Local Talk

New Secondary Schools for Richmond 2

(1000 Posts)
BayJay Sun 27-Nov-11 18:21:30

I'm starting this new thread because the other one of the same name has filled up.

LittleMrsMuppet Sun 27-Nov-11 19:14:21

There is less of a risk that the Catholic VA option might fail - it's just a judgement call

Florist - you're right. A Catholic VA school is indeed much more likely to be successful. But it's not because Richmond parents don't want inclusive schools (if it was Teddington, Waldegrave, Orleans and Grey Court wouldn't be oversubscribed). Or even because a Catholic ethos automatically makes a school superior. It's because a selective school is exactly that. Selective.

If the priority is guaranteed success, perhaps another solution could be a new Tiffin-style grammar school?

ChrisSquire Sun 27-Nov-11 19:28:13

1,000 messages! Who would've predicted it? Our thanks are due to our esteemed founder and moderator BayJay for starting this thread on February 23 and then for keeping it going for 9 months with boundless tact and patience and good humour.

Where will matters have got to in another 9 months, in the dog days of August 2012, I wonder?

florist Sun 27-Nov-11 19:41:15

Littlemissmuppet - a new grammar school in Richmond. If it was in fact a Tiffin led school it might actually get off the ground as govt have committed to no new grammars, though is allowing for expansion of existing ones. So a positive suggestion but surely one that does not meet the RISC "inclusive" criteria - we know getting into a grammar school essentially means mindless practice of 11+ papers which favours the middle class measured by FSM which is typicaly 0.5% of school cohorts in GS.
Other point would be I thought RISC wanted a mixed school - Tiffin is girls only.

LittleMrsMuppet Sun 27-Nov-11 19:48:34

florist - my tongue was firmly in my cheek.

You really are quite unaware of our local schools, though, aren't you? I think you'll find that Tiffin's is BOYS only... (There is of course Tiffin Girl's, but that's a another school)

BayJay Sun 27-Nov-11 19:56:26

"If the priority is guaranteed success"
LittleMrsMuppet, its hard to tell on here, but I think you were suggesting that with your tongue firmly in your cheek, weren't you? Florist is right that new grammars aren't allowed under the admissions code (but wrong that Tiffin is a girls school, as they have a boys' school too).

Given the Clifden Road location, and the pent-up demand for good local inclusive secondaries (particularly for boys) its hard to imagine any school failing on the Clifden site. It would have to be seriously badly managed for that to happen!

BayJay Sun 27-Nov-11 20:04:26

Just belatedly posting a link to this week's Richmond and Twickenham Times for those who haven't yet seen it. Article re Vince Cable and Lord True's difference of opinion on page 3. Letters re schools on page 24.

muminlondon Sun 27-Nov-11 20:12:01

Tiffin (boys) is a CofE academy but as a converter it can keep academic selection. What a muddle this policy is - the new academies don't call themselves academies, do they?

LittleMrsMuppet Sun 27-Nov-11 20:12:57

Apologies if I have been unclear. I wasn't advocating a grammar school, simply stating that a selective school is more likely to be successful over a non-selective school. Perhaps the point I was rather ham-fistedly trying to get across was that VA schools are selective; even if the selection is not by an exam.

I'd agree that given the location of the Clifden site, it will have a good catchment. It would as a consequence also be able to attract a good quality head and teachers. As such, it has a very good chance of success.

However, as a general principle I don't think fear of failure should be a valid reason to not support a community school or a faith school with open admissions.

florist Sun 27-Nov-11 20:45:23

Littlemissmuppet thanks for clearing that up; that you don't have a positive suggestion for the site. Your point is the same as many on the 1000 thread: that a VA school is not "inclusive" - pupils chosen on the basis of faith - and you are opposed to that.

Yet in the same breath you say that the Clifden site with a "good" catchment area (Catholic school intake would typically be much wider) would be a success and attract good teachers etc by way of selection by postcode and house prices.

Bayjay, ou have added a new rider to what school you want on the site: that the school is "inclusive" and that it should be "good" - and then it will be successful. That's a bit of an obvious statement.

I can't help thinking that your position (clearly against a Catholic VA school)is not oppossed to an school that cream-skims students on the basis of catchment area - in what way will that be "inclusive".

So with littlemissmuppet withdrawing her grammar school suggestion - freudian slip? - what is the nature of the "good", "inclusive", non faith, not VA, non free school, non academy, school on the site. Or will it just suceed by dint of the rather exclusive catchment area?

Gigondas Sun 27-Nov-11 20:50:26

Florist can you explain how you see a catholic intake school helping demand in the borough which is predicted to rise sharply over next few years? I am confused as even if the under subscribed secondary options reverse , I still think there will be a lack of school places at secondary level at 2015/6?

I have some sympathy to some of your arguments re catholic school but I am afraid that I can't get past the fact that we are heading towards a major issue with secondary places which won't be immediately solved by a catholic school.

muminlondon Sun 27-Nov-11 20:52:45

In that RTT article Lord True is inflexible about a VA Catholic school as opposed to one with inclusive admissions. Yet in another article his cabinet member for schools is willing to entertain the idea of a Maharishi free school which is an extemely niche private school expanding at the expense of the taxpayer. It's a bizarre approach to planning.

LittleMrsMuppet Sun 27-Nov-11 21:00:07

florist - you will draw whatever conclusions you have already chosen to draw.

BayJay Sun 27-Nov-11 21:09:52

florist, again you are at a disadvantage in not being local. The whole of LBRuT is 'a good area'. Twickenham Academy is in a good area too. Unfortunately it was badly managed in the past when it was Whitton School. As I keep saying, it is well on the road to recovery. There are more than enough children to fill both TA and Clifden. They are not choosing TA at the moment because it is a building site, and because they want more evidence of its improvement, but lots of effort is going into it, and its capacity to improve is good, so there is no reason to believe it will not be successful.

florist Sun 27-Nov-11 21:52:55

Gigondas - mine is a pragmatic reasoning. The Catholic VA school has been proposed, refurb funded by the church, it will provide new places attractive to Catholics while not competiting with the undersubscribed academies (allowing them breathing space to improve - if they don't they loose funding if pupils decline further). That's how it helps the demand issue - but actually it seems to me the issue in Richmond as in many areas is on the supply-side: the quality of state education available, and on these grounds I think the Catholic VA option can help here too.

Bayjay - you keep going on about not being local. The Greenwich judgement means I am affected by decisions in Richmond so is everyone outside the borough who might choose to send their children there to school.
I am pleased that the Academies have the capacity to improve - excellent so let;s not rock the boat by putting a non faith, "inclusive" school up against them.

Littlemissmuppet - well, what sort of school do you want on the site, A reasonable question don't you think?

You see it seems clear to me that RISC are not interested in education in Richmond rather they are using it to drive through their national objectives of eliminating faith school per se. Hence their inability to engage with the debate as it is, not as they would wish it to be. It is also clear that not all supporting RISC have such a limited objective but for the life of me I do not understand why people find it so hard to describe the sort of inclusive, school they want.

BayJay Sun 27-Nov-11 22:05:20

"You see it seems clear to me that RISC are not interested..."
florist, you're wrongly assuming that this discussion thread represents RISC. It does not. There are some RISC supporters on here. There are some Catholic school supporters on here. There are some people between the two. The RISC organising committee is a wholly separate entity, so perhaps you should direct your questions there. You're taking an antagonist approach which will only discourage people from engaing in discussion with you, and the fact that you're not local, while not being a problem in itself, means that you are misinformed in some of your arguments.

LittleMrsMuppet Mon 28-Nov-11 10:27:17

Just to back up what BayJay has said - I have absolutely ZERO involvement or connection with RISC and my views are entirely my own.

Lots of people, however, on this thread have come up with suggestions for the sort of school they would be happy with but you choose to ignore them.

What type of school do I personally want? I simply want a school that will provide places for all the children who need one. That's the whole crux of the problem as I see it - there is likely to be a SHORTAGE of places on the Middlesex side of the borough in only a few years. Even at the academies.

What flavour it should have should be the subject of consultation, so what I'd favour is pretty irrelevant. But I can see a good case for a boys' school to balance Waldegrave. If continuity of ethos from primary school is the all-important issue, then the obvious need is for a CofE secondary. (Incidentally, I think any new CofE school should be an academy with open admissions.)

Its interesting that you use the Greenwich judgement to support your interest in this debate. It just goes to highlight that borough boundaries are irrelevant to Catholic school provision.

ChrisSquire Mon 28-Nov-11 11:16:31

BayJay writes: ‘The whole of LBRuT is 'a good area'.’ This is not true. The Lib Dem council identified and gave priority to four areas of relative deprivation: parts of Ham; north Barnes; parts of Hampton; and parts of Heathfield. The tower block of Ham are the most shocking - go and have a look sometime. At one time the bus drivers refused to go there because the kids had taken to stoning the buses.

Outside those areas there a big range of income, housing type and aspiration.

I know the Twickenham constituency better than most residents because for several elections I have taken the lead in putting up garden stakes in support of Vince Cable all over it. This entails journeying ‘across country’ instead of sticking to the main routes. It surprising how one neighbourhood and class of life shades into another, sometimes quite abruptly.

I think that florist is making some valid points. Indeed I think the RC VA bid is just like a grammar school bid: wildly popular amongst those who are confident of getting a place and bitterly resented by those who fear they will be excluded. Grammar school bids are forbidden by law - but more or less bogus selection by ‘aptitude’ is allowed instead. VA RC bids will be forbidden by the Education Bill still before Parliament. This one, if it goes ahead, will be the last.

BayJay Mon 28-Nov-11 12:12:44

"BayJay writes: ‘The whole of LBRuT is 'a good area'.’ This is not true"
I knew someone would pick me up on that smile. I meant on average. It's certainly a lot more prosperous than most other areas of the country, and the prosperity is fairly uniformly spread (despite the pockets of deprivation mentioned by ChrisSquire). There are certainly good quality family houses near to all of the secondary schools, including the Academies, so there is no reason why they can't attract a social mix of students, provided they are well enough managed.

"VA RC bids will be forbidden by the Education Bill"
I don't think that's right Chris. I haven't time to check the details right now (will look later), but its not my understanding from what I've read previously.

seenbutnotheard Mon 28-Nov-11 12:16:28

LittleMrsMuppet - given that Christs School is undersubcribed for it's foundation places, I don't think that there can be an identifiable need for another CofE secondary school.

I think that I have said before that if the council were proposing a boys school I would have to live with that given the single sex girls school available in borough.

The RISC report really does back up the need for a Catholic Secondary School in borough given the rising birth rates in our neighbouring boroughs. It may be neigh-on impossible for Richmond Children to continue their Catholic education.

ChrisSquire Mon 28-Nov-11 12:24:39

BayJay: I may be overstating the case here, I agree; this is how Vince Cable put it last week: ' . . The Government wants to encourage faith school academies with mixed admissions but the new law is not ready yet.'

I too have not got to the bottom of just what the new law will say, which will of course depend on how the Lords amend the Bill and what amendments the Commons then accept.

akhan Mon 28-Nov-11 13:27:19

seenbutnotheard - rising birth rates are a problem for everyone, especially if the Richmond spaces get filled in the next 2-3 years. There will be more demand from both within and outside the borough. So why should we not have a new school that is open to all and addresses everyone's concern. To solve a potential problem for just 1 group of minority does not seem fair.

akhan Mon 28-Nov-11 13:57:53

florist - I do not agree with your pragmatic reasoning - The biggest short-term contribution anyone can make to the development of borough secondary schools is to encourage parents to apply for the academies. The nearby Catholic primaries to the 3 academies could make a real contribution. Instead a new Catholic secondary will make it even easier for Catholic parents to be exempt from the effort to “make all the secondary schools in the borough outstanding”. Understandably, other parents are not happy about that.

Also as requested earlier it would be great if you could check with your council if they will be have places for their students that Richmond council projects will back out of Richmond schools in the next 2-3 years. Maybe you could also check with your council if they can also additionally take on Richmond pupils who will be left without spaces if they cant go to the potential Catholic VA school at Clifden. We would be very interested in your councils official response especially if you are from Hounslow or Kingston!

ChrisSquire Mon 28-Nov-11 14:06:20

Here's the gen:

The Education Act 2011 received Royal Assent on November 15.

‘Clause 37 gives effect to Schedule 11 which makes amendments to Part 2 of EIA 2006 in order to give precedence to proposals for academies where there is a need for a new school . . The changes include a new section 6A . . placing a duty on local authorities to seek proposals for the establishment of an academy where there is a need for a new school in their area . . ‘(Parliament briefing); it simply says: ’37 Establishment of new schools: Schedule 11 (establishment of new schools) has effect.’

SCHEDULE 11: Establishment of new schools:

‘Amendments to Part 2 of EIA 2006:
1Part 2 of EIA 2006 (establishment, discontinuance and alteration of schools) is amended as follows.
2Before section 7 insert—
“6ARequirement to seek proposals for establishment of new Academies
(1) If a local authority in England think a new school needs to be established in their area, they *must seek proposals for the establishment of an Academy.*’

82 Commencement:
‘(1)The following provisions come into force on the day on which this Act is passed— . .
(2) The following provisions come into force at the end of two months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed— . .
(3) The other provisions of this Act come into force on such day as the Secretary of State may by order appoint.’

Clause 37 falls into section 3 ‘Other’. So it is the law of the land but not yet in force; no wonder Gove is dithering and dallying about the request for a VA school.

BayJay Mon 28-Nov-11 16:57:27

"no wonder Gove is dithering and dallying"
It may just be that there is some negotiation going on between him and the Diocese. I keep going back to this old speech. Vince Cable always favoured a voluntary approach to open admissions. Assuming Michael Gove agrees (and I've no idea if he does) then he could still grant the Section 10 request if the Diocese made some concessions on opening up the admissions.

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