham Times. There's an article on Page 2 about the "decision" row, and more letters on page 29.

BayJay Fri 21-Oct-11 11:11:02

Plus, on page 13 of the same edition, there's also some coverage of the excellent exam results achieved by the academies.

Kora Fri 21-Oct-11 14:07:39

Thanks Bayjay. I think there's some great work being done in the academies - but I'd watch out for the GCSE figures in the article as they don't include english and maths. I think for RPA it goes from 80% to 44% 5 A-C GCSEs if you include those two key subjects. It's early days though and the marks are moving in the right direction. For a good overview of how academies are faring, and the improvements being made, this article was quite good.

BayJay Fri 21-Oct-11 16:29:09

Kora, thanks for picking me up on that. Here is a link to the full Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 (GCSE) results for all borough schools.

Also, here is the council's headline assessment of them. However, note that these results are provisional, and a more detailed report will be produced in the Spring.

ChrisSquire Fri 21-Oct-11 17:07:25

BoroughPix

The Richmond Maharishi School doesn’t say anything about a site, actual or possible, for their school but they do have a DfE Press release describing the Maharishi School, Lancashire and details of their Admission and Oversubscription Policies:

‘ . . Where applications for admission exceed the number of places available, selection will be made by the School Management Committee who will apply the following criteria in the order set out below, to decide which children to admit:
a) Children in public care.
b) Pupils from the existing Maharishi School, providing continuity of education.
c) Where the applicant is considered a sibling of a child currently enrolled at the School (sibling, half-sibling, adopted sibling or foster sibling, whether or not their main address is the same).
d) Pupils transferring from another school that is approved and supported by The International Foundation of Consciousness-based Education.
e) Tie breaker: Where having applied the above criteria, there are still more children than there are places available, 25 % (rounded down) of the final places will be allocated based on proximity of the child’s address to the School’s address. The measurement used will be a straight line distance from the pupil’s home to the school with those living nearest to the school being given priority. The remaining 75 % of places (rounded up) will be allocated by a random draw . . ‘

richst Fri 21-Oct-11 21:06:55

LBC Radio 97.3 covers Faith schools and Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign. Awesome interview and very well articulated points Hear the podcast on http://lbc.audioagain.

BayJay Sat 22-Oct-11 08:10:11

Thanks richst, though I imagine whether people think it is 'awesome' will depend on which side of the debate they are on. For anyone interested in listening to the LBC podcast, follow this link. You need to navigate to the 'Latest' tab and then find the podcast titled 'Should we follow Wales and their smacking rules'. The item on faith schools starts about 40 minutes in. You will need to register and pay a £4 subscription to download it, but can cancel the monthly repeat of the subscription straight away.

For those who don't want to download it, I can give a summary. The presenter has strong views about Faith schools herself because she felt her own choices for schooling her children were limited because of them. The item starts with an interview with Lord True (according to my husband, who heard it live, that was longer and more detailed originally, but has been cut down to a snippet for the podcast). Next there is an interview with someobody from the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (the interview referred to by richst in the post above). After that there is a phone-in with various people from around London expressing their own views on Faith Schools (mostly negative). However, the scope is very general and apart from the initial interview I didn't hear anyone talk specifically about the Richmond debate.

riverview Sat 22-Oct-11 13:24:21

What did Lord True say. Does anyone know?

BayJay Sat 22-Oct-11 16:02:43

On the podcast Lord True says "its a matter for the diocese to ... provide high quality places for all children" but it sounds like its been edited in the middle. My dh doesn't remember what he originally said.

riverview Sun 23-Oct-11 07:44:17

Lord True does support the Catholic school . So does his deputy Cllr Samuel who said in RTT this week that the Conservative manifesto was to do everything in their power to ensure that there is a Catholic school in the borough.

ChrisSquire Sun 23-Oct-11 10:29:37

Purchase of Clifden Road site site for the provision of school places (Council minute, July 21):
‘ . . Following the agreement of the recommendations Councillor True spoke to those present about the council's intentions. He said that Cabinet heard and respected the arguments involved and was committed to increasing school places and that this would include the provision of a Catholic Secondary School.

It was true that the Diocese must make representation to the Secretary of State to waive competition on the creation of a Faith School and the council would support them in this process. The aim of the administration was to make good on its commitment to provide a Catholic School and he hoped that the cross party support so far received would continue.’

BayJay Sun 23-Oct-11 15:49:09

Hello riverview. From memory I think the Conservative manifesto (for Richmond Council 2010) said it would "encourage" a Catholic Secondary School rather than "do everything in their power to ensure that there is [one]". The statement was fairly deeply buried in the manifesto. Plus they made a very high profile commitment to consult with people before making major decisions.

I'd like to find a link to the manifesto so that I can verify all of that, but I've spent 30 minutes searching for it without success. Does anyone know where to find it? If so, please post a link.

BayJay Sun 23-Oct-11 16:15:21

Just for info, here is a link to the Government's Guide for People Wishing to Set up a New School Outside a Competition.

These are the guidelines that the Diocese of Westminster are following in submitting their Section 10 Requests to Michael Gove for a new Primary School and Secondary School on the Clifden site.

richst Sun 23-Oct-11 19:05:04
riverview Sun 23-Oct-11 19:14:46

Thanks BayJay and Riverview. Cllr Samuel dont abuse power and lie about Tory manifesto. Say "everything in power to consult 1st, act afterwards". His article is now also online on www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/9320194.Peppercorn_rate_proposal_for_Catholic_school/?

BayJay Sun 23-Oct-11 19:39:53

Thanks for that richst. Here's a direct link to the manifesto to make it even easier. Warning: you may need sunglasses as the colour scheme is loud.

The exact wording used re the Catholic school, in a bullet point in Section 2, is "A Conservative Council will .... work for a Catholic secondary school".

It also says, in the introduction:

"After half a lifetime at the top, our local LibDem bosses have forgotten they are the servants, not the masters, of the public. Too often this Council has made war on residents, lecturing and hectoring them, rather than listening.
You, the people who pay, should be the people who have the say. After nearly a quarter of a century, it is time for a fresh start – to put people first. The next Conservative Council will be a national leader in community involvement. It will set new standards for really listening and involving the public in policy."

ChrisSquire Mon 24-Oct-11 10:54:57

BayJay: the link to "Guide for People '' doesn't work. This works: Guide for People Wishing to Set up a New School Outside a Competition

ChrisSquire Mon 24-Oct-11 11:03:53

The Guide links to 10 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006: Publication of proposals with consent of Secretary of State.

' . . Before publishing any proposals under this section, the . . proposers . . must consult such persons as appear to them to be appropriate . . '

It will be interesting to see, if it goes ahead, whom the Church thinks it appropriate to consult.

muminlondon Mon 24-Oct-11 12:07:00

I might have missed something here but are you saying that, in terms of a statutory consultation, the Catholic Church can just consult its own congregation who will of course all be very positive about a new school, and that's the end of the matter? So when the council says 'Of course there will be a consultation' - that's the kind of consultation to expect?

BayJay Mon 24-Oct-11 13:36:07

Muminlondon. Yes. The only consultation required by this process is the one conducted by the proposer, i.e. the Diocese of Westminster.

BayJay Mon 24-Oct-11 13:39:27

However they do need to consult more widely than their own congregation. The guidelines are laid out in the doc in Chris Squire's last post (I'm out and about at the mo so can't copy them in right now)

riverview Mon 24-Oct-11 13:52:41

It has taken Cllr Samuel less than a year to forget " he is a servant and not the master of the public"

ChrisSquire Mon 24-Oct-11 14:00:40

What the church will have to do is distinct from the council’s duty to act lawfully when deciding what to do with a valuable public asset, which the Clifden Road site will be as soon as its purchase is complete. They cannot just give a peppercorn lease to their chums on a whim.

Cllr Eady (Lib Dem education spokesperson) says ? . . At no stage has a decision to offer the site to the Catholic Church been taken to a Council committee or open to public consultation. We have therefore asked the Chief Executive of the Council to investigate this apparent serious breach of procedure.? (Oct 20).

The Council says no decision has yet been taken (though some Cllrs are implying that it is all settled - see Gigondas Wed 19-Oct-11 18:52:02). I think they will find it hard to avoid at least a pretence of consulting residents - if they do nothing this might be grounds for a judicial review, I think. No doubt RISC are getting advice on this point already.

muminlondon Mon 24-Oct-11 15:18:26

So the DfE just requires a consultation to discover whether there is evidence of demand for this school - and this could be backed up by the numbers going out of the borough to other catholic schools.

But Richmond Council has not even consulted its own education committee or councillors, let alone its taxpayers, on whether this is a good use of public money, and the details so far are very unclear. And it's also rushing this through before any results can be known of the consultation on new converter academies or abolition of the link school policy, even though these changes would affect schools in the local area. The Secretary of State is meant to take these factors into account but there's no mention of it in any of the application documents. Taken in isolation, and seeing that Vince Cable is supportive of the catholic proposal, it doesn't look unreasonable - but it's the lack of joined up thinking and accountability which is so frustrating.

BayJay Mon 24-Oct-11 15:39:59

I emailed LBC re the missing bit of podcast and got the following reply "Apologies for this - it's to do with the fact that bit of audio was recorded, that it got missed off the podcast. I have published just that hour again with it included this time - In Julia (Hartley-Brewer)'s podcast channel. So you should be able to find it there now."

ChrisSquire Mon 24-Oct-11 16:45:22

MuminLondon: Vince Cable’s position is set out in a letter dated August 26 to Michael Gove, published on the RISC website. He favours, as a compromise, a new faith based academy with 50 % faith based admission.

BayJay Mon 24-Oct-11 18:41:11