Local Talk

New Secondary Schools for Richmond 3

(1000 Posts)
BayJay Wed 02-May-12 19:40:24

Hello and welcome to the Mumsnet thread about Richmond Borough Secondary Schools. The discussion started in February 2011 in two parallel locations here and here.

In November 2011 the most active of those two threads, in Mumsnet Local, reached 1000 messages (the maximum allowed) so we continued the conversation here.

Now its May 2012 and that thread has also filled up, so the conversation will continue here ......

BayJay Fri 04-May-12 18:23:49

Clifden Road consultation results are now published here.

BayJay Fri 04-May-12 21:14:28

Also, Sixth form consultation results published here.

muminlondon Fri 04-May-12 22:45:22

I had posted

Overall it looks like 60% of respondents were parents of primary age children. There were 1943 Catholic school children in Richmond's schools according to the 2011 Dfe data. So 2327 responses [from Catholics] would be a remarkable turnout from Catholics considering women were more likely to respond.

TheMagicFarawayTree had posted

The figures show that there were about the same number of respondents for those under five and over 12 as there were for primary aged parents, it is clearly not just primary parents resonding!

But according to the survey 'the vast majority respondents who were also parents had children who attemded s primary school in the borough (86%)' 2464 out of 3138 parents had primary age children. I make that a more conservative 79% of tbe 77% parents = 61%. They may also have older or younger children?

 So if Catholics follow the overall pattern, out of 2327 respondents 60% with primary age children = 1396. So with 1943 primary school overall that is extremely high. But they are the ones who stand to gain, of course.

It is also possible that a larger proportion of Catholic respondents were non-parents or had grown up children and were from church congregations. But that of course means that an even larger proportion of those against the proposal were parents directly affected because they have primary age children.

A third possibility was duplication of responses.

You forget that not all Catholics in this borough can get their children into Catholic primary schools.
I did not think that it would take long for people to start shouting 'foul play'. Yet another explanation would be that many more Catholic males, than non-catholic males responded to the consultation, or that more Catholic families with older or younger children responded.

Multiple entries were discounted by the survey company.

You are right about one thing though - the Catholic community feel stongly about this and have demonstrated as much.

muminlondon Fri 04-May-12 23:46:31

Obviously the online responses could have been checked according to IP address. I didn't see the paper copy - so I don't know how it could have been possible to distinguish between a duplicated paper response and online response. There certain wasn't a field for post code.

Perhaps it needs to be clear what proportion of paper responses were from which groups.

muminlondon Sat 05-May-12 00:08:16

Sorry, to clarify there might have been a postcode field in the online survey as there must have been an indication of whether in or out of borough. But tbere was no house number/address field.

Heliview Sat 05-May-12 06:55:48

Paper consultation forms had to be specifically requested from the council. The pro-VA school campaign requested large quantities of forms and handed them out at church doors.

RISC missed an opportunity there. If instead of inserting their leaflet in the RTT and handing it out at schools they had handed out copies of the consultation, then they may have got a greater non-Catholic turn out.

As it is, if you adjusted the response to reflect the proportion of Catholics/Non-Catholics in the population, there would be a clear majority who don't want the VA school.

The council said that numbers weren't important though, so will probably ignore that point. In fact its not even acknowledged in the scrutiny report, which I think is shameful.

There was no need for the Catholic community to cheat - which is what you are replying.

I think even Jeremy Rodell would agree that we are a committed and passionate group - It's pretty offensive for you to imply anything other than the response is a fair relection of how motivated each group was to reply.

To be fair I knew that this would happen though. If Risc's responses had been greater then there would have been shouts of "look, nobody wants this school".

The Scrutiny report is not actually making that much of the numbers of responses, it is making far more of the fact that they do not feel that there is a need for a community school in 2013.

implying not replying

BayJay Sat 05-May-12 09:06:10

Hello MagicFarawayTree (good name by the way).

I don't think that Heliview's post was implying cheating. I think you have to accept that people will want to analyse these results very closely to see if the council's conclusions stand up. I'd caution you against too much sensitivity about that sort of examination, as it's par for the course.

I think I said a little while ago that ultimately the results of this sort of consultation come down to the communications strategies of the two groups concerned. There are two strands to that - the ability to reach enough people, and the ability to present your case in a way that wins hearts and minds. I think that the case that RISC have needed to put forward is complex, and they've always been the underdog. However, I'm pleased that the council got an independent company to handle the results, and present them in this format, because it does allow for detailed scrutiny.

BayJay - I agree, sorry I should have made it clear that my response was to muminlondon who I think you would agree was talking about multiple entries - in other words cheating.

It is difficult not to be sensitive though when this is something so close to my heart.

BayJay Sat 05-May-12 10:08:58

I would agree that the 'multiple responses' line of argument isn't a strong one. From an online persepective, both sides could have exploited any available loopholes. There might be a case for examining whether there were appropriate mechanisms in place for weeding out multiple paper responses.

My one 'technical' concern relates to the fact that on the weekend that RISC emailed its supporters to present their own response to the consultation, and to remind them to complete the consultation themselves, the whole system went down for 2 days (and lots of people lost the very detailed responses they'd spent a long time typing, as the failure occurred only when the survey was submitted at the end).

I'm curious as to whether that glitch was a genuine coincidence, or whether the controls put in place by Snap Surveys to prevent multiple responses included shutting the survey down if there was a surge in responses within a short time period. If its the former, then c'est la vie. If its the latter then I think that would be grossly unfair. However, I wouldn't want to start a conspiracy theory about that - a simple question to the council or Snap Surveys should be enough to clarify it.

muminlondon Sat 05-May-12 10:23:02

TheMagicFarawayTree., I suggested three alternatives for the high response rate. There may have been some duplication of entries - impossible to verify since it was anonymised and did not require a unique email address or login - and indeed, this would not have been restricted to one group. So I agree it's not appropriate to accuse anyone of cheating when it is impossible to prove. The numbers merely indicate that those with the most to gain were more likely to respond.

I am happy to accept that church congregations were asked to sign forms and more non-parents (or parents of grown up children) would therefore be represented among Catholic responses. So those against the proposal are therefore even more likely to be parents of primary age children.

Your suggestion that more men responded from the Catholic group is also a feasible one. 60% of respondents were female, so if more Catholic men/fathers had been motivated to respond, it's again likely that those in the 'opposed' group are more likely to be women and/or mothers. Again these would feel the most affected by the proposal and motivated to respond.

Jeev Sat 05-May-12 15:51:38

3 things to highlight based on a quick skim

1) No consideration for delay in kingston school
2) They admit free schools are uncertain and that puts at risk the 150 places they have in their projections . So why not wait to see decision of free schools in summer before deciding on clifden
3) 2012 uptake in academies is expected better than their original projections . So likely they will fill sooner

Plus their case for catholic primary as a priority is very weak . I feel whilst the main focus has been on secondary, the primary proposal is more unfair

Cat2405 Sat 05-May-12 17:06:04

Interesting links, thanks ChrisSquire and BayJay for posting.

Is there any further information - or is anyone able to make an educated guess - about the specialism of the SEN resourced unit that is proposed on the site?

muminlondon Sat 05-May-12 20:01:23

Questions on sixth forms. The scrutiny committee has a lot to look at.

According to the summary of the sixth form consultations there will be two consortia arrangements – Christ’s and Grey Court with Richmond Park Academy; and Orleans Park, Teddington and Waldegrave – each of which would also work with RuTC.    

So :

1. will Hampton and Twickenham academies be operating as their own consortium  (although they are two of the smallest size sixth forms)?

2. Where will the catholic school fit in, if agreed? It proposes 300 pupils. Yet in CES 2011 census data (referred to in the committee docs) on average 34% of pupils from Catholic schools in year 11 stay on for the sixth form. Where will they draw the pupils from? 

3. How will transport to other schools between lessons work within the consortia? RPA, Grey Court and RuTC are very far away from each other.

gmsing Sun 06-May-12 07:17:31

Ther seems to be more new info on SEN provision within the secondary school based on the same admissions policy
"The Council would bear the costs, of the SEN resourced provision (at the proposed secondary school), currently estimated to be £1.2m, inclusive of fees, surveys, ICT and other associated costs. Cabinet is being asked to agree funding for the development of a resourced provision for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) within the proposed secondary school, as part of a planned reorganisation of SEN provision within the borough, subject to a separate statutory proposal process in due course"

gmsing Sun 06-May-12 08:07:32

I am surprised at the Councils justification on free school meals. The point they fail to mention in their report is that Free school meals across all Richmond state secondary’s is 16.2% and 25% in the 3 academies. A Catholic VA secondary could only have 3.8% if it draws from Richmond Catholic primaries and create further unequal opportunities for the people with disadvantaged backgrounds. The number of children from disadvantaged backgrounds is significantly higher in many local primary schools near Clifden Road – (Stanley 10% Heathfield 34%, Nelson 12%, Chase 8%, Trafalgar 9% etc )

muminlondon Sun 06-May-12 16:28:50

The paper argues that a catholic school is better value for money and more preferences were met for 2012 than ever before. But:

1. By 2014 there will be 150 more primary pupils but net reduction of Richmond places by 70. Hampton will be full by then. Where will they go?
2.  Who/where are the disappointed applicants?  Offers from other LAs are included - are Catholics getting their choices but another demographic aren't?
3. No mention of link policy affecting numbers transferring to private sector? 
4. Hounslow PAN increases aren't in schools nearest to Richmond - apart from 18 places at Gumley (where proportion reserved for Richmond Catholics). (Interesting to read that Strodes college had just received £500k grant to accommodate bulge in Richmond 16-18 year olds - similar duplication of resources?)
5. Report focused on Hounslow but ignores Kingston which could still affect Grey Court and Teddington.

Copthallresident Sun 06-May-12 17:10:51

A point made by several residents close to the school was that a school serving Catholic from the whole borough, and beyond, would have a very high proportion of pupils travelling to the school by car, contributing to traffic problems in Central Twickenham, and particularly in roads leading to the school where rat running is already a big problem, and damaging the environment. Pupils would also have less respect for the local community and the local environment, than if it were a local school and pupils lived locally. These points are not picked up anywhere in the survey report. Did anyone else make specific points that were effectively ignored?

ChrisSquire Mon 07-May-12 01:02:08

Copthallresident: The traffic problems the new schools may cause are not relevant to this consultation, which is only about schools policy. The site has been used for education since it was acquired by Middlesex CC c. 1930 for a County Girls’ School [closed when Waldegrave was opened] so no change of use issue arises for the Planning Committee to decide.

Copthallresident Mon 07-May-12 11:57:45

I am very familar with the Planning framework, but this is a point about the nature of the school proposed, the implications of putting a school there that does not have a local catchment, as Twickenham County School for Girls did. I know that the Council will hide behind the rationale that it is a planning issue, which it isn't, but that they have included in the survey reports the comments made by those in favour of the school about it being an ideal location but not our points about why it isn't, says everything about the subjectivity of the report.

Isn't this consultation supposed to be about the views expressed rather than numbers? And yet they have published a good many more of the views of those in favour of the school than those against. Indeed they haven't expressed the specific views of those living local to the school who oppose it at all. There is also the main issue expressed by us that Central Twickenham will become a black hole of local school provision after Twickenham Academy fills, they forecast in 2015, and until a new school is opened, if it is opened, local children will have no choice but to travel to Shene, a far worse journey than experienced by most Catholics now! And yet whilst the view that the nature of the journeys made by Catholics is a reason for opening the school, the view about the nature of journeys which will be made by local Twickenham children is disregarded.

Jeev Mon 07-May-12 13:06:28

Copthall - I agree the cabinet member for schools report is biased and does not show the correct balance of for and against arguments. Unfortunately this feeble attempt to cherry pick arguments to support the councils position , undermines the credebility of the consultation.

Its now the job of the scrutiny committee to seek all the facts and get the right balance to judge the quality of arguments . And also take into account all the risks that the council refuses to acknowledge

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