New Secondary Schools for Richmond 3(1000 Posts)
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 ......
Clifden Road consultation results are now published here.
Also, Sixth form consultation results published here.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
I wondered if it might be similar to the specialist provision at St James's school...
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 Christs and Grey Court with Richmond Park Academy; and Orleans Park, Teddington and Waldegrave each of which would also work with RuTC.
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.
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"
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 secondarys 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 )
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
The Clifden Road site is a good one for a secondary school serving the whole borough: it is close to a railway station linking to every part except Ham; there are 9 bus routes; and there are well signed cycle routes. No doubt the new school will try hard to reduce car use. Does anyone know what the car use rate is for our other secondary schools?
The Catholic primary school would have a local catchment area as there is currently no such school in Central and East Twickenham.
Table 9 has borough averages for 2010.
7.4% pupils go by car/car share to Richmond schools (10.3% is average for London)
50.8% public transport
6.1% go by bike (highest proportion in London).
These statistics are for pupils attending school within Richmond. Car use is similar for pupils travelling to schools in Kensington & Chelsea but lower for Hammersmith & Fulham. But to schools in these boroughs fewer chldren walk and more take public transport.
This are the figures for pupils attending, in the main, local schools. I do not buy the argument that a Catholic Primary and Secondary School on this site is not going to generate more cars in Central Twickenham, and indeed on the boroughs roads in general, than the proposed local Free school would. I think we can assume the Primary section won't be any more successful than St James's in deterring the use of cars, and most of it's pupils are in walking distance, traffic disruption every morning and it's approaches are on much wider/main roads. There is also the matter of the Twickenham station 8.30 and 4pm Richmond College scrum which despite police presence and the sweet teachers from the college advising you to stay away from their students, even as they give them a wide berth, is very intimidating for adults let alone little Year 7s! Presumably the introduction of Sixth Forms in the community schools (although a high proportion do go to Esher anyway) is going to increase the number of students who come in via the station. I would have every sympathy with parents who prefer to take their children to school themselves, than have to cope with that every morning and evening.
These are issues, though not the main issue, which is about the 11 year olds who are going to have to fight the station scrum going the other way to try to get to Richmond Park Academy.
From the Risc Facebook site...
"Consultation results out - Majority favour Catholic schools, but only because majority were Catholics. 67% of the 4200* people who responded to the Councils consultation on the use of the Clifden Road site agreed that the site should be used to establish a five-form entry Catholic Secondary School, with 32% disagreeing. BUT, as you can see from our summary charts, 57% of the respondents said they were Catholics, and 98% of these were in favour (with 47 Catholics on our side). 74% of all the non-Catholic respondents, including the majority of Anglicans, were against. So the consultation tells us that Catholics support Catholic school - no news there then."
So, although they fail to mention it - this means that 26% of the non-Catholic respondents are in favour of a Catholic school on the Clifden Road site!
Can we honestly tell anything very much from the consultation at all? If the council wanted to find out all the arguments pro/against then I'm sure they've already been aired in the press, in meetings and perhaps even here. Analysis of the numbers is inherently flawed as we can only gauge opinions of those who self-selected to respond to an anonymous online survey. Perhaps all we can tell is that there are apparently a very large number of Catholics who want this school. Whether and in what numbers they plan to send children to it, of course, is as unclear as ever.
As an aside, I'm actually quite surprised that the number of non-Catholic respondents in favour was as low a percentage as it was given the very high Catholic turn-out. I can't speak for other parishes and/or other Catholic primaries in the borough - but at my local school more than half of the practising Catholic families actually only have the one baptised Catholic parent. (Despite our mother's pleas, it seems that we rarely married that "good Catholic boy/girl"!)
It's also worth pointing out that the non-Catholic parent often attends church and is typically very supportive of the faith. They are also usually as keen on their children getting a Catholic education as their Catholic partner. (I wouldn't attempt to speculate as to their motivation, of course.)
I talked to lots of people about the consultation but almost everyone took the view that it wasn't worth the effort of responding as it was a done deal. Faith in the Council is very low.
I hope plenty of personally affected parents will be registering to speak at the Scrutiny Committee on 15th on behalf of their children.
?Registering to Speak on May 15: To register you should contact the Committee Administrator by 2.00pm on 14 May 2012, stating which item you wish to speak on. You will need to provide your name, a contact telephone number, email address and in the case of Item 4. Future School Provision, indicate whether or not you will be speaking for or against the recommendations. You may register via telephone on 020 8891 7156 or by email: email@example.com .
Lottie, levels of awareness also differ widely. Some parents may be directly affected but won't realise until much later. Some primary schools may have drawn attention to the consultation repeatedly in newsletters, others may not have mentioned it at all or only once. I met one Ham parent who hadn't realised the link policy will be dropped for 2013 and thought Teddington was still a boy's school.
Representative summary of full responses to Catholic school consultation‏ can be seen here
Another report for the Scrutiny meeting: Statutory Proposals To Establish A Voluntary-Aided Catholic Secondary School And A Voluntary-Aided Catholic Primary School from which (para 4.8 p. 2) comes:
The Education Act 2011 amended the provisions of the Education and Inspections Act relating to new school proposals with effect from 1 February 2012. The consent of the Secretary of State is no longer required for publication of proposals for a new voluntary aided school. The Dioceses proposals were accordingly published under section 11(1A) of the amended 2006 Act.
We will have to wait for the judicial review to tell us whether this argument stands up in court or not.
This may have been already discussed on this thread, but it seems to me that the rules are being bent in this consultation. As a taxpayer, I am not keen to see Council spending money fighting legal battles.
The latest press release states that Dfe documentation highlights that the Diocese has confirmed that it may consider Academy status in the future, once the school is established.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Nicole the admission policy of the catholic va school proposals are heavily favoring catholics only . There is some pref for eastern orthodox christians as criteria 7 or 8 . Anglicans will get no preference and will be at par with other faiths or non religious. Hence its no surprise that majority of them do not support the catholic va school proposals.
Ideally everyone will select their local neighbourhood schools that will build the school and community around it as opposed to traveling the lenght and breadth of the borough
Nicole12, high house prices around popular schools are a problem, but they're not a problem of the admissions policy, they're a problem of:
a) Inadequate planning for sufficient school places;
b) Lack of sites for new schools in oversubscribed areas;
c) Variability in quality of schools, and league tables which sometimes over-exaggerate that variability;
d) Poor housing policy, and in particular a lack of affordable housing in some areas;
Those problems are all very real, and I think its wrong to shift the blame to sensible admissions policies that favour the concept of local schools at the heart of the community they serve.
However, I do agree that people are less likely to take an interest in community issues that don't directly affect them.
It seems incredible now that the council was able to build two new primary schools near the Sheen area 10 years ago. But no new ones in Twickenham. it is inow mpossible for the LA to set up a new local community school without a complicated academy process, apparently unless it's a VA faith school with council money. Most primaries on the Twickenham side are 3-4 form entry. Free schools (many also faith schools) are fiercely competing for a central budget and can't be planned for or counted on by the council.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Nicole12 I know where you are coming from in terms of the situation at Primary level in Sheen. When we found ourselves in the Mortlake black hole and appealed, the Council provided a map showing the addreses of those gaining sibling places at Sheen Mount that year including one in Chelsea, as well as Chiswick, Barnes and Putney! Though we were first on the waiting lists we never did get offered a place at any of the three local schools within half a mile...
However the situation around Clifden Road is different, particularly in relation to Secondary level. The housing in the site's vicinity is mixed, especially over the railway line. The proposed Free School are still refining it's admission policies and I understand it may well do something to ensure social as well as local inclusivity. Local Catholic Primary Schools are by the admittedly imperfect measure of social need, free school meals, more socially exclusive than non Catholic ones. St James's the Catholic School currently attended by Catholic children from the roads around here was highlighted in the Guardian as having one of the most socially exclusive intakes in the country. Stanley, right next door has 10% of it's children taking Free School meals compared to 1% at St James's.
The other big issue is that Twickenham Academy, which isn't particularly local as it is in Whitton, is forecast to fill up in 2015 and the catchments areas of all the local community schools are already shrinking away rapidly from Central Twickenham. After 2015 on the Councils forecasts the only places forecast to be available to the children in Central Twickenham, and large areas of the Middlesex side of the river will be at Richmond Park Academy, and there are lots of risks to those figures. As the governors of Stanley School say in their submission on the consultation they believe it is likely that if this site is given to an exclusive Catholic School school there is a strong risk that within three years many of their pupils will have no offer of a secondary school place AT ALL. Even if the Richmond College site proves feasible for a new secondary school it is going to be hard to find the funding especially after funding a new Catholic School. The Council's justification is that a new inclusive school will be poor value for money if there are still places in Richmond Park Academy, particularly given the investment in that school, but we both know that parents faced with that journey will do what they have been doing for decades, if they can afford it, move or go private. This isn't about local exclusivity, it is about the chances of children on the Middlesex side of the river having a reasonably accessible option of a state secondary school being set aside in favour of giving an exclusive school to one section of the community who have always had an additional choice compared to those of us who have relied on the borough for school places.
Well said Copthall resident.
If we lived in an ideal, crazy Madcap world where, lets say..... in this borough there was enough school places provided by the council overall for ALL children, and there were sensible inclusive admission policies, fair to all, Local children could then go to their local nearest school and there would not be any weird jumps in House prices based purely on catchments. This is a sign something is wrong with Education provsion by this Council.
Our concil rates are not cheap in the Borough and the council should easily be able to provide decent, non-failing schools for ALL the children living here. IF this was the Council's top priority and goal, I'm sure it could be achieved.
I particularly hate the way parents are set against parents, when it is the council who is letting us all down.
Secondary school places could be assigned at random to all children who wanted to go and lived within reasonable travelling distance. Sibling priority should only apply to those who still met the distance criteria.
Nicole12, I think the admissions forum consulted on dropping the siblings priority a few years' back for secondary admissions, i.e. siblings would also have to qualify either on attending a linked primary or distance. But there was opposition and they didn't go for it. The government hasn't been too keen on lottery allocation up to now (see here). I can see how it would be fairer for Waldegrave (not to mention the other schools in the area which take a lot of boys) - but soon they'll be their own admissions authority and independent of the LA so they wouldn't consult as widely anyway.
Another factor which leads to the over-subscription of schools is the way schools are funded now - i.e. on a per-pupil basis, so that they quickly become un-economic if they're not full.
That leads to a sort of 'just in time delivery' approach for school place planning, with councils aiming for the optimum, but completely unachievable, situation of every school just one place short of full.
That's interesting BayJay - I guess this is why the Lib Dems are also saying that they would not support a community school on the Clifden Road site until 2015. They do not want to see overprovision of places?
That's not exactly what they've said MagicFarawayTree. They've said they would support a community school in Clifden Road in 2015. They've been diplomatically silent about the prospect of one opening there earlier.
And, by the way, the government will still consider approving Free Schools in areas where schools are undersubscribed.
The first big jump in pupil numbers will come in 2014 - but admission patterns will change from 2013 because the link policy will no longer apply. Also, who knows what will happen with local/national elections in 2014 or 2015. No doubt that's also why the council wants to press ahead with its plans now but others may have to take responsibility later if it misjudges the risks.
Why would they need to stay 'diplomatically silent?'
I honestly think that there is a great opportunity for most of the community to be happy - with available school places for Catholic children, in a Catholic school and for parents who wish their children to attend your Free School.
TheMagic - there is 1 site avaialable now . How can we have 2 schools on that to keep everyone happy
Because, a Free School does not have to have a site already identified to be approved. The Govt can help with the identification (and indeed, purchase) of a site!
From BayJay's earlier link...
"Do I need to secure a site before I apply?
You don't have to enter into any negotiations for sites and must not do so if you expect the Government to fund the acquisition of your site.
It would be helpful if, in your application, you were able to identify up to two potentially feasible sites for your school to give us some idea of where you would prefer your school to be located. "
BayJay has already indicated in the other thread that her group are looking at more than one location...
Why would they need to stay 'diplomatically silent?'
None of the local political parties, on either side, have publicly endorsed particular Free School proposals. They're all officially supportive in principle, but they're not (publicly) expressing opinions on individual schools as they don't know which ones are going to be approved.
But their comments on the use of the Clifden Road site say "We therefore propose that the Clifden Road site should be reserved for a new 5 form entry community school to be opened in 2016"
They would not have to be supportive of your school to say that a community school is needed on the site in 2013 as it could be an academy couldn't it? So I still don't understand your 'diplomatically silent' coment in response to my earlier post about over provision of places.
I really do wish your school luck, but continue to believe that the creation of a Free School does not need to be at the expense of the Catholic school.
They would not have to be supportive of your school to say that a community school is needed on the site in 2013 as it could be an academy couldn't it?
Not really, no. The Free School process is designed to be quick. If the council wanted to invite proposals for an academy that would inevitably be slower.
Anyway, whether they think we need a new school there in 2013 isn't really the issue. It would be daft for either political party to turn their noses up at a free school (and I mean free in the no-capital-outlay sense) in 2013 if they thought they would need it in 2015.
As I've said before, the free school funding is front loaded. Who knows whether there will still be any money left in the pot by 2015.
Bayjay valid point that free schools can be opened where there is demand as it gives parents choice and diversity
I don't buy council poor value for money argument it seems its not poor value to open catholic school but it is for all other types.
Why is not poor to open cathlic school when there are open spaces in academies . Surely academies were invested for everyone inc catholics.
Some catholic school supporters argue that they want consistency and continuity of education but so do others - do the sweedish style education in TA and HA does not give continuity?
Council seems to be showing double standards.
I guess they might not support it though if they thought that it was going to be to the detriment of schools that already exist and are not full.
I guess when the DforE speak to the council they will then take a view.
But, my point remains if funding, sites and willpower is there for both schools is it not a win-win situation?
I am delighted that there seems to be a very real possiblity of a good outcome for all.
Cmon guys how on earth can it be fair to expect free school to assume a site will be found - leap of faith in current climate , yet allow the Diocese to get away with lying and claiming in their application they have been offered clifden road by the council.
Utter shame !
Council is in bed with Diocese . It would not shock me if they did " Everything in their power" as claimed by Cllr Samuels to safeguard Clifden road for Catholic school. So yes they could speak to Dfe and tell them to reject Twickenham Free school. Secures Catholic votes for generations !
JoTwick - BayJay has already stated in an earlier thread that other possible sites had been identified - she just did not feel at liberty to say where they were.
The shame would be to deny the possiblity of both schools - when gmsing talks about 'choice and diversity' that goes for Catholic families too.
In the short term Catholics in ths borough still have up to 150 places reserved for them in Hounslow schools (including extra places at Gumley). This may well change in the long term in favour of e.g. Ealing but not before 2014. So it would be sensible to wait for news on other developments such as the Kingston school finance and free school bids.
I don't agree - but you know that
I honestly think that it is a no-brainer to open a Catholic school on the Clifden Road site given that:
a) it has been promised for years
b) it's opening would not be to the detriment of any existing borough school c) Catholic children are struggling to get places in Catholic schools now, and when they do get in, their journeys are often long and difficult
d) there will, no doubt, be another school, on the Edgerton Road site, or another one
e) a Catholic school would add to, not take away from, the diversity of schools available in the borough
f) Catholic children deserve the opportunity to remain in a Catholic school in-borough, not be forced to leave it.
I hand on heart welcome the opportunity for (at least) two new secondary schools in our borough. I would have hoped that most other people would too.
We don't know how the sixth form will impact on other schools or colleges. I honestly think there is too much for the council to scrutinise fully in one meeting, given the number of members of the public who will be there. There will be lots of speeches but how much debate and analysis? But the decisions have huge ramifications for education and jobs.
I do agree with that - I am surprised that they are going to try and deal with both matters in one evening. I think that people need to be prepared for a late night!
Magic - catholics have equal access to all in borough schools so they have same choice and diversity as everyone else . Plus they have access to out of borough catholic schools . So they have more choice and diversity than any other group
And now you want more choice and diversity at the expense of others whose choice and diversity will reduce !
You are entitled to your opinion but how can this be fair
I think that people need to be prepared for a late night!
From part 4, paragraph 9.1 of the council's constitution, "If the business of the meeting has not been concluded within 3 hours, the [Chair] will interrupt the meeting and call for a vote immediately on the item under discussion."
So 3 hr seems to be the maximum everyone has to endure. Will it be webcast? I suspect two big items have been crammed into 1 meeting as the Tories who are following the whip just want to get done and kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
muminlondon - It does seem sensible to wait till outcome of Kingston and free school applications are know. Then a well informed decision can be made on the use of Clifden Road site.
Rather than a rushed decision in the presence of many anxious parents and sixth form teachers. How much money is at stake here for just one meeting? We don't even know how much Clifden has cost.
In previous thread it was estimated that cliden was bought for 10m plus . So along with 25m for 6th forms its 35m plus being decided in 3 hrs - so every minute is worth around 200k
To be clear, the Scrutiny Committee meeting on May 15th can make recommendations, but the Cabinet meeting on the 24th is where the decisions will be made.
The Cabinet can reject recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee but would need to give reasons.
Will the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee be available to the public before the 24th May meeting, for those not attending in person?
Cat2405, normally it takes a few weeks for the minutes of scrutiny meetings to be published, but this one is an extraordinary meeting, so it may be different. They may even decide to webcast it if there is enough interest from the public.
Many thanks BayJay. Webcasting both meetings sound like a great idea. I'm sure there'd be enough interest. I'm very interested. It could help with any potential capacity issues at York House if people are able to view the meeting online from home.
I understand there are plans to only webcast Council meeting. How can one get them to webcast the SC meeting as well.
So far I think they've only webcast Planning Meetings and Council meetings. But I don't know if there are any restrictions on webcasts being used for other types of meetings too if people requested it. See here for details. Democratic Services is the department responsible.
a) Just because something has been promised for years does not, in anyway, make it one percent more justifiable- its irelevant.
b) it's opening would not be to the detriment of any existing borough school -- On the Contary it would be 90% funded by all of us the local taxpayers so it would be a total waste of money for most of us, in times when taxpayers money is stretched desperately.
The Catholic Church is one of the richest institutions in Europe,( if not in the whole world, apparantly). So why on earth cannot should everyone else support and pay for it,when it could easily fund itself?
Other Faith schools, (that date back to before Free state Education) provided their land and premises that they already owned, free to the community but that's the worse thing about this school...... the Catholic Church is not even doing that!
It would be given FREE the Clifden road site!! In an area where sites are very rare and very expensive. It should supply its own site at the very least, as previous Faith schools have done. So it is *terrible *value for Richmond Borough Taxpayers.
c) Catholic children are struggling to get places in Catholic schools now, and when they do get in, their journeys are often long and difficult.
---- Of course no-one forces children of Catholic parents to try and go to a far away school. That is an extra choice available to them, but not to others. A child of Catholic parents needs an education (eg PE and Maths lessons, and moral guidance and socialising with his peers) all of which is covered in any school.
They do not need to be segregated, they need to learn to live and learn in a diverse world. If their home enviroment plus attending their church on Sunday is not enough to make them follow their parents religion, then they are not going to follow it anyway.
Every child of Catholic Parents who attends Clifden road will force another local child to have to attend Richmond Park, with no choice at all. Zero.
d) there will, no doubt, be another school, on the Edgerton Road site, or another one.
----There is no guarantee at all of this. And it would be too late. The Egerton site would be a much better site for any Catholic School, because any sensible, non-biased Council should sort out Schools for the most urgent pressing need first. It is a need to have a school place. The luxury of choice of places clearly is always second after that. A specialised minority-interest school could come second only if Taxpayers money not already exhausted.
The councils OWN figures assumes that there must be an inclusive free school locally otherwise there SIMPLY will not be enough Secondary school places in 2013. If they assume it, then should provide a site for it now, not when it will be way too late!
e) a Catholic school would add to, not take away from, the diversity of schools available in the borough.
- It is a diversity of schools only available to one group of people. There are so many other minority groups with no schools at all. Catholic schools locally have the lowest free meals percentage and St James made the National press becuase its free school meal percentage was SO low!
They do not increase diversity in any real way whatsoever! All a Catholic school would do is increase segregation. And divide communities.
f) Catholic children deserve the opportunity to remain in a Catholic school in-borough, not be forced to leave it.
-- It is the parents choice, It is an extra option so clearly no force involved!
Actually it is the Taxpayers of Richmond who deserve a sensible, fair council to provide decent schools for all first, and only after they have met that then possibly they could they consider frittering money on special interest group schools.
How can a Council Leader who is know to be catholic decide fairly on this matter?? It is scandalous and like Westminster, his special interest should preclude him from being involved.
TwoCotbeds - why do you feel you are qualified to tell Catholic parents what their children need.
blinkblink, even the council would say that there is a demand for a Catholic schools, rather than a need for one. (see para 4.17).
Usually the government, at local and National level will provide what Adults and Children actually "need" not what people would prefer or demand. It is a need for children to receive an education, eg lessons in Maths, English, good behaviour standards etc etc.
It is perfectly usual for parents to hand on their own personal choice of religion to their children without the school the children attend helping them.
How do all the religious Jewish, Muslim etc parents pass their relgion on to their children or attempt to, without schools to support them? I believe there are large communities of other religions in the UK that do not have state funded schools to assist them with that.
IF you argue Catholic Parents have a need for a school to help them, then you must accept that those other religions have the same need to! How would the public purse ever afford all that? crazy.
Please tell me if you can, how you can justify one groups desire to pass on their beliefs but not recognise other groups same desire?? I'd genuinely would like anyone's answer to that !
In a time when every taxpayer pound is needed for basic key services, hospitals, and all other true essentials of life, there should be no money wasted on a 'preference' or 'demand' of any parents.
Is it so difficult to pass on a Catholic Faith to Children in these modern times, that can only possibly be achieved with all three: Home plus Church, plus School all working together? How do other faiths manage ? Are they much stronger ??
A relgion that has lasted so many hundreds of years and manages to survive in plenty of heavily Catholic countries which do not have state funded faith schools, does not need our money in the UK for parents to pass it on to their children.
It is not a need of a child. It is a prefernce of the Parents.
These are Real Needs........
Children with special needs; they do need extra, special help at school. Children with a disability may need special help with access. Also adopted or fostered children have a recognised need for more continunity in their lives so quite rightly, they are all prioritised in the admissions process. These children have a actual need.
A child may grow up, as many do, not to follow their parents religion. It is an individual and personal decision to make for the child as they grow up. It is not a "need" of the child to follow their parents previous choice. They need freedom and information to make up their own mind.
In fact, one easily could argue the opposite! That a child from a religious background needs a non-religious school enviroment to see both sides, to best decide for themselves as they grow up, what, if any religion they wish to follow.
I think some parents simply use their religion to obtain more education choices than everyone else. They may even be a little dis-illusioned with their faith, say, or simply un-enthusiastic, but are encouraged to keep attending a Church because the system is set up to motivate them to do so. Crazy system.
Nationally I think only 10% of the adult population are actually actively religious but MUCH more than 10% of school places, I think , are 'religious' (ie in a Faith school). This is a miss-match.
Please, please someone find what the church attendance figures are in areas with Faith schools, compared to those without local Faith Schools! It would be so interesting.
Heliview - maybe your point is too subtle for my simple mind but if you too are suggesting that you know better what is right for other parents' children then I find that has rather worrying implications. What precisely is the difference between a demand for such a school (in a borough where a number of existing secondary schools are undersubscribed) and a need.
twocotbeds - your post is interesting in that it is exercised around determining for other people what is their need - what is important to them and their children. Catholic families want the freedom to educate their children in the way that they see as appropriate. What is the insight that you have in respect of what other children need that their parents don;t themselves have?
Heliview, that's a really interesting point.
What is the view of the RISC humanists on this interesting piece?
Catholic families want the freedom to educate their children in the way that they see as appropriate.//// This is meaningless. I'd like the freedom not to pay such high taxes locally for a council that sets up New schools which excludes my child. Catholic Families already have extra choices the rest of us do not have, now they want even more. How much 'freedom' do they have compared to the rest of us with zero choice?
I'd like the freedom to stop all the discrimination against non-catholics and non-religious people in school admissions.
What is the insight that you have in respect of what other children need that their parents don;t themselves have? /// I have an insight as I understand children are not owned by parents and should be free to make their own decisions in life as they grow up. They also need not to be segregated from each other.
I notice you have not answered my question, which is a shame, because I'd like to hear your answer.
Anyway from one parent to (presumably) another, I'll wish you good night.
I know ultimately we all want the best for our children.
maybe your point is too subtle
blinkblink & TwoCotbeds, this debate started (many moons ago) with people making precisely the points you are both making now. I think we can all agree that there is disagreement on those points.
blinkblink, I referred you to that paragraph from the council paper because the law says that if the council needs a new school they have to consider an Academy (which could still be a Catholic Academy) ahead of a VA school.
The council are now in a very difficult position. They bought a prime site to provide for much needed future school places. However, if they now say they need a school then they won't be able to accept the VA proposal.
Some people would argue that they have already said (before they realised the implications of the law change) that they need this VA school. They are therefore on very dodgy ground. If they don't recognise that, and press ahead with accepting the proposal on Nov 24th, then the Judicial Review could well make mincemeat of them.
"and press ahead with accepting the proposal on Nov 24th"
May 24th, not Nov 24th.
The ironic thing is that for the first time in living memory the Government is actually prioriting funds for local demand rather than need. They call it the Free School programme. However, under that programme all proposing groups have equal status. In Hampton, a bid from the Maharishi Foundation will be considered on its merits alongside a bid from the Church of England. Perhaps both, or neither, will be funded. However, they will be judged on the quality of their proposal, and their proof of local demand, rather than on the status of their respective groups in the Establishment.
I hope that if the Catholic community of Richmond don't get their local VA school, then they will put forward a proposal for a Catholic Free School instead. Another alternative would be for the council to invite proposals for a Catholic Academy.
I am afraid though BayJay, that in the Catholic community and others, Risc have lost any respect that they had by by getting into bed with the BHA who are actively campaigning against all state funded faith schools.
Jeremy Rodell himself has admitted on the R&T times website that he could not support a Catholic academy or free school because of the 50% admissions policy.
The South West London Humanists campaigned against a new CofE school in Kingston which was to have an inclusive admissions policy because they did not want to see another church school in Kingston.
I see no reason to think that his arguments would change if the VA school does not go ahead because, he is ideologically against faith schools.
I know that on this site, just as in the community at large there are strong views on this issue, but I honestly believe that there is room for everyone to be happy.
Sorry, I should have said - I honestly believe that there is room for almost everyone to be happy.
I understand that those who would prefer that faith schools did not exist at all (whether Catholic or other) would not be so.
Magic, in North Kingston there was an open competition between a church school and a community school. The Schools Adjudicator made the final decision, based on the quality of the bid. Here is the determination.
There was a local campaign against the CofE school, and I understand that the SW London Humanist Group were involved in organising that campaign. They have every right to make their views public on such issues, and others can decide whether or not they agree with them.
RISC's steering group is made up of people with a range of religions and world-views, not just Humanists, and their campaign is pro-inclusivity rather than anti-faith school. In that respect their position is different to the BHA's. The BHA fully acknowledges that, and their press release makes it clear their involvement in this case is only on the basis of challenging the process that has been used to avoid competition.
"Jeremy Rodell himself has admitted on the R&T times website that he could not support a Catholic academy or free school because of the 50% admissions policy."
Magic, just to add, you are right about this. However, the Diocese would take the exact same view - they are opposed to an Academy for exactly the same reason. Nevertheless an Academy or Free School has always been the compromise option that would allow the most people (though not all people) to be happy.
BayJay, you are more clever than that - the involvement of the BHA is very significant. This is one step in their campaign to end faith schools.
To allow the opportunity for all Catholic children who leave the borough every year to stay here and be educated we would need two or even three Catholic free schools or academies.
I think that the route of one Catholic VA school, which not even meet the demands of local children; some would still need to leave the borough and other, non-faith schools, including your Free School is a great compromise in itself.
This is one step in their campaign to end faith schools
I don't disagree, and I don't suppose the BHA would either, but its just one small step in what will undoubtedly be a very long journey.
To allow the opportunity for all Catholic children who leave the borough every year to stay here and be educated we would need...
There's that word "need" again. I suspect a lot is going to ride on that little word in coming weeks!
I just hope that if there is to be a judical review that this happens sooner rather than later.
Then (as long as the school is lawful of course) we can get on with it without delay.
Assuming that the council make the decision to proceed.
Oh, and if you agree with the BHA motives, do you still feel comfortable with their involvement? It can't sit that well with you given that you have chosen a faith school for your children.
do you still feel comfortable with their involvement?
I don't agree with their education policy, but I respect their right to pursue it, and I understand and respect their reasons for backing this JR. Its an important piece of legislation that needs to be clarified.
As I've said before in this thread, my own views are in line with the Accord Coalition, and the BHA are a member of that coalition.
I think its reasonable for an organisation to have an "idealistic" position and a more realistic "compromise" position, and to work towards both simultaneously.
The opposition to Catholic schools is from a cross section of supporters including the majority of Anglicans, not because they are anti faith schools, but because they do not support exclusive privilege to 1 faith group.
Its shocking that despite knowing the strength of opposition, the Catholics want to go ahead with current proposals - where is the desire for community integration and harmony?
I agree that it comes to judicial review, it should be decided asap, but these things can drag for months. Its in no ones interest to not have a school in 2013. So it would be better to have the fairer and legitimate option of having the Clifden Free school.
Jo Twick - when you talk about the majority of Anglicans - I guess you are talking about the Anglicans who responded to the consultation. Yes 55% of the 529 Anglicans that responded were against the proposal.
But there are other figures that you ignore...
58% of 'other Christians' support the proposal.
15% of the people who do not agree with the school actually think that there should be no School on the site. So not necessarily against a Catholic school, but not wanting any school there at all!
I could go on and and give stats to back up my case, as could you. That's the thing with statistics I guess, you can make of them what you will and also guess at the reasoning behind them.
There is opposition, nobody can deny that but faith and non-faith primary schools have a fantastic relationship within this borough. There is no issue of lack of community integration and harmony at primary level is there? The lack of integration at secondary level is primarily because Catholics feel forced into leaving the borough at secondary level.
A Catholic VA school goes some way to actually solve this problem!
I wish any new Free School application luck, but alongside a Catholic VA school, not instead of it.
The existing schools do exist for valid historical reasons . But you need to realise that they have caused segration in society, made people go private or move homes because they. Did not belong to the required faith.
I agree that only now lot of people have woken up to this injustice or spoken up against . Let's not live in the past and understand the current and future need for inclusive education.
You need to reflect upon why no one is objecting to Hampton church school or why CoE parents are sending their kids to local schools - they want to integrate and have their schools for benefit of entire community.no one is stopping catholic kids from attending borough schools - u r not choosing them and integrating with rest of community and have choices of outside catholic schools
no one is stopping catholic kids from attending borough schools
Actually, the Linked School policy did stop children from Catholic primaries from attending some local secondaries, and that is an injustice which has now been righted, with the dropping of the policy (for Sept 2013 entry). Some Catholic families will in future choose Orleans Park and Teddington, in the same sort of proportions as they currently choose Waldegrave. Others will still prefer Catholic secondaries.
What are you talking about JoTwick? Really - there is no problem at primary levlel. In the course of my work I have probably been to every single primary in the borough and I can assure you that you are very mistaken; schools work together, pupils mix for a variey of activities, from sports, to dance to art to socialising and fundraising.
There need not be a problem at secondary level either, but you seem determined to ensure that this is not the case.
Magic - As a person well travelled across our boroughs schools, I am surprised that you are not cognizant about the challenges at the primary level. Its hard to believe that you do not know of people who are forced to go private or move houses - some of them have posted on this thread. Could I please also request you to read the following thread http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/local_richmond_upon_thames/a1405058-Late-primary-admission-what-happens
JoTwick - I am chellenging you about community cohesion and working together - not primary places overall!
You were implying that community links were not there at primary school and Faith schools are dividing the community. It is this I am calling you on.
Magic -Community cohesion, working together and primary places they are all intertwined. From my personal experience, when children of all backgrounds go to their local schools, strong bond is formed between the school and community and there is lot of cohesion and working together. This can happen in both community and faith schools that are inclusive like the CoE. Bonds are disrupted, when someone is forced to go private or move away. If all faith schools were inclusive, there would be less friction as no one would feel they had unequal opportunities. There is a reason why the Govt is encouraging them through policies, practice and legislation.
Majority of our hectic lives centre around the school and yes there are some but limited opportunities for cross school integration - its an area for improvement where lot more can be done, but there are practical and time challenges.
I would suggest that next time you are doing the school rounds, please try and knock on the doors and speak to parents to get some grass root perspectives. There is more there what is seen in school meetings and heard from their cheerleaders
JoTwick - valid points. A good place to start would be to start talking to the community around Clifden Road, where the community cohesion will be most impacted. The current proposals will end up having Catholic kids from all over the borough coming to Clifden and the local community having no option but to send theirs to RPA. Surely RPA can be filled with kids from local primaries. So there are two scenarios here - either it will improve and get oversubscribed with local kids and hence Twickenam kids will not get in or it will not improve and continue to have spare capacity, due to rejection from local parents. If unfortunately it is the latter, then its unreasonable to expect people from Twickenham to send their kids there. Paul Hodgins should set a positive example by sending his kids and encouraging local parents to accept RPA, rather than turning to Twickenham parents.
"Paul Hodgins should set a positive example..."
Paul H is one of the good guys in this sorry tale. He's put a lot into RPA over the last few years. I don't know if he's chosen it for his own child or not, but if he hasn't been able to bring himself to do that then I imagine he will be as disappointed as everybody else.
Whether he's able to use his diplomacy skills to persuade Lord True of his folly is another matter entirely. And whether he votes with his party or his conscience on the final decision will presumably depend on how much he values his political career.
Its will be sad for democracy if genuine councillors feel that their political career rests more on following the party line, rather than the need for following their conscience and doing the right thing for the people.
The Maharashites have sent out an email: . . We had a great interview with the Department for Education team on Friday 4th May and we are feeling more confident than ever . . They ask their supporters to bombard the DfE with messages of support:
'Here are some points you can mention:
- Maharishi School Richmond is the school you want your child or children to go to
- Maharishi School Richmond is the best school for Richmond
- That the site on Oldfield Road is the best site for a school in all of Richmond
- And anything else you would like to tell them!'
These emails will I'm sure have no effect and may well be binned unread apart from their titles - one weakness of email communications. Is there any word how the Church school's interview went?
At the Scrutiny committee meeting, the Council argued that there was no need for additional schools, and it was meeting the wants of the Catholic community.
The committee voted 7:6, with 1 abstention in favor of the Catholic VA school proposals. The 5 Tories and RC and CoE Diocese representatives voted in favor and the 4 Lib Dems and 2 Parent Governors voted against. The Parent Governor from Vineyard abstained from voting. So they have now recommended to the Cabinet that they go ahead with the proposed Catholic schools.
Thank you for sharing gmsing. Do you know how the sixth-form discussion went?
Surely the RC representative should have abstained from the meeting like the the NLS4T representative, who left the meeting declaring prejudicial interest. However that now seems to have been a handing over of Clifden Road to the Catholics. Dissapointingly it now seems there will be no Clifden Free school.
There was only a short time left for the sixth form discussion, which raised some questions about whether it was possible to cover the subject properly. At 10.30 it went straight to a vote on whether to recommend to cabinet that the proposals be accepted. The motion was passed.
Jo, free school proposers aren't able to enter negotiations over sites. The government does that on their behalf once they are approved.
It was always the case, and remains the case, that if no VA school is approved for Clifden Rd, then it could become available to other providers. If it doesn't become available then another site would need to be secured.
Beverly Saunders has a personal and prejudicial/financial interest as she is a director of the Free School Bid.
As a co-opted member she would have had no vote anyway.
Andy Cole gave a statement at the beginning of the meeting highlighting why he was entitled to stay.
Most people at the meeting had a pre-determined position; they were conservatives, or lib dems, or had signed the Risc petition etc - if they all had to leave, then there would have been no body left to take part in the meeting!
I am curious as to why exactly Cllr Knight, who is not on the O&S committee was able to make a speech, ask questions etc. He is leader of the Lib Dems, but I thought that he could only be there as an observer?
I think that the NFS4T will go ahead, just on another site.
BayJay thanks for that. However the Free school proposers clearly set an expectation that Clifden Road was the preferred site. They even urged their supporters to respond to the consultation indicating preference for Free school. Is it too much to expect them to get the Council to wait for teh decision on their Free school application, before making a decision
Attention now shifts to the main event: The Cabinet meeting on Thursday, 24 May 2012 at 7:00 pm. The agenda will be published 5 clear working days before the meeting.
Hello, does this mean that some secondary schools will now get 6th forms? If so, which schools?
Thanks for all the info on the changes, there certainly is a lot to think about!
JoTwick I think NFS4T are right to stay relatively neutral in this matter, and not stir up any negativity. They need to have a positive relationship with the Council, other schools and the whole borough community. Most non catholic Schools have done the same, though the Stanley governors have been absolute heroes in standing up for the interests of their pupils.
However I hope that last night I did make the point passionately that the community of Twickenham needs a new school, that it is bad planning to rely on Twickenham parents to fill up capacity at the other end of the borough because most who can will find other options, the site should be used to meet the needs and wants of our community and since our community have made clear that it has a demand for the Free School that the Council should at least wait to see if it has funding and consider the case of both sets of parents who have demonstrated demand.
I have to say after last night I think that the only thing that will stop the Catholic School getting the site is if Lord True has some epiphany and changes his mind or a legal challenge is successful. As gmsing says it was about needs versus wants and their assessment of needs as has always happened in this borough implicitly assumes a fair proportion of non Catholic parents with needs will feel forced into paying or moving away. The wants of the Catholic community have more weight than the wants of the Twickenham community. As an instance Matthew Paul came out with the argument that if the Catholic church were to call the borough's bluff and sell all their school buildings it would be extremely costly to the Council. Perhaps all the parents who move or go private because of the schools situation should call the Council's bluff and actually insist on state school places here, it would require more than one new secondary school to satisfy demand if the number in state primary versus secondary were just the average of the top 10 most affluent boroughs (and that doesn't take account to those who feel forced away at 4)
Please all people who want the Free School at Clifden Road write to your Councillors, to Lord True, ahead of the 24 May meeting, don't make it easy for them to ignore your needs and wants.
Barry, belated welcome to the discussion.
The answers to your questions are:
1. Yes (assuming Cabinet accepts the scruinty committee's recommendation on May 24th).
2. All of them. This decision related to Waldegrave, Orleans, Grey Court and Christs. The Academies are also getting sixth forms, under a separate process. Twck Academy and Hampton Academy sixth forms are opening this September.
If you want to know the full history you'll have to read the whole thread .
I am surprised that one person did not vote . If you dont have courage to vote, why become a voting member?
Catholic school wins committee backing is the RTT report.
Jeev - I think that is a bit harsh. The O&S committee is about more than this one issue.
I actually think that the Governor that abstained was the only person who entered that room without a pre-determined position. She asked sensible questions and really seemed to be listening to what was being said, which is more than I can say for one of the other Governors.
I was dissapointed that the Committee did not accept my recommendation to conduct a Equalities Needs Impact Assessment in light of the Catholic school proposals that will create unequal opportunities for a number of minority groups. As per the Equalities Act 2010 the Council needs to advance equality and foster good relations in the community, yet it is only relying on an Equalities Needs and Impact Assessment done in 2007, updated in 2009. In the Use of Clifden Road paper - we see factually inaccurate data and misleading justifications to support the Councils need for Catholic VA schools. In Para 8.7, the BME % are wrong as they include White Irish and White other groups, which should is inconsistent with Richmonds Equality Data Mapping Audit 2011 So using the correct definition and as per the School Census data published in June 2011, the avg BME in the 6 Richmond RC primaries is 14% compared to 23% in other borough primaries.This would be reflected in a Catholics-only secondary and would simply be a further contribution to ethnic segregation rather than diversity. Similarly Para 8.8 on FSM is highly misleading. Because of variations in affluence across the borough, the only valid comparisons are either at the level of the borough as a whole, or between neighbouring schools in the same area. Examples Stanley at 10% is in the same street as St.James with only 1% (one of the lowest in the country). Nelson at 11.5% a few yards away from , St.Edmunds with only 3.6%. A Catholic VA secondary would only have 3% FSM if - as intended - it draws only from borough Catholic primaries, compared to the lowest in the existing secondaries of 9% (Waldegrave and Teddington) . This is extremely unfair in an challenging economic environment, in which I hope you will all agree that priority should be given to meet the needs of the underprivileged, who may not have the options of going private or moving homes.
Sorry I should have said did not respond and not did not accept, since I got no response
Magic - I understand your point but Clifden Road is perhaps one of the most significant and long debated issue. Irrespective of which way one votes, its important to show decisiveness. Hence I am not impressed with the abstention and I know parents from Vineyard feel let down.
I have admired the support that Catholic parents have recieved from their headteachers and governors and the efforts they have put in to protect the interest of their students.
Good to also see that the Twickenham (or wherever they go now) Free school people learning the art of political lobbying
I was shocked that the scrutiny commitee included two church representatives. It's like asking James and Rupert Murdoch to be on the jury for Rebakkah Brooks's trial. If we don't feel we've got a fair deal from the council members we can unelect them ... but am I right that we're disenfranchised here? As voters we have no come back. We're just stuck with them.
Tahdah, if people aren't happy with the way the Scrutiny Committee Meeting was conducted then they could complain to the Standards Committee.
Heliview, thanks. Can I assume there aren't any random un-elected church representatives on the Standards Committee?
Can we also be sure that there aren't any random atheists or other individuals who may have an anti-faith school agenda too? Just saying it works both ways so how is it ever truly impartial?
Limpbiscuit, my point on the Scrutiny committee is that there aren't any unelected representatives for parents who would like to see a science, or music, or maths, or english or modern languages or jewish or muslim or whatever education for their children. Why is special provision made for a catholic and CofE representative? If we are talking about existing schools (many of which are church based) I can see the point. But church representatives voting on whether there should be more church schools is like asking turkeys to decide on christmas. There is a prejudicial interest here surely?
Tahdah I get your where you are coming from. I don't know how the members of the committee are decided but yes I would assume the representatives from the Church are there due to the number of faith schools in the borough. All I was saying is that if a committee member was very anti-faith that could influence a vote against too.
To be clear, it is not necessary for any councillor or co-opted member to declare their religion. Religious beliefs are private.
The Diocesan Rep on the Scrutiny Committee may have had a prejudicial interest, because he represents the Archdiocese of Westminster, who is putting forward the VA proposal. If I interpreted his statement correctly, he was advised that his interest wasn't prejudicial because he isn't actually an employee/manager/director of the Diocese. He's a volunteer.
He is the rep for the Archdiocese of Southwark, not Westminster.
There were members of that committee who had signed the Risc petition, their position regarding the school was clear. The Lib Dems had also made their position clear before the meeting as in the consultation they state that they want the site held for a community school in 2015.
As I have said before, I think that the only person who went into that meeting with an open mind was the person who ended up abstaining.
Hi Magic. What's you take on why the pre-consultation was a partnership between Southwark and Westminster, whereas the proposal itself was just from Westminster?
Is that just because the site itself is in Westminster Diocese?
I really don't have any idea - I am an interested parent, rather than part of the proposal itself. I can try and find out though.
I feel it was disgraceful for Andy to vote and he did not follow the example set by Beverly. As a representative of the Proposers of the School, the honourable thing would have been to not vote on the recommendation.
I respect that other people had their views and preferences , but the democratic process was to evaluate the views of the members of public, before taking a vote, rather than just following the party line.
Needs of Twickenham parents v Wants of Catholic parents. Cabinet agenda released allows 6 speakers again on each side. It will be interesting to see how the parents put their case and how much support they get from their schools and governors.
"the democratic process was to evaluate the views of the members of public" - No, this is not just what the O&S committe is all about - they would have been asking questions of the council officers only, as well as reading the reports if members of the public did not want to make statements.
The inclusion of CofE and Catholic representatives is enshrined in law.
As I have said before, as a co-opted member, Beverly would have had no vote anyway.
I can assure you, Andy Cole is one of the most honourable people you could wish to meet. I think it is disgracefu l that anyone would try and suggest otherwise.
Magic - You are undermining the views of the members of the public. They should be given same importance as that of Council officers in this case.
I am sure Andy is a honourable person, but I do not think his decision in this case was honourable
Suggest we draw a line under discussing individuals' decisions when they're not here to defend themseles. Jeev, I'm sure you could contact Mr Cole via Democratic Services if you wanted more explanation than he gave in his statement. You could also contact the council's monitoring officer via Democratic Services if you thought the legal advice he gave to Mr Cole wasn't correct.
From the RISC email this morning reporting the meeting:
. . What did become clear was the argument they will use to argue against our legal challenge, which is to claim that the Council does not consider there is a need for a Catholic school in the sense of meeting its statutory requirements, but it wants to have one in the borough. Theyre now saying that because the key clause in the Education Act says that a Council that thinks it needs a new school must first seek proposals for an Academy . .
The Catholics have a word for this kind of reasoning: Casuistry: The science, art, or reasoning of the casuist; that part of Ethics which resolves cases of conscience, applying the general rules of religion and morality to particular instances in which circumstances alter cases, or in which there appears to be a conflict of duties. *Often (and perhaps originally) applied to a quibbling or evasive way of dealing with difficult cases of duty*; sophistry.
. . c1740 Visct. Bolingbroke Idea Patriot King xi. 100 Casuistry . . destroys by Distinctions and Exceptions, all Morality, and effaces the essential Difference between Right and Wrong.
Jeev - you misunderstand the role of the O&S committee. The public are able to make representations only. The public's voice is important, of course, but when you said that the process was to evaluate the views of the public, this is simply not the case.
They were there to consider the report that was going to cabinet and decide whether to reccommend it.
I would just like to say I agree with Magic I think that Andy Cole more than justified his presence at that meeting with his initial speech. It was clear that he had carefully sought the advice of a number of people, which he outlined in that speech. As previously said we are a democracy where the voice of everybody should be heard. There were those that expressed that they were RISC supporters and had signed the petition against the Catholic school and they were not asked to leave and still allowed to vote. Both parties have clearly outlined where they stand so there really would have been no meeting at all if all these people were banned.
As somebody who was also present I would just like to say that I did respect the decision of the parent governor who abstained. She asked many very searching and sensible questions and obviously felt that she could see the arguments from both sides. As much as i would have loved for her to have voted in favour of the Catholic school I respect her decision because it clearly shows that she listened to the debate carefully and acted responsibly according to her conscience and the facts she had before her. I don't think we can ask any more of representatives on the council.
Please, please let us not go down the route of naming people and calling foul play. From where I was sitting the two sides spoke, were civil to each other and had plenty of time for questions, everybody had time to express their opinions. If you need further reaasurrance that everyones viewpoint was expressed I understand that all of the individual letters that were written to matthew paul regarding the consultation were also available to delegates and are still available to read on line.
So please let us keep this discussion to the point and focus on the topic not the people.
One very positve thing i feel came out of the meeting was that Councillor Hodges and Matthew paul etc discussed their plans for the bigger picture. Egerton road was discussed and it was clear that there is a planned schedule for the time to begin the full feasbility study. Talks have already been taking place with the college and they have been described as 'positive'. In additon the 4 free school proposals that have all made it through to the next stage were discussed and the hope for more free schools in future years in 2013,2014,2015, 2016 giving even greater choice for all parents was discussed. I think that there is so much exciting potential here for this borough and there is so clearly room for a variety of different educational choices. I hope that in the near future we can all start working together to make those dreams a reality for everyone as a family of schools
I am sick to death of reading that there is a wonderful chance for lots of free schools. There is only one decent site in Twickenham, which is the location where a new secondary school is needed, and that's Clifden Road. There isn't enough money or space for lots of free schools all over the place. Why would anyone want to work with the Catholic Church after the selfish and uncaring way it has behaved towards future generations of Twickenham children?
Lottie, Catholic children are also Twickenham and borough children too. The council is seeking to provide a greater choice across the family of schools. Free schools are not funded by the council but from seperate funds. Egerton road is half a mile away from Clifden and the plan I believe is for a larger 6 form entry school. I believe too that sports facilities may be better there than the Clifden site? You are not being asked to work with the Catholic church but other parents and children within the borough.
Were you at the meeting on Tuesday Lottie? Even Cllr Eady conceeded that a new school would not be needed until 2015 at the very earliest.
You seem determined not to accept any good news, as is your right I guess. Most other people are more than optomistic and confident in the great Free School applications.
Catholic schools are still working with non-Catholic schools right accross the borough, from the Queen's Jubilee celebrations to preparations for the Olympics and beyond. That will continue to happen at secondary level too.
I don't think it is selfish to continue to strive for our children to be educated in an in-borough Catholic school.
We all want what is best for our children, we just have different ideas about what that should look like.
Magic The Councils forecasts include 100 places at a Free School as early as 2013. The only Free School that could deliver that is the proposed Free School for Twickenham. They also assume that there will be fewer coming in from Hounslow (to our schools on the Middlesex side of the river) despite 450 more pupils leaving schools in Hounslow in 2015 than 2012, far exceeding their schools capacity and a 25% bulge in their birth rate. The Council's forecasts of no need rest on just 15 to 30 spare places at Twickenham Academy for the increasing number of Twickenham parents who will find themselves in black holes between the shrinking community school catchments. Once they are filled parents will have no choice but for their children to travel across the borough to Shene. Children are not like marbles used to fill up a jar to justify having bought it. The detriment to Shene School will be if it continues to be unable to attract local parents, Twickenham parents are even less likely to turn up to it if it involves a long journey. If they can afford it like so many parents in this borough they will feel forced to move or go private. I predict if Clifden Road is a Catholic School there will be a sudden surge in the number of parents willing to go through whatever hoops the local priest requires of them to recommend them for the school (and we both know those are not consistent) There are plenty of families like mine with a Catholic parent or heritage to rediscover.. But for some disadvantaged children (and the statistics show they are more likely to be non Catholic) it will be an excuse not to go to school at all. All of this will break up the commiunities that have formed in our childbirth classes, nurseries and primaries.
Of course Matthew Paul is going to say it will all be hunky dory, but ask the parents of children in South Hampton who are being sent out of borough because the Council failed to address a clear need, or the governors at Stanley he promised a rebuild 8 years ago. If that school is delivered the experience of non Catholic parents in Richmond is that it will more than likely be too little, too late.
If there is such a rich supply of sites and money to build new schools. I wonder why the Catholic Church doesn't go for a bigger site, where there is no risk it will be to the detriment of the needs of local children, and where it can have a bigger intake to meet demand? I am not against a Catholic School. I really hope the wants of the Catholic community are met but not at the expense of the wants and very possibly the needs of local parents.
I also do not understand why a Primary School is being crowded on to the small site when Matthew Paul, Education Officer of the Council accepts that there isn't sufficient demand for another Catholic Primary School here, whereas there is a shortage of primary places in non Catholic Schools that the ten community places will not solve (although I now understand why they were conceded). Could it be the shortage of space, sites and money for new schools?
I wasn't there, so can't really comment on the voting, but it was so close. I feel rather anxious about the implications of this. Mainstream non-faith schools can't be set up by an LA without a competition, and we may instead end up with a proliferation of small free schools that don't fit general needs, just niche 'wants'. If NLS4T gets approved and gets a really good site it would be a good thing and might reassure me a bit, but there are still hoops to jump. So LAs will be even more tempted to look to churches, mosques and synagogues to set up sustainably large enough schools for them. Fine if you're of the right faith, not so good if not.
I find it worryng, especially this 'wants but doesn't need' justification.
To be quite frank I couldn't care less about Catholic and non-Catholic schools working together on trivia like the Jubilee celebrations and Olympics. This is about children from my area being forced to travel long distances to RPA and, in a few years, having no place to go, and the Council spending £15 million of taxpayers money so that Catholic parents who want to avoid RPA and other local secondary schools can have a private school just for them. Copthall has once again very clearly set out the position. There is a need for another secondary school very soon that is open to all children. Whether it's needed in 2013, 2014 or 2015 is not enough to mean Clifden should be given to a privileged clique this year given the overall shortage of sites. Who knows what the study on Egerton Road will conclude. There is no obligation on the College to agree to being squashed into a smaller space to oblige Richmond Council. The impact of so many factors is still unknown that the Council is behaving utterly recklessly and should delay a decision until many relevant factors are clearer. I can only hope that they will be told to run a fair competition for the Clifden Road site when the matter reaches the High Court, although I'm sure they will still ultimately make the same decision if the Catholic Church proposes an Academy. I never had any faith that Lord True and his cronies and subordinates would decide anything other than to have a Catholic School but I am still very angry.
This year there are approx 150 children with no offer of a primary school place at all, obviously there is a huge need for new primaries open to all too and let's hope we have a new secondary by the time they progress through to that stage. I cannot understand why so many new sixth forms are proposed when there more pressing needs at an earlier stage.
The whole system seems so illogical...
Hear Hear Copthall , Lottie and Twix ! Well Said! I too am shocked and angry at how this issue is progressing with such a HUGE disregard for the majority of local children.
The councils OWN figures just "assume" there will be a free school in 2013, how crazy is that???
So, obviously Inclusive school places must be needed THEN, not later. Duh !
All the info I have read from the Council has been so biased it is very shocking. There is no justification for putting one minority's "preference" above other childrens' needs!! How could there ever be?
I am VERY curious what is the odd legal reason that was reported at the start of the meeting, to allow the Diocese representative to stay and vote??
I get the point that most people there already had a decided view before but how on earth legally was he permitted to stay ??
If he didn't have a prejudicial interest then when does anyone ever have one???
I know you say Bayjay to not discuss those who aren't here to defend themselves- I agree with you but I am questioning the process not the person.
I would like to find out from the council Democratic Services as you suggest, and I plan to contact the council's monitoring officer, I really want more info on this as I feel very strongly this was VERY wrong. I will do some more research tomorrow but if anyone can point me in the right direction let me know.
Finally, It seems very convenient that it is a 'NEED' for a Catholic school one minute when it suits the Council, then it becomes a 'WANT' another time just to suit a different arguement!! How convenient, to change so obligingly!
It is neither want or need, but a ridiculous out-dated idea by an utterly biased Council for their own small selfish self-interested group. Shocking.
I have been following this debate since about September of last year, but I lurk rather than post on MN. I have however just registered as I just can't let some of the things that are being said her today go without challenge...
A Catholic school has been promised for years, by both Liberal Democrats and Conservatives because so many Catholic children leave the borough each and every year.
Yes, some of them may end up attending their closest out of borough Catholic school but for MANY they will have really long journeys. My two sons have a journey of 1 hour and 45 minutes to school every day. Not because we have chosen a particular school, but because we were not allocated our closest Catholic secondary (St Marks) - this would still have been about a 40 minute journey.
I can't imagine that anyone travelling from anywhere in Richmond would have a journey of anywhere like 105 mins to a borough school.
If all of the schools in Richmond were deemed to be outstanding then I doubt anyone would be complaining about their travel time to RPA or Hampton or Whitton, indeed many travel already, for example, from Kew or Sheen each day to Waldegrave, because it is an OUTSTANDING SCHOOL!
At the same time many of you have implied that Catholics should 'suck it up' in regards to travel you go on to say that it will not be fair if your children have to do the same.
This is a quality issue, not just a quantity issue and I think that if you are honest with yourselves you will admit to that. There is nothing wrong with wanting the best, but don't try and hide behind 'long journey times'.
We are all different, we all want different things from our schools. I wanted a school for my children where their faith was respected, encouraged and had an opportunity to blossom. Education is far more than the ABC's. Catholic children are Richmond children who have felt ignored for far too long.
I do understand where some of the frustrations of non-Catholics has come from, but for most this comes from not wanting to attend underperforming schools and I understand that. I have spent a lot of time at Whitton School (before it was Twickenham Academy) as an unpaid volunteer in the past -and yes, if it had been a Catholic school I would have sent my children there.
Moving on to the issue of Free Schools, if the Twickenham Free School is approved, then it will be found a site by the Department of Education. If it is not approved then it would not have been able to have the Clifden Road site anyway!
As has been said by many others earlier in this thread, there is a wonderful chance here for all of us to be happy and I struggle to understand why anyone would want to deny that.
I will leave you now to rip my post apart, you are all far more elequent than me, but that does not, necessarily mean that you are right.
Councils has always said that there is need for Catholic schools and consultation was based on that. So were we consulted on need and not want
JustJoined, I partly agree with you (and wouldn't rip your post apart even if I didn't)
I think that both the entrance criteria for Catholic and Community schools are unfair because they don't give everyone who would like their child to attend the school an equal chance to do so.
I think the Catholic school entrance criteria are unfair because they give preference to one religious group. Wandering slightly off topic I particularly don't like the way that at primary school level non Catholic siblings don't get priority as this can cause real problems for parents of this age group having to manage two drop offs and pick ups. Often the non Catholic parents haven't chosen the school either but have been assigned it after a bulge class was added.
However I think that the sense of unfairness expressed on this forum is disproportionate given that the proposed alternative is admission based on distance.
Given that secondary school aged children can easily make a bus journey (I seem to remember it being quite fun when I was at school) why should parents get priority for a school just because they happen to live close to a suitable site for a secondary school when one is started or have enough money to buy/rent their way in where a school is already established?
It seems to me that most people's definition of fair, just comes down to will my child get into this school or not?
Personally I think that a lottery based system would be fairest but I can't imagine it ever being popular because it would remove the option to improve your child chances of attending a good school through buying/renting/church attending.
So given that the status quo of distance or faith based admissions is not likely to change any time soon I would like to see the Catholic school offering more places to non Catholics and the proposed Twickenham Free school offering some places to children in other parts of the borough
Nicole12, I can understand your point of view. What is unacceptable about this Catholic school is its 100% exclusive admissions - if it had had a similar open places policy to Christ's that might have been a fairer compromise. Any discussion of that in the meeting?
I think perhaps you are right that many of those in e.g. Sheen or Kew would have become interested if there was another secondary option they had a chance of.
Another voice we have not really heard on this thread is support for the Swedish academies. Why, when the LibDems set them up, did they not also consider a wider catchment area considering that it is a niche methodology? Do we know in what consortia they are going to organise their very small sixth forms, by the way?
Just joined I take your points but this is no longer just a debate about quality, because catchment areas have shrunk, will shrink more once the link system goes and and will shrink more when the pupil bulge comes through. And just as there are people who chose to travel to Waldegrave (but actually now n most of Central Twickenham, and certainly Shene and Kew, won't get in because they are outside the two catchments, priority and secondary. http://www.richmond.gov.uk/waldegrave_admissions.pdf ) there are even more who choose to travel to Oratory, I never heard any of my daughter's boyfriends complain about the journey, and I spent a lot of time with them in cars taking my turn transporting them from Carsholton, Hampstead and beyond in the wee small hours...
But what is proposed is that parents will have no choice but for a long journey to Shene, and that might well mean a 15/ 20 min walk/ busride to the station, then they have to get through the police patrolled Richmond College scrum to the platform, a 15 min train ride and 20 min walk / bus ride at the other end to a school that isn't local. If you volunteered at Whitton I am sure you understand the implications.
muminlondon One of the members of the committee did indeed suggest that they should be allowed to vote on an option which suggested 50% admissions but that was dismissed, they were only allowed to vote on the VA exclusive proposals. I don't think that would have changed the outcome , if the Vineyard governor had then felt able to vote again ( and many Vineyard parents feel very let down by how she didn't vote) the Conservative Chairman would still have had the casting vote, unless of course the diocean representative had felt as Beverley Saunders did that even though he was a volunteer, as she is, he had a prejudicial interest... But then as magic says it is all predetermined because at Cabinet they will vote on party lines. You really don't sense when communicating with individual Councillors that they think the issue is as totally cut and dried as all the reports and votes suggest but for the sake of their political futures they have to do what they are told...
One thing we can take from this is that the Free School team are acting not just with passion but with the utmost integrity and that bodes well for our community's children, if they get funding and a good site near the heart of our community.
And Nicole 12 I understand the admissions policy of the free school for Central Twickenham is likely not just to be on distance but aimed at getting a representative cross section of our community. It might not help if you want your child to schlep over from Shene but it won't help if you pay squillions to live in my house ;-) (I should shut up and just take the money whichever way it goes shouldn't I!)
Just to say Copthall resident (as I hear your concern about a potential train journey to RPA and overcrowding at the station.)As an alternative it is also possible to reach using the 33 bus in a similar time. From King street it is about a 35 minute journey and then a 7 minute walk the other end. I used to get that bus every day when I worked on the other side of the borough and lived in Twickenham. I travelled too with many girls making the journey to Waldegrave from there and it wasn't a bad journey.
However I do genuinly hope that with the potential of new free schools, the proposed catholic secondary and the planned new community school in Egerton road that there will be other options closer to home for everyone across the borough.
The promoters of the free school for Central Twickenham report: . . as free school proposers we are not in a position to enter any negotiations over sites. That process is handled by a Government Agency after approval. We were required to express a preference for a site in our application. We named Clifden Road as an obvious first choice as it already has a viable school building on it, and may have been available. We also named an exciting second choice, but we havent published details of that because we dont yet know if it is viable, and the information may be commercially sensitive. Of course we will send out more information as soon as we can.
. . They must wait until July or August to find out if their application has been successful and the Twickenham Free School can open in September 2013.
Just a quick note to those worried about the difficult journey to RPA from Twickenham. Catch the 33 bus. It's easy, pleasant and free. Why not admit its about the quality of RPA and not the journey.
Well done for my fellow Catholics who refrain from giving a rise to all the insults to our faith and need of a Catholic secondary on this thread.
Lets calm it down everybody. I know feelings are running high, but lets continue to respect everyone else's viewpoints.
noUggscuse - nobody is insulting your faith here. The debate is about school admissions, not faith.
In the last 24 hours it has been called selfish, self interested, etc. not offensive? Really?
noUggscuse, the faith hasn't been called those names. Just the admission policy. Its a sensitive issue, and its very easy for people to try and dismiss other people's views by calling them "anti faith". That is what the council tried to do at the start of the debate. Most people, including the council, now recognise that the debate is about admissions only.
NoUggscuse, I am a fellow catholic but also a Risc supporter, most people involved are certainly not anti-faith, but anti-faith schools with 100% faith based admissions. It is absolutely a question of quality, but on both sides. Whilst on this forum there are some committed and practising Catholics my experience with my own family, friends and neighbours is that they are using religion to access good schools and soon abandon church going/choir singing/volunteering once a school place is gained. St Catherine's, the private Catholic school in Twickenham has open admissions and good bursaries for disadvantaged children and seems to me a perfect example of how any new faith school should be run. It is the fact that the proposed school seems to want to actively avoid a mixed intake in line with new regulations which is upsetting so many people here.
I think trust in the Council is plummeting amongst large number of parents. I was talking to a group of mums in Teddington last night who have young children and live in roads that have always been within the Collis Primary school catchment area 5 mins walk from the school. All of the four year olds in those roads (at least 10) have no offer of a primary school place at all this Autumn for the first time ever due to the rise in births and demand in the state system. This isn't about them being too posh for Stanley: the Council is telling them it has no idea where their kids are going to go to school. Yet they see the Council putting its efforts and £15 million of their council tax into a school that their children and 90% of other children will never be able to go to. These are also families who also want the best for their children and have struggled to buy a small house in what they thought was a location that would ensure they got a place at a local school that they could walk to before getting on the train to work etc. Not much to ask. Basic needs for everyone have to be met before we create bastions of privilege for the few using limited public money. I can't understand why the Catholics behind this school idea don't accept that and realise the damage they are doing to the broader cause of Catholicism by pressing on with a plan that is causing more anti-Catholic feeling than I ever would have dreamed of in an area like LB Richmond.
Bay Jay I sadly do have to agree with the feelings of Nouggscuse. I think comments such as :-
Why would anyone want to work with the Catholic Church after the selfish and uncaring way it has behaved towards future generations of Twickenham children?
are deeply hurtful and do cast a punch at the Catholic faith. Now I know that in that case it was a mum that was upset speaking and so as far as i am concerned that is gone. But let us please acknowledge feelings on both sides
Now on a more positive note I am absolutely delighted to hear your exciting news of another potential site for the Free school. That is wonderful and I wish you well with it!
Just to say yesterday in all the debate we forgot to welcome Justjoined. So Justjoined welcome and thank you for sharing your thoughts and expereinces with us all. I know it does take courage to stand up and say what you believe and I think all of us have deep respect for you for doing this. I am so sorry to hear about the awful journey your boys do to school every day, thank you so much for sharing that and for trying to make a difference for others.
Mir4, thanks for your good wishes.
I know it might seem pedantic when you're on a different side to the argument, but criticism of the Catholic Church (in this case specifically the Diocese of Westminster) is not the same thing as criticism of the Catholic faith or criticism of Catholics in general. There is a very big difference.
However, I would ask everyone (on both sides) to be careful with their use of language, because one hasty comment misinterpreted can cause a lot of unnecessary damage to otherwise powerful arguments.
Hear Hear Bay Jay, we must all remain polite even with feelings running high, but it is most definately the admissions policy of this proposed catholic school that IS in everyway you can look at it, selfish, as it provides for one self-interest group only. That is a fact.
As was said eariler it is shocking that non-catholic siblings in a familiy whose child has to accept a Catholic school place, possibly as it is the only one available, will then be prioritised lower than new Catholic families to the school. How could a Mum manange collecting a 5 yr old from one school and a 6 yr old from another at the same time?? crazy.
That is a selfish and stupid admission policy.
It is so easy to cry 'anti-faith' but I have no problem with anyone practising their own faith but don't ask for state funding to help pass it on to your child.
If there was a school that said (1) "No Catholics Allowed" there, would be quite rightly an outrage!!
And yet in these Modern times it is permissible to Say (2) " No non-Catholics allowed" as a actual real-life admission policy!
Clearly both would be total Discrimination. Difference is no one is ever suggesting the first one!
I have many Catholic Friends who are against this school proposal. They were raised in Catholic Families but they don't schools to be based on what their parents do on a Sunday morning.
France and Italy I believe manage very well with tolerant and happy catholic Communities without state funding and segregated schooling. To segregate children based on parents beliefs is unfair and will always be unfair.
What if a child of eleven has decided he disagreed with his parents faith?
Say he decides he does not want to go to a Catholic School, but his parents attend church and get the forms filled in by priest.
Then he will be sent to the new School against his wishes! Crazy.
Children are not blind robots who follow their parents blindly so the council should not support parents who want to decide their childrens own views for them but the Council should support non-discriminatory, fair Schools.
If France and Italy don't "need" State Catholic schools then of course WE DO NOT either
I am still very shocked why a Catholic representative did not opt out of the meeting. NO-one can answer my question earlier: If he was not biased when does it ever apply??
I find your tone really difficult to manage if I am honest. I will try and answer some of your points, not because, for one minute I think I can change your mind, but because there may be more lurkers (like JustJoined) on this thread and I would like them to see some alternative points of view.
You try and present things as fact you are articulate, but JustJoined is right, that does not mean that you are correct.
The lines between fact and opinion seem to be blurred, mainly because, for both sides we can support our argument with statistics and evidence that is not supported by the other sides.
You are right when you say that the admissions policy is geared towards Catholic families. This is because there is no other Catholic secondary school in the borough. If there were, if Richmond Catholic children had another school here that met their needs I dont think for one minute that the admissions policy would be as is proposed. But, there is no other school.
Where you are wrong is that the school says no non-Catholics allowed. This would be illegal. If there is space, Catholic schools should and do welcome children of all faiths (and none). But why would a Catholic school turn away Catholic children just because a quota of Catholics had been reached?
You keep saying it is selfish but I dont see it as selfish to want my children to be educated in-borough.
1:7 primary schools in this borough are Catholic; I do not see why it should be an issue for 1:9 or indeed 1:10 secondary schools to be so.
You however clearly are against all forms of state funding for faith schools. That is your right, but here, in the UK state funding for faith schools exists and is supported by the majority of parents.
I could argue (given that the council have clearly said that to have a community school on the Clifden Road site now would be detrimental to the parents throughout the borough who will continue to have no choice but to attend one of the academies) that those parents in the vicinity of central Twickenham are being selfish. I think that many people are scared about the prospect, if they do not get into Orleans, of having to attend one of the academies.
As has been said earlier, this is a quality issue. Many parents are working hard to try and improve the educational outcomes for all of the children in this borough.
I do however agree with you that, if non-Catholic children are allocated a Catholic school, then the sibling policy should extend to them in future years. I can see that it would be incredibly difficult to manage multiple primary school-runs.
I dont think that you would find many Catholic families disagreeing with you on this point.
In terms of what happens with an 11 year old, well I guess that there will be as many differences of opinion in Catholic families as in non-Catholic families.
My father made the choice of school for me based on the information that was available to him at the time. I absolutely wanted to go to the local comp he was having none of it and I travelled across my town to what my father thought was a better school. Non-faith by the way and not in this area.
Some families will be guided by the preferences of their children when choosing secondary schools. Others will make the decisions for their children. These dilemmas are the same in (for example) Humanist families as they are in Catholic families. Would you not agree?
My friend wanted her daughter to go to Waldegrave, her daughter wanted Orleans as this was where her best friend was going. As far as I am aware she will start Waldegrave in September. These debates go on in all families.
Now, for your final point again going back to Andy Cole.
It was no surprise that Andy supports Catholic schools. Just as it was no surprise that those parent governors who were known to support Risc did not support a Catholic school.
Andy is the representative of Southwark, not Westminster.
He has not drawn up the proposals nor is he party to any information that is not in the public domain.
He took legal advice, not only from the Local Authority, but also from the Diocese of Southwark prior to coming to his decision to remain in the meeting.
His position is very different from that of Beverly Saunders as she is a Director of the NFS4T. She will be party to information which is not in the public domain. She has a vested interest in the outcome. Andy Cole supports the school, but has no vested interest. He has nothing personal to gain.
I think it's certainly very true that people are worried about the quality of many of the borough's secondary schools, but I don't think you can discount the very real problem that families are already encountering at primary level of getting ANY place at all. You only need to have met one person going through this trauma to understand why so many people are genuinely terrified of going through it all again when their children reach secondary school.
I still can't quite get my head around at a time of recession and rising birth rates that our council's education department is prioritising its spending on a "want" rather than a "need"!
On the subject of inclusive admission policies, lottery systems really mustn't be the way forward. Parents of the most disadvantaged children will be much more likely to choose their local school, so will apply to the school on their doorstep even though it might be the worst. Equally more affluent families will look elsewhere such as private schooling if they are allocated a poor school (as already happens). The result would be that the highly regarded schools can only become more polarised in their intake. Even worse, a proportion of the disadvantaged children on the doorsteps of these schools won't get in. These children can often have poor attendance anyway, imagine the result of trying to send them half way across the borough! The only solution can be to ensure both sensible mixed housing policies as well as working towards a greater uniformity in standards of all the schools.
Well done No uggscuse, Mir 4 etc. Lets make the debate about the emotional and personal and avoid addressing the rational. Actually I am feeling pretty emotional myself today because one Steve Joyce, I do hope he is on here, was clearly far too busy humming U2 to himself to listen to a word of the carefully composed and rehearsed and nervously given, case that I put forward on Tuesday, not one word of my argument was written from a Humanist perspective, indeed I think I made it pretty clear I am not anti Catholic because I married one, yet he has decided to lump all six of the diverse group of speakers against the school as a "bunch of humanists" in his letter to RTT. I have great respect for Humanists, the ones I have met have been very principled people and one delivered a fantastically moving and healing service for my Catholic friend who lost her Jewish husband. However I am not, and actually what I am, apart from a parent who has been through the trauma the Borough of Richmond subjects it's parents to, is irrelevent. What it does show is that some Catholics just are not prepared to listen to anyone else's views, to empathise with the fact that without the additional choices that Catholics already have many parents in this borough have found themselves, or face finding themselves, at primary and secondary level, without school places that are reasonably local, and not categorised by Ofsted as failing their pupils, and that is why they are angry to see one group priviledged with exclusive school places. Instead they choose to think we are all rabidly and irrationally anti Catholic!
Back to the rational. Actually the Sheen parents I know of girls who went to Waldegrave did think that journey was hard on their daughters, it wasn't just the 33 (whose secret in doing the journey in 35 mins in rush hour I need to know since I allow 20 minutes each just for the Richmond Bridge and Clifford Avenue bottlenecks) but fighting with the Hampton and Mall boys and LEH girls to get on the inadequate R70 (they don't walk not even from the Sussex Arms!). They wouldn't have that option now anyway, the catchment has shrunk back to Manor Road. However it is an entirely different thing to decide that a journey is justified by the nature of the school at the other end, be it because of faith, quality or gender, versus the local option of school, and for Richmond Council to decide to inflict that journey on children in order to fill up a school at the other end of the borough until such time that it overcomes the negative perceptions of local residents. For disadvantage pupils that will just add to their problems.
You are right when you say that the admissions policy is geared towards Catholic families. This is because there is no other Catholic secondary school in the borough. If there were, if Richmond Catholic children had another school here that met their needs I dont think for one minute that the admissions policy would be as is proposed.
What an utterly ridiculous assertion. If there were another Catholic secondary in the borough then the new school proposal would never have been made let alone called for!
The reason for the proposed admission policy is, of course, very simple. It is because there are insufficient desirable places in Twickenham. There is therefore a well founded fear that a new Catholic school might appeal to large numbers of non-Catholics purely to a)avoid the academies; b) not have to pay private fees; or c) move house.
Which is why, although I would very happy to see the provision of a new Catholic secondary school - I believe that provision of sufficient quality community places must come first. And if that were the case then there would be no need to have exclusive admission policies which only serve to undermine the faith.
LittleMrsMuppet - the idea is not to keep out non-Catholics - that in itself is more than ridiculous. It is to try and ensure that Catholic children have a Catholic school, in-borough to attend.
There are a sufficient number of places available. Quality is a different issue and it is why I have consistently said that, if RPA, TA and HA were all seen to be desirable, we would not be having this debate.
MAGIC, you just said "You keep saying it is selfish but I dont see it as selfish to want my children to be educated in-borough." Er, Actually you already have the option to educate your child in Borough now! There are schools available.
What you are asking for is an EXTRA option of a tailor-made specific School that exactly matches your personal faith, in Borough.
I simply don't understand why you should get that extra option of a specific school, but say, a Jewish or Muslim or Humanist or anyone else has no chance of the same Option? I'd still love an answer to that, as I've asked before.
OK some people such as yourself may think all our children need, very targeted education that matches and supports their parents particular faith, ok but then....... by any rules of logic and fairness,......those same people should support other specific schools eg Jewish, Muslim, Humanist, Atheist also.
How can one be fair without the others? So logically all our children would be divided up, segregated, depending on their parents views. Totally crazy.
I still say it is selfish to demand a specific school dedicated to your own minority......... whilst not recognising lots of other parents have preferences too.
It is like saying YOUR preferences matter but all other parents' preferences do NOT! That is illogical and so unfair.
Lets all demand good quality local schools for our children to learn and develop a community together free from ALL discrimination. We do not 'need' segregation of children or adults.
It is quite possible by the way that, particularly if there is a Judicial Review that the school on the Clifden Road site may not be able to open it's doors before 2014 anyway.
The Free School could be up and running in 2013 on a different site, so you will get your community places first.
I think that you will find, that in areas with high Jewish or Muslim populations for example, schools to meet their faith needs are already being looked at.
Someone even suggested on Tuesday night that perhaps the Humanists would want to make a Free School application.
The Catholic population are the only minority group that has consistently asked for a school in-borough. We are (I believe) the only minority who could consistently, year on year fill a secondary school of this size.
I would have no problem with other groups wishing to set up schools if there was the demand for them.
Perhaps I am unusual in that I am not selfish enough to say that "If my children can't attend then no way"
Magic....... of course if your own needs are being prioritised above everyone else's, it is perhaps easy to be generous. Just because the Catholic Minority is big enough to fill one school does not make it right.
I think it would be VERY sad if we were to see more segregation in our schools. I think it is a very divisive view of society.
Of course 90 to 95% of what schools do is non-religious you know Maths, English PE, science, so logically it makes no sense to replicate this in a whole host of segregated schools. Financially it makes no sense!
In times of recession every tax payers pound should meet important "needs" first, and indulge preferences later... We have more in common than we do differences so why not let our children learn together??
Magic, you are playing with semantics. You know very well that the only way to be certain that all Catholics across the borough can have access to this school is by prioritising them over non-Catholics living closer to it. This can effectively keep out non-Catholics. It is what currently happens in our borough primaries.
Your scenario seems unlikely to me. I've no idea of the technicalities, but if the the Catholic school didn't get the go-ahead for 2013 (for whatever reason) and the free school did, then the council would be probably find it hard to continue justifying giving the site to the Catholic church, surely?
LittleMrsMuppet - if there is a Judicial Review, it could go on for months. This could well delay any school on the Clifden Road site for a long time.
Meanwhile, if the Free School gets the go-ahead in July/August, with the Clifden Road site tied up in bureaucracy if they wanted to open by 2013 they would need to look at their alternative site.
The council are saying that they would like BOTH schools, not one or the other.
TwoCotBeds - believe it or not, I would support a variety of schools regardless of whether the Catholic school gets the go-ahead.
If there were enough children who could fill a school which specialises in say, Maths, I would support that too. It does not have to be just about faith. I have taken part in activities to support secondary schools in this borough despite not being able to attend them.
I get the feeling that you would wish to portray me as something that I am not and you are doing yourself no favours.
We will have to wait to find out what/where this "other site" is. But it will almost certainly be more expensive and time consuming to develop than Clifden Road. It seems likely that the free school would have to open on a temporary site (as with the West London Free School) if it got funding for 2013 whilst a permanent one was secured & developed.
If the council genuinely wants both schools, then I don't understand the need to rush through the proposals for a Catholic Secondary. Would it not therefore have made sense to at least do an evaluation of which site is most suited to each proposal? Why it couldn't have held a competition? Then the loser could still have tried for free school funding.
The Agenda andPapers for the May 24 Cabinet meting have been published. If you wish to speak, you should contact the Assistant Head of Democratic Services by 2.00pm on 23 May 2012 stating which item you wish to speak on.
On the legal issue, cabinet paper Use Of Clifden Road Site says:
. . 4.6 Another feature of the Councils secondary school forecasts that has been challenged in some quarters is the forecast number of out-borough residents who take up places. However, current data and developments do not support that challenge. The graphs in Appendix 3 to this report demonstrate that the proportion of out-borough pupils has decreased from 37 % to 33 % in the last five years, representing a total decrease of 649 pupils.
It is probable that the continued provision of additional school places in neighbouring local authorities including Bolingbroke Academy in Wandsworth, the Reach Academy free school in Feltham and the expansion of existing schools in Hounslow (including almost 90 additional places at Cranford, Gumley House, Heston and Lampton in 2013) will lead to a further decrease in the next few years, in keeping with the forecasts in the Clifden Road consultation document.
It is also the case that at the initial allocations stage, on 1 March this year, of the Year 7 offer process for September 2012 entry, there were 159 spare places in Hounslow schools, which indicates that the demographic pressures in Hounslow will not impact upon their provision of secondary school places for some time yet.
4.7 The view of officers remains therefore that, whilst there is high demand for Catholic secondary school places in the borough, there is not a need to establish a new secondary school (emphasis added). There are sufficient places at present, and to seek to open a new school providing additional community places in 2013 could create too much community school provision and therefore present poor value for money . .
. . 10. Legal Implications:
10.1 The Council has a duty under section 14 of the Education Act 1996 to ensure that sufficient schools are available for its area for providing primary and secondary education and to exercise its functions under that section with a view to securing diversity in the provision of schools and increasing opportunities for parental choice.
10.2 The Education Act 2011 introduced a new section to the Education and Inspections Act 2006, section 6A, in force from 1 February 2012. This section requires that if a local authority thinks a new school needs to be established (emphasis added) in their area, they must seek proposals for an Academy. As set out in paragraphs 4.7 and 4.8 above, officers view is that, whilst use of the Clifden Road site for the proposed Catholic Schools is recommended to meet strong demand for such schools in the borough, there is not currently a need for a new school to be established and it is not advised therefore that the Council is currently required to seek proposals for an academy on the Clifden Road site . . (emphasis added)
A temporary surplus of places in Hounslow will not dissuade those near Richmond from applying to Richmond's schools. In fact, there is obviously a fear (see Nov minutes e.g. here) that the more popular new academies are increasing their admission numbers unaterally, which will adversely affect other schools. The whole halo effect/seesaw thing swings into action and it could send even more Hounslow pupils looking at Richmond schools as alternatives. Councils will have no control over this.
Interesting to read that Gumley was in breach of the admsssions code by increasing its PAN without even telling the council. With a new Catholic school in Richmond some of the surplus places could be in Catholic schools in the interim.
Chris - Thanks for that. But throughout this debate and in the consultation the Council kept us telling there is a need for Catholic primary and secondary schools. So if that is not the case now as they claim in Cabinet papers, the public was misled during the consultation.
Jeev - have a read of the consutation paper that was produced for the consultation - it says nothing different to that expressed by the council now.
Consultation on the use of Clifden Road
They acknowledge a rising demand for places over the next five years and the 'need to provide for that demand'. Who decides priority of 'wants' if two proposals are approved formally by different bodies, e.g. the LA approves the VA and the free school is approved by the DfE ? Surely the DfE decides ultimately? In the event all of this happens but the 2nd site is too expensive, I don't see how the council can prove that it 'needs' to reserve Clifden for the Catholic school.
I think that the significance of this report is that it makes clear that this distinction between ?needs? and ?wants? is the only defence that the Council will offer when the matter comes to a judge for judicial review. I had expected that there would be something more substantial derived from the various Acts and Regulations that may overlap and even contradict each other.
We will unfortunately have to wait some weeks, maybe months, to find out whether this defence stands up in court or not:
. . 11. If the parties cannot agree a settlement, the Defendant must file and serve, within 35 days of service of the order granting permission, its detailed grounds for contesting the claim and any written evidence such as witness statements it wants to rely on.
12. In due course a hearing will take place when a Judge will consider the matter fully. This can be several months from when the claim was first issued. It is usual for both parties to be represented by barristers. The hearing can last from a couple of hours to several days depending on the complexity of the case. There is usually no oral evidence.
13. Usually the court gives a fully reasoned decision some weeks after the hearing, but this will be done more quickly in urgent cases.
14. Either party can appeal against the Court's decision to the Court of Appeal. All cases require permission to appeal, and if the application for permission is not made at the conclusion of the case, the application for permission to appeal must be made to the Court of Appeal Civil Division within 14 days . .
Both sides seems very confident but only one can win.
If they now say that there is no need for catholic schools just a want then they are changing the argument they consulted us upon . I am sure even the catholic supporters agree there is a need
Thanks to those who suggested that Bus no 33 is an easy way to get to RPA. RPA is a double edged sword. If it gets better, as it seems like, it will be filled with kids from local primaries. We will have no chance of getting a place there, irrespective of whether we take Bus 33 or take our our SUVs
If RPA does not attract local kids, it wil be because parents are concerned about quality. In which case no one from here would anyway want to send their kids there.
I am joining this thread to share the views of someone who is local and in the education sector. Local parents have expressed lot of discomfort about the Council plans. Irony is that even if teachers agree with the parents concern, they are not in the position to speak up against the Councils plans. I hope there is respect and understanding for that delicate position from everyone.
Governors are there to represent the interest of the parents. They should do their duty of responding to parents concerns. If they do not agree with the Council's plans, they should let the Council know that they are making a mistake. I have heard a number of them saying what they feel is right in private but fail to show open support for their parents.
ConcParent I agree with what you say. A lot of parents feel very very let down by governors who are supposed to represent their views.
I feel it is very unfair that most non-catholic schools stayed neutral and refused to help the inclusive school side of things, whereas Catholic schools and churches had a huge base on which to hand out consultation forms and rally loads of support. This is very unbalanced.
I think it is people are very scared of apprearing to show discrimination
..... which is so ironic, because the proposed unfair school is the most discriminatory it could possibly be. with its 100% one religious group priority over everyone else.
ConcParent Why is it that teachers or education staff cannot speak up? Is it because they feel it would harm their career? Shocking!
I was really shocked to learn that Faith Schools are allowed to discriminate on employing staff!! They legally can ask someone their their Religion or none and use that to decide whether to hire someone!!!
In an interview It is illegal to ask if a woman plans to have children but you can ask someone if they belief in God. Allah, Zeus or whatever or nothing ?!!? That is wrong and I really feel it is so unfair to teachers.
Non-religious teachers should get our support and their union should help stop this stupid discrimination of employement and of childrens admissions.
Welcome to the thread concparent - and thanks for your input.
Taking a step sideways slightly onto the effects of removing the Linked School Policy, I know a while ago people were wondering if any modelling had been done to show the effects on Orleans Park. Somebody has sent me a presentation that Matthew Paul did for parents at St Mary's primary during the Linked School consultation, which has a little more information than was in the consultation documentation. A copy of the presentation was sent out to all St Mary's parents by Parentmail, but its not published on the web as far as I can tell. I don't think Mumsnet has a way of uploading documents, so I've put it here.
The key bit of info is on slide 8, which says "The cut-off distance would probably be c.1,800 metres (north to Hounslow border; west to Heath Rd bridge)".
However, the predictions come with a health warning. It should be remembered that they are based on modelling the 2011 application data, showing what would have happened if the links weren't in place. The problem is that if the links weren't in place, people may have made different choices (e.g. more children from non-linked primaries may have chosen Orleans Park, reducing the catchment even further).
Here is a link to Abolishing the ?linked schools? system: who gains? who loses? A forecast for Orleans Park by "A concerned resident":
" . . 2. Pupils who were at one of the former link schools but live more than about 1.5 km away would definitely not get into OPS. Matthew Paul [the Council officer who oversee admissions] suggests that north St Margaret's "should be" within the catchment, but I don't think he has taken into account the expected large number of applications from parents of children at the Vineyard (not currently linked) and also people who move into the area near the school - just as people do to get into Orleans Infant School. Demographic changes are predicted further to impact on places. I therefore believe that people north of the A316 with children at link schools have real grounds for apprehension."
The St Mary's document forecasts the number from the Vineyard school getting places to be 10 - 15.
Interesting points about parent governors representing parents' interests.
Other posters have expressed surprise that church diocese representatives should be allowed a vote on the education committee. The admissions forum also has church representation, as well as reps from other LAs. Some may have voted against or abstained from the link policy vote according to the minutes. Parent governors aren't in the majority but it would have been very understandable if they had voted for or against, in the interests of their school. Political representatives, on the other hand, even if they were also school governors, should have taken a more objective view, and some responsibility, as they have had plenty of opportunities to come up with a better way of making the policy work more fairly , e.g. allowing some percentage allocation on distance so there was still a chance for schools to form new links.
I believe the Kingston representative argued against abolishing the link policy - which is a bit strange for an LA that is supposed to be building its own school yet doesn't have a policy that would prioritise Richmond pupils in the same way - but I don't know who voted what, including how the church representatives voted. Certainly Catholic parents wrote in to protest about the link policy.
Twocotbeds - The community and CoE primaries have remained neutral (apart from Stanley governors). I can understand the dilemma the teachers face, reflecting the fact that the Council is their employer.
On the other hand the Catholic primaries which are also Council-funded have been strident in their support for the Catholic secondary, with support from the churches and the Diocese.
I do agree that Governors need to exhibit fearless behavior and protect the interest of their students. The need to be open about whether they agree or do not agree with the Council's plan and help address the parents concerns.
Parents are entitled to recieve an explaination from them on their actions or inactions.
From the Council's website
" Governors play a vital role in the success of these schools. Their responsibilities encompass the direction and conduct of a school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement and securing the welfare of its pupils ".
"There are three parent governor representative positions within Richmond upon Thames. Their role is to represent the views of parents at Education Overview and Scrutiny Committee and *to communicate with parents about issues relating to education in the borough*".
I wonder if the Vineyard Governors decision to not vote represented the views of the school parents and what sort of communication do they will receive from her.
I would hope as you say that governors do give feedback on these matters. I don't understand or agree with that particular decision either. Shame there isn't a webcast. It does occur to me at the same time that on these committes there aren't many voices from parents or teachers yet strong representation from politicians and churches. It doesn't seem well balanced.
The actual decision will be taken by the councillors who comprise the council cabinet; they were elected by the electors of the borough in 2010 to take such decisions and will be accountable for them at the election two years from now.
The scrutiny's committee is purely advisory. Its primary tasks are to scrutinise (1) the process of council decision making and (2) how well or badly the council's policies are working out in practice. It is very unusual for them to be asked to vote on a proposed policy before it is implemented. An adverse vote would embarrass the Council cabinet slightly but would not be enough to get them to change their minds on May 24.
The cabinet council officers and diocese are in this together . Hence opposing arguments are not accepted and rules are being bent.
Thanks for sharing the Powerpoint BayJay. Are we able to see the figures regarding Y7 2012 entry for the other borough schools anywhere1q?
Hi Cat2405. You can get the 2012 offer data from the DfE website here. The council hasn't published any analysis of the numbers yet, so maybe Mumsnetters will get there first.
If you meant data relating to modelling of a hypothetical non-link situation for 2012, then I don't expect there are any plans to do that.
I find it odd that whether there is a "need" for a school seems to be being judged purely on whether there is a "need" for it in 2013, the first possible year that it could open, and not on whether there will be a "need" for it in the fairly short term future which could be 2014, 2015 or 2016. From what I have read about the RACC redevelopment plans in Richmond it doesn't seem at all clear that they will have done the building work there and have moved out of Clifden in time for Clifden to be converted back into a secondary school and ready to open in September 2013, although I suppose with only a limited intake of 150 they will be able to shift around the buildings more easily to the sound of drilling and hammering elsewhere on the site!
Would be interesting to see the admissions data for this Autumn but no doubt the Council still thinks that lots of children are going to drop out and go private like they are going to do in primary schools freeing up 170 places.
I have to say, all through this debate I've been considering priority of needs. With places reserved in Hounslow schools, and more places than there are resident Catholics in other nearby boroughs, I just couldn't see a need for the school. The main 'want' I can understand is for places in a nearby Catholic co-ed school.
I can't see how the council can deny that Clifden was bought to address needs though: 'Whether the school is Catholic or not it will help to address the need for more places in our borough for all and there is a growing need for more school places in the Twickenham area.' Lord True, 05/09/2011.
Thanks BayJay, but what I was really after was the specific figures for the LBRuT schools. Can we, for example, see in this year's application/admissions figures if the academies are rising in popularity with parents? Can we see if the figures match the forecasts/predictions made by the council? I'm a bit surprised that these figures haven't been published before the meeting this week, as they do seem quite relevant to the current issues.
The figures were published last year in the back of the secondary school admission booklet, which went online late June/early July 2011, IIRC. So we may have to wait until that time this year to be able to analyse them.
Cat2405, sorry, without looking at properly it I assumed that link gave school-level data, but you're right that its only LA level data.
Last year the council published the school-level stats for Scrutiny in April. That hasn't happened so far this year. There was no April meeting because of the upcoming election, and the May meeting was a special one for the Clifden Road issue.
A friend has sent me, by chance, the source for birth rate figures by borough: Births by birthplace of mother: 2010 18 May 2012 Intelligence Update 09-2012. It goes back to 2001, 10 years, a long time in the life of our fast changing metropolis. Here are:
Borough - 2010 2010 % Increase:
Richmond - 2394 2993 + 25%
Kingston - 1787 2312 + 29 %
Hounslow - 3134 4433 + 41 %
Half of this increase is in our primary schools already with the rest yet to come. None of it has yet reached our secondary schools.
You can see the figures for each year group, and the bulge to come in 2014, in DfE: Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics, January 2011. The January 2012 census figures are due in June. In the second Excel file under Table 9a, Local Authority tables, if I've worked it out correctly, numbers are as follows:
current year 7 (2011 entry) - 1705
current year 6 (2012 entry) - 1765
current year 5 (2013 entry) - 1750 (when Grey Court and academies PAN reduced)
current year 4 (2014 entry) - 1915 (this is when the bulge hits, no question)
current year 3 (2015 entry) - 1965
current year 2 (2016 entry) - 2105
muminlondon - These nos all too complicated for me . What does it mean in terms of how accurate is councils assertion that theres no need for new community secondary till 2017
Borough - 2001 2010 % Increase:
Richmond - 2394 2993 + 25%
Kingston - 1787 2312 + 29 %
Hounslow - 3134 4433 + 41 %
JoTwick: we won't know how accurate the Council's forecast is until 2014 or 2105 at the earliest. For the Liberal Democrats, In July 2011 Cllr Malcolm Eady wrote: "We welcome the Council's proposal to purchase the Richmond Adult and Community College site in Twickenham for a new secondary school. The steadily rising birth rate will, in 3 to 4 years' time, result in the borough requiring a new secondary school . . ." i.e. to open in 2014 or 2015. At this time it is a matter of judgement which forecast is better.
Cllr Eady's detailed forecasts are available for study here.
The spike in Y7 numbers to 1,915 by 2014 coincides with a reduction to 1,530 places in existing secondary schools. The risk factors have been mentioned so many times. Were they addressed in the committee meeting? e.g.
(1) question mark over new school in north Kingston and this 'cushion' thing (about 300 currently go to other LAs - half to Catholic schools - but 450 come in from other LAs per year, with a net import of about 150)
(2) relying on pupils going private - in 2011 in-borough take-up of secondary places was 959 so about 32% of primary pupils must therefore have gone private or left the country (or some lived in other LAs in the first place)
(3) the council also assumes 100 free school places by 2013.
I only really know about Hampton and Teddington, but it seems that there will be even more children coming out of the primary schools in 2017 - 2019 as those are the years that have had emergency bulge classes on top of the permanent expansions. Are there any predictions available for those years yet? Even looking at Cllr. Eadie's predictions in relation to the schools I know I can see that the % transferring to in-borough secondary schools has gone up since 2010 by about 10% presumably partly as a result of parents feeling more confident about Hampton Academy and Teddington School and because of the recession.
"presumably partly as a result of parents feeling more confident about Hampton Academy and Teddington School and because of the recession"
And also because as catchments shrink it puts upwards pressure on house prices, resulting in less disposable income for spending on school fees.
People are really stretching themselves financially to buy homes in the borough these days, and unless they're planning for private schooling from the outset, its simply unaffordable for most people.
Yes, there are already five more children from Yr. 6 transferring to local state secondary schools in 2012 from my daughter's primary than Cllr. Eadie's prediction for that school in 2016 with excellent improvements in secondary schools!
I think there is a big surge in people with toddlers moving out of inner London and stretching themselves to buy somewhere in the cheaper bits of the borough and they certainly can't afford private school fees on top of a big mortgage. Those families aren't even accounted for in the 25% increase in the birth rate.
Is the situation different in the Richmond area - Mortlake, Barnes, East Sheen etc? Are there any relatively cheap areas over there that could fill up and lead to a surge in demand for places at RPA?!
"Are there any relatively cheap areas over there"
Depends whether you mean in or out of the borough. Does Roehampton count?
I used to live with a cousin in Mortlake. Its much more expensive than Twickenham. DH and I bought our first property in Twickenham because it was relatively cheap, not because we were thinking about schools.
Prices have gone up a bit since then though .
I think Roehampton counts if it's in the RPA catchment area. Are there cheap places to buy in Roehampton? I've always got the impression that the far side of Richmond was much more expensive than, say, Hampton, Hampton Hill or Whitton, due to better train service into London but I'm not sure if that's still true.
I take it there are no predictions for secondary school places needed from 2017 onwards or you statistical geniuses would know about them? 5 years doesn't seem very far away in school planning terms if the preferred option for LB Richmond is a new build on a sufficiently large site (I believe it has to be about 3 acres?) that noone knows about yet (assuming 150 free school places somewhere and Clifden Road going Catholic in the meantime).
Lottie, RPA is right on the border with Roehampton (see map) so yes Roehampton is well within its catchment, and there is a lot of social housing nearby. However, the council is assuming that demand from across the borough boundary will decrease (see section 4.6.4 of this doc).
Richmond's Secondary school forecast goes up to 2020, as does the RISC counter-forecast, which uses slightly different assumptions to get a different outcome.
Thanks. 100 free school places seems an odd prediction now we know that it's either 75 chez the Maharishi or 150 at the New School for Twickers or both ie. 225 or possibly none. I would have thought a go ahead for the Maharishi school would cause devotees from elsewhere to move into Hampton seeking places for their children so that could boost overall numbers. But I suppose that if it's both the Council can argue that that's almost enough so no need for a community school in 2016. Except that their estimates of the number of children seeking places in 2019 will have to be adjusted in view of this year's surge in numbers wanting places at primary schools. Or maybe they think the recession will be over by 2019 so far more people will be going private again.
I wonder if this sort of reaction will have any influence on the Maharishi outcome.
Not every part in Barnes, Mortlake, Sheen is expensive - certainly if that were the case, we would have not get in here. There are lot of parts with good value and people do make trade offs between property costs, size, commute time and travel costs. Anyway did not want to turn this into housing discussion!
When we were consulting on RPA, there were community members from all backgrounds. There is more than sufficient demand for good state secondary places in our local primaries. As RPA continues to make improvements and adds the new building and sixth forms, and gets parental buy-in, the places should fill up with kids from the local community.
"As RPA continues to make improvements and adds the new building and sixth forms, and gets parental buy-in, the places should fill up with kids from the local community"
Sounds like a good investment you made there gmsing, because when that happens (and I'm sure it will) the house prices are bound to go up.
Richmonds Equality Data Mapping Audit 2011 report www.richmond.gov.uk/equality_mapping_and_profile.pdf gives useful information on demographics by different areas in Richmond
I think a bit unfair of Richard Dawkins to compare Steiner schools to Maharishi schools as there are 35 Steiner schools in the UK and hundreds worldwide and they have been operating for years and are very popular. But Steiner schools do draw people into an area who want their children to go there and presumably, with only one other Maharishi school in Lancashire, a Maharishi school in Hampton would do the same. I don't know who makes the decision on Free Schools at the DofE but I expect it's probably a non-Guardian reading Tory politician?! Presumably if enough parents have said they want their children to go there it will be considered a choice that they are entitled to make and it will be considered that the questionmark over Maharishi philosophy has already been answered by funding the Lancashire school.
Pleased to hear that there are still affordable bits on the Richmond side. The sooner RPA fills up with children who live near it and want to go there the better it will be for everyone.
What happens if todays councils decision is then judged illegal? Is the council dissolved?
News of school building finance but no mention of new Kingston school. Do you think there will be an update in tbe meeting?
Richmond Cabinet approves Catholic VA school proposals as expected.(Webcast recording as posted by BayJay available from tomorrow for those who missed).
JoTwick: it is the process that may be judged unlawful, not the decision. If it is so found, it will be null and void so that the selection of a school for the site will start again. Either there will be a competition to choose an academy or the site will be offered to a free school.
The Tory leadership of the Council will suffer no penalty except embarrassment and ridicule from their opponents.
Thanks Chris. Just saw the latest press release from RISC - so it seems they feel they have lost the battle, but not yet the war.
RISC REACTS TO CABINET DECISION
This has always been an unequal battle. On one side the Council and the Catholic establishment, in the form of Catholic parents seeking a special benefit for their children and taxpayer-funded Catholic schools backed by Catholic churches, all supported from the top by the Dioceses, with their influence at the highest levels of government. On the other side, local parents and other people from all sorts of backgrounds, including some Catholics, with no organisation or resources apart from a campaign that only started in April last year, but all united around the conviction that what the Council is doing is misguided and grossly unfair. Community schools, whose teachers are employed by the Council, felt obliged to remain neutral.
Despite strong points, powerfully made, by the speakers in favour of inclusive schools, the Cabinet decided to go ahead with the exclusive Voluntary Aided Catholic schools. Power, influence and self-interest won the vote, as everyone knew they would.
The Cabinets decision followed a recommendation from a meeting of the Education Scrutiny committee the previous week. It was split on the issue. There was a majority of one in support of the Catholic schools because the representative of the Catholic Diocese refused to recognise that he had a prejudicial interest. That is defined by the Councils constitution as "one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice your judgement of the public interest". Instead of absenting himself, as someone with a prejudicial interest is expected to do, he stayed and voted in favour of the proposals from the Diocese. He then re-appeared as a speaker in favour of the Diocesan proposals at the Cabinet meeting.
But this may not be the end. RISC believes the Council is acting unlawfully under the Education Act 2011, which says that a Council that thinks it needs a new school must seek proposals for a Free School, which the Council has failed to do. The British Humanist Association (BHA) is also interested in this case due to its national implications. Now that the Council's decision has been taken, RISC and the BHA will be meeting shortly with their lawyers to consider next steps.
The Kingston Guardian reports: Uncertainty over funding for Kingston's new secondary school: Parents, children and teachers were waiting to hear if funding for a new secondary school in the borough had been approved. The government announced 261 schools across the country would receive money from a school building fund but had not released details of which of the 587 applications had been successful. A list of 42 schools being prioritised for the cash from the Priority School Building Programme was released but the planned north Kingston secondary school was not one of them, leaving the future of childrens education in the borough uncertain . . The announcement, due on May 25, had been delayed from December 2011.
Nick Whitfield said something yesterday that I was shocked. He said that Kingston was not expected this round of funding . But there is some other source of funding for it. he also said that Hounslow Manor had received funding for rebuilding
Hi concparent. I think he meant that he wouldn't have expected the new Kingston school to be in yesterday's funding announcement, because that was about rebuilding existing schools rather than funding new ones. There's still no confirmed source of funding for it though.
It's good news that Hounslow Manor is being rebuilt. Ofsted have recently rated it as good, and its website confidently declares "Our journey to outstanding has begun ...". Hopefully the rebuild will help them on that journey.
Thanks for clarification but lot of parents do not understand the technicalities and were expecting funding decision yesterday.
What do you think about Nick whitfield commenting he did not want your secondary free school to open now. That would be double dissapointment
NW's always made it clear that he doesn't want a community school to open in 2013, so that remark is consistent.
The official political position of the council is that they will be supportive of free schools, and all NLS4T's meetings with the council have been positive and constructive.
The free school process is (deliberately) independent of councils. It is understandable that council officers are wary of it, because they have no control over it and it potentially disrupts their planning. However, it is the Government's way of providing for the 'wants' of communities as opposed to their 'needs'.
I maybe thick but I do not get this needs v wants . I need my child to get a good quality secondary education . I want my child to get a good quality secondary education.
Both statements look and mean same to me . At one level one could argue education is a need for all . Its not an ice cream debate you have with your 10 old
Yes JoTwick, I agree its subtle.
Officially, the council needs to provide everyone with a school place. While there are empty places in some schools the council can legitimately argue that it has fully met its commmunity's needs.
However, they don't need to provide everyone with a school place of their choice. If the rules suddenly changed so that councils had a legal duty to make sure everyone got one of their 6 choices, then Richmond council would not be meeting the needs of 10% of its Year 7 applicants.
Parents want a school of their choice. Councils only need to provide them with a place somewhere within the borough.
Another way of putting it is you need to get your child a secondary education, but you want to get them a good quality secondary education.
V v v v pleased we will get a 6th form
Not one parent I knew was against it!
Its window dressing. I got it yesterday that the catholic parents need a secondary school to get continuity of catholic education in the borough
I did not get the council officers than calling it a want and not a need . Niether did I get their justification for not having the need for new community school. Very dodgy assumptions and lack of rigorous planning and forecast
BayJay - I disagree with yr statement Another way of putting it is you need to get your child a secondary education, but you want to get them a good quality secondary education
I need my child to get a good quality secondary education. Because a bad quality education is very harmful to a childs future.
"I got it yesterday that the catholic parents need a secondary school to get continuity of catholic education in the borough. I did not get the council officers than calling it a want and not a need"
Many Catholic parents would say they need a Catholic Secondary school. However, the council's official line is that Richmond doesn't need a Catholic secondary school (because if it did it would fall foul of the new law that says councils that need a new school must consider an Academy or Free School before a VA school). However, the council say they do want a Catholic secondary school, so will accept the proposal on the table from the Diocese.
RISC would argue that this subtle way of avoiding having to consider an Academy is a breach of the new law, and that is why they're considering a Judicial Review.
Interesting points being made here. The Director said in the scrutiny committee meeting in Nov.
A number of children were currently travelling further than was reasonable to attend a Catholic school. It was the Councils responsibility to ensure that all children were provided for as equally as possible and a new Catholic School on the Clifden Road site would greatly reduce these travelling distances
The Council's responsibility is admission to need.
"I need my child to get a good quality secondary education. Because a bad quality education is very harmful to a childs future"
I completely agree with you, but the council wouldn't. The council does not need to provide you with a place in a school that is rated Good by Ofsted. They do not even need to provide you with a place that is rated Satisfactory by Ofsted. They only need to provide you with a place, and any place will do. If you then choose to go private or move house, then that's your decision.
Of course they want to improve all of our schools so that they become destinations of choice, and are working hard to achieve that, but it will take time.
The current Government introduced the Free school programme partly because it was frustrated with many councils' attitude towards catering for parental choice.
"The Council's responsibility is admission to need"
Those are the sorts of statements that the Judicial Review will need to look at in detail. Its a new law, and so this will be a test case with national implications.
Cllr Hodgins said yesterday there was a need for Catholic school to meet demand for 13% of population in Catholic primary. The Catholic secondary would cater to only 8%. He even justified it for not going for the 50-50 option as it would accomadate only 4%
"Cllr Hodgins said yesterday there was a need for Catholic school to meet demand for 13% of population in Catholic primary"
Did he use the word "need"? It may have been a slip if he did. Saying there is a demand for a Catholic Secondary is the same as saying there is a want for one. Officially the council would meet the needs of those Catholic primary pupils if it offered them a place at one of the undersubscribed academies (though many Catholic parents would obviously disagree).
The Council also wrote in the Choice and Diversity Paper ^It has been anticipated that the equivalent of two secondary schools (including
one Roman Catholic) will be needed by about 2015 to meet the demand for
So were they lying then, or are they lying now ?
"So were they lying then, or are they lying now?"
Back then they didn't know about the new law. The new law came into force on Feb 1st 2012, and since then they've been more careful with their language.
. . On the legal issue, cabinet paper Use Of Clifden Road Site says:
. . 10.2 The Education Act 2011 introduced a new section to the Education and Inspections Act 2006, section 6A, in force from 1 February 2012. This section requires that if a local authority thinks a new school needs to be established (emphasis added) in their area, they must seek proposals for an Academy. As set out in paragraphs 4.7 and 4.8 above, officers view is that, whilst use of the Clifden Road site for the proposed Catholic Schools is recommended to meet strong demand for such schools in the borough, there is not currently a need for a new school to be established and it is not advised therefore that the Council is currently required to seek proposals for an academy on the Clifden Road site . . (emphasis added)
ChrisSquire Fri 18-May-12 18:46:57
So far we were concerned that assumptions were being played with to justify the Councils forecasts. Now words are being played with to justify wants and not needs.Very difficult in these circumstances to believe in " Trust me, I am a professional "
Jeev, if the council's forecasts are correct, then they will have fulfilled their professional duty to provide everyone with the school place that they need.
Built in to those forecasts is the implicit assumption that children will travel from Twickenham (where the need is likely to develop most quickly over the next few years) to Richmond Park Academy (where the greatest surplus of spare places is).
A cynic could paraphrase it as "Trust me, I am a professional. I will offer you a school place. If you don't like it you are welcome to make alternative arrangements. That will allow me to offer the place to someone else, thus putting off the need to create new school places even longer".
However, a non-cynic would trust the council to put sufficient improvements in place at the academies that parents would be happy to be offered places there, and not resent their lack of a choice in the matter.
Only time will tell whether the cynics or the non-cynics will be correct.
p.s. Twickenham Academy had an Ofsted inspection last week, so hopefully the outcome of that will help to show that the council's efforts are bearing fruit. Also, TA's building work is expected to be complete by spring 2013, which will give it a huge boost.
For anyone who hasn't seen it there is very positive Mumsnet thread about Twickenham Academy.
It was interesting to look at the map of link admissions to Orleans here in the light of Matthew Pauls assertion to St Mary's parents that Bayjay linked to. By my counting (perfectly happy to concede not entirely accurate) if the catchment is 1.8 km and ends at the Heath Road bridge then 26 in West Twickenham and 18 in the north around the Hounslow Border would not have got in.
Interestingly though the figures that were given in the linked school consultation Para 5 here suggest that only 1 Hounslow child would have got in on distance making the catchment (even allowing for wiggly roads) nearer the 1.5 km suggested in the Libdem document posted by Chris Squires. That would put the end of the catchment closer to Clifden Road and mean a further 11 in the West and 11 in the north around the Hounslow border would not have got in.
Anecdotally this seems very likely, hearing of lots of Vineyard parents gleeful about chance to take over Orleans
And then of course there are children from Trafalgar who would not have got in to Teddington, at least 5 look like they wouldn't from the Teddington map. So between 26 (assuming the 1.8 km catchment and that all the Hounslow children go somewhere else) and 71 children who would have got into the community Schools chasing the spare places at TA?
And the Council are only predicting 10 less vacancies at TA in 2013, which will have 35 places spare, when the link school is abolished? but then they are assuming a new free school comes on stream, lets hope it does!
And interestingly that the creation of a new community school over this side in 2016 will free up 30 places at RPA.
Trust needs to be earned and the changing statements and words do not help. When you see rules being bent , you do not need to be a cynic to question everything.
And there is a major contradiction here . If quality at RPA improves, twickenham kids may not get in as the locals will get distance priority
"If quality at RPA improves, twickenham kids may not get in as the locals will get distance priority"
Yes, that's when the "trust me, there will be a school at Egerton Road, and perhaps a free school too" bit comes in.
Actually, as the Egerton Road school would probably have to be a free school too (under current rules) I should have said that's when the "trust me, there may be a free school at Egerton Road, and perhaps another free school too" bit comes in.
The new education act doesn't allow the council just to set up a community school as it would have been able to do in the past. It could invite academy providers to compete for the site, but as they're proposing the school be created in partnership with the college I think that means it would need to be a free school proposal.
I don't think it will be just Vineyard pupils opting for Orleans Park - there could be Marshgate pupils too, although not all will, and it will depend where they live as to whether and how many will actually get in. The problem in both cases is that having an improved Christ's virtually next door with open places means there haven't been sufficient numbers to form a link elsewhere (and some 2007 admission forum minutes suggest this). About a quarter of pupils from both schools are opting for Christ's currently.
Chris - Cllr Knight was saying in his speech on Thu that Clifden Rd was purchased to provide much needed school places locally and should be used for that.
Since the Council is now not using it for that purpose, does it not change the rationale for buying the site as I beleive was done using special emergency powers ??
JoTwick: the purchase was agreed at a scheduled cabinet meeting in the ordinary way, except that it was a late addition to the agenda:
?Purchase of Clifden Road site site for the provision of school places (Council minute, July 21) . . CABINET received an urgent late report of the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources . . The purpose of the report was to seek agreement to the purchase of the site of the Richmond Adult Community College, Clifden Road, Twickenham, to provide future school provision.
The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources introduced the item and reminded members present that the decision before them was to agree the purchase of the site for school provision at this stage. Decisions regarding the type of school and whether it may provide a Catholic Secondary school for the borough would be a process completed after this initial decision had been taken. He argued that a school on this site would benefit children and parents in the Borough, as well as the college and those partaking in adult education . .
It was RESOLVED that:
1. The purchase of the RACC premises at Clifden Road, Twickenham, for future school provision, on the terms set out within this report and within the confidential report be agreed . .
A new Catholic school counts as future school provision.
The pros and cons of Steiner schools are described in A different class: the expansion of Steiner schools in Saturdays Guardian.
Can anyone shed any light on this below..
..... Don't usually church/faith schools provide their own land for a school as well as building maintenance, whilst local tax payers just pay for the running costs (eg staff mostly I guess) ??
In this proposed Catholic school aren't the Council giving the land/site basically free to the Catholic church? Isn't there a peppercorn rent mentioned somewhere for 125 years??
In that case, even if you support the idea that we need an 100% exclusive Catholic Secondary and a mostly Catholic primary, isn't it really bad value for local taxpayers?
Shouldn't the Catholic church have to pay for the site? IE. refund the 30 million or whatever it was that the council paid for the site.
If this does not happen then isn't the council just wasting that money. If other schools all own their sites already, then not paying for the Clifden site is really unfair on them? Why would this school be different from all previous church schools.
I know the Church is due to pay the cost of updating the buildings but as this is an expensive area for land surely this is much less than the cost of the land.
Then at least if we do get this unfair school, Taxpayers money won't be so wasted and the money for the site could even be ear-marked for incusive school use, say to help the shortage of Primary places or to help buy a site for Free School.
Sorry If I've missed anything but the fact that the Catholic church is not paying for the land seems to make it doublly unfair to majority of tax payers.
TwoCotbeds, your're right that historically VA schools have been created on land owned by the church. The council pays their running costs and 90% of their maintenance costs.
In the Clifden Road case, the church will rent the land from the council, and pay the cost of refurbishing the buildings for the secondary school. After that the council will pay their running costs and 90% of their maintenance costs. The council will fund the building costs for the primary school.
The 125 years lease at a peppercorn rent is the same terms that the Academy providers have. Its only considered unusual in the case of Clifden Road because the proposal is for a VA school rather than an Academy. It will probably convert to an Academy within a few years of opening, but that is also controversial because if it opened as an Academy it would need to have 50:50 admissions, whereas if it converts to Academy status after opening it can keep its existing admissions policy.
Hope that clarifies things.
In some cases councils have closed down existing comprehensives and then allowed VA schools to have the site, and this continues. Tony Blair cut the capital contribution necessary for faith schools from 15% to 10% about 10 years ago.
OK I think I understand. So you mean the new Catholic school would rent the Clifden site on the same way as the Academies do. But what I was trying to get at, is.... doesn't this mean the Catholic Church is not contributing as much as other Church schools have to for their schools?
I see you have compared the new Catholic School to the Academies, but what about comparing it to other Faith schools like Christs Secondary school or to Faith primary schools?
I can see the other faith schools get the 'advantage' of restricting admissions to their own followers because they have supplied the land. They own an asset already to use as a school.
But in this case the Catholic Church would only be paying rent like an academy. However our current academies are all inclusive.
So what I'm trying to get at is....... for a new Catholic School to restrict admissions to their own followers like other Faith schools locally do, then surely it should pay the 30 million to own the land? To be a similar deal. I'm not comparing the new Catholic school to Academies but to an established Faith school.
Am I still completely mixed up about this? sorry if so!
Yes, compared to other VA schools it is contributing less, as you say.
Many other historic VA schools were funded completely by the church when they were set up, and their contribution has reduced gradually over time through different legislation.
I've heard that the council did actually own Clifden Rd in the past, and effectively gave it to the college, so it does seem like a double whammy that its now having to buy it back.
One route to A VA school that would seem less controversial would be if a private Catholic school were to convert to A state school, as the land would then be donated by the church.
Exactly Bayjay, this is a worse deal for majority of tax payers than the usual, already established church schools.
like you say, at least if St Catherines in Twick changed from private to State we would get a better deal for all of us who pay council tax. It wouldn't have cost us all the 30 million. Two times 30 mill, if the council gave it away last time! What a waste of money.
This school is unfair on SO many levels.
Agree and this financial side of things is one of my main objections to this whole Catholic school saga. Why blow all those millions (I think £15 million but it's confidential) on a site for a limited group of children who don't really "need" secondary school places urgently as they have a choice of their local secondary school or Catholic schools in neighbouring boroughs when you have a looming crisis for everyone else in 2-3 years and a current crisis for 170 children with no primary school places.
I think that the Council may not have had any choice about giving Clifden Road up - I believe Mrs Thatcher forced the Council to transfer Clifden Road to the Richmond Adult Education under some rule about Council's not being able to run adult education anymore?
However when I first heard mention of a Catholic secondary school being "needed" in LB Richmond it was about 10 years ago and all the discussion assumed that the Catholic church would provide/buy the site. At that time it was thought that the playing fields of St Mary's College (a Catholic institution) opposite Teddington Studios/Lensbury might be the site but there were lots of objections to building on them as they are Metropolitan Open Land. I think the Lib Dems have been very woolly about this - they should have said from the beginning that their support for a Catholic school as previously expressed was on the assumption that the Catholic church would pay for its own site not take the only one available.
Marshgate was built on the site where the old RC school Edward the Confessor would have been. Did the council have to buy the land from the RC diocese back then?
Muminlondon, there's lots of detail about the acquisition of the Marshaget site here. It involved a land swap between the council and the Diocese of Southwark.
Thanks BayJay, that's interesting..
The link posted by BayJay also says this about the history of Christs School:
Christs CE Secondary Schools currently (2002) occupies two sites on Queens Road in Richmond. The main site was formerly the site of St Mary Magdalene CE Secondary School and, now known as the Christs East Site has undergone expansion as part of a phased programme to consolidate the school onto a single site. Ownership of the part of the site occupied by the buildings is within the curtilege of the School Trustees whilst the Council owns the grounds. The smaller site was formerly the site of St Edward the Confessor RC Secondary School. Half of this site is owned by the Council and half by the RC Diocese of Southwark. The buildings are leased to the CE Southwark Diocesan Board for the use of Christs School.
Since the two original secondary schools merged to form the LEAs only ecumenical school, the schools performance and popularity declined until, in , the RC Diocese of Southwark pulled out of the partnership and in  the CE Southwark Diocesan Board and the LEA, in the face of a rapidly declining school role, sought permission from the Secretary of State for Education to close the school. The intention was to open a new school in expanded accommodation on the East Site. Permission was declined but the relaunch of the school went ahead with the appointment of a new headteacher and a recruitment drive aimed at increasing
the number of transfers from LEA primary schools.
Making the school more popular with Richmond parents is essential to the Councils strategy for providing sufficient secondary school places. The Council is short of secondary school places and utilising the potential of Christs to accommodate more pupils would help to ease this shortage.
An interesting article from 4th July 1997 edition of the Catholic Herald regarding the ecumenical school.
Been trawling through the Catholic Herald archive, which has been quite illuminating actually.
I found this article London Council Accused of Snubbing Parents 22/06/07. What interested me was this 'The council had submitted a proposal for a Catholic secondary school to Westminster diocese in 2005... The initial bid in 2005 was put forward in conjunction with St Mary's University in Twickenham'.
Does anyone know further about these proposals? This would seem to confirm the assertions made here about the use of land at what is now St Mary's Teddington Lock sports campus.
Hi Cat2405. This is how the RTT reported on the 2005 proposal.
When will the Council actually complete the purchase of the Clifden Road site and then lease it for the Catholic schools ?
JoTwick: they will have to wait for the outcome of the judicial review - if it goes ahead. RISC said on May 25: . . Now that the Council's decision has been taken, RISC and the BHA will be meeting shortly with their lawyers to consider next steps.
Cat2405 That is very interesting indeed!!
So see the part below in that article - that I have put into bold - means there was not enough demand for Catholic Places at this school so it switched to Anglicanism!
So was there no demand frm Catholics beacuse this school was not rated highly/performing well? 1997 is pretty RECENT isn't it !!
What about this huge demand for Catholic places in borough?
Why should we start up another Catholic school, (to erase this huge diadvantage of being a rare london borough without one) just to have Catholics abandon it again like the last one. Or they won't will they because this one is in a 'better' area and thought likely peform well?!
SO the demand from Catholic parents is TRANSPARENTLY, from this example, NOT for just 'A Catholic in Borough school' but instead....
for a 'Catholic Borough school that performs better than average'.
We all know this, but the Catholic 'side' should just admit it!
Apart from they won't because it makes their so-called deep held committed religious beliefs look very convenient.
Ecumenical school drops Catholic link
BY JOE JENKINS AND PAUL HARRISON July 1997
CHRIST'S SECONDARY School in south-west London last week became the first ecumenical school in Britain and Northern Ireland to abandon its Catholic arm in favour of Anglicanism.
The move by the 284year-old Richmond school was rubber-stamped in April by Gillian Shepherd, the former Secretary of State for Education and Employment, and is the first of its kind. Fifteen ecumenical schools nationwide were set up by Shirley Williams 18 years ago under Labour in an experiment to integrate the two religions in a single school.
Catholic demand for places at the school is limited, with only 10-15 percent of pupils practising Catholics, despite Christ's being the only Catholic secondary comprehensive in Richmond. !!!
However, there are numerous Catholic schools in neighbouring boroughs, including Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow.
There are also plans to consolidate the school on its east site, involving a building project to be funded by the DfEE at a cost of kl million. Christ's is to be renamed Richmond High School, bringing to a close five years of wrangling between Catholic, Anglican and local education authorities.
The changes mean that the school will draw more pupils from Richmond and Kingston than from areas like Hammersmith and Clapham, in line with the current trend in south-west London.
Headmaster Peter Jenkins said: "We are very conscious that at a time when the peace process in Northern Ireland is so fragile, that people may get the wrong message that this is a reversal in the postitive direction towards peace talks. This is not the case.
"There are too many players in the field at the moment. There is a lot of funding available to schools at the moment and to get it you have got to act quickly."
Tony Barnet, a governor, told the Herald that the school had found it difficult to settle on a syllabus that satisfied both Anglicans and Catholics. While "intellectually close", he said, the approach of the faiths to moral issues are "attitudinally deeply different" and this had caused a conflict of interests.
Fr Anthony Logan, who retired as the Catholic representative on the board of governors, said that his only thought about the end of the 18-year partnership this week was "the success of the school from now on".
Twocotbeds - Do you seriously believe central Twickenham is a better area than Richmond? Wow ... Also stop thinking all Catholics are conveniently hiding behind our faith in order to achieve some elitist school. Although you may not be happy with the councils decision, it was a fair and democratic one. Maybe it is time all this energy be put towards bettering existing schools that DO have spaces.
ok NoUggscuse...( good name btw)....Can you give me any idea why these Catholic places at Christ's weren't taken up then? I would like to know your answer, genuinely.
If there is such an overwhelming demand for Catholic 2ndry Places in Borough then why relatively recently, 1997 did these spaces not get snapped up?
...... and also NOuggscuse, according to the last Ofsted report on Christ's school I could find (2003) this school, despite being near Richmond park apparantly has....
" The percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals is above the national average. A higher than average proportion of pupils are identified as having special educational needs; these are mostly of an emotional and behavioural type.
The percentage of pupils with statements of special educational needs is broadly in line with the average.
There is a greater than average percentage of pupils whose mother tongue is not English. The most common other languages spoken by these pupils are Korean, Spanish and Arabic. Most pupils in the school are of white-British background, although a greater proportion of older pupils have Caribbean, African and Asian heritages."
.....and The school is only graded as Satisfactory with "Standards are below national expectations, but pupil achievement is satisfactory overall."
....Of course this would could never be the reason that the Catholic places there were left unwanted, would it?
I understood that it is SO essential that Catholic families must have provided for them in-Borough Catholic School places?? So it is very relevant that this school was abandoned so very recently.
Still like to hear your answer...... if you have one?
TwoCotbeds, if the ecumenical school was underperforming then its not surprising that the places weren't popular, especially if there were plenty of places in the out-of-borough Catholic schools at the time.
At various times during this whole debate people have raised the issue of St Edward the Confessor having failed, but the answer has always been along the lines of "times have changed, modern Catholic schools are very different. Just because that one failed doesn't mean this one will". Its a reasonable answer. Schools fail because they're badly run, not because of the type of school they are or the area they're in. Unless the new school has exactly the same management team as the old one I don't think any parallels can be drawn. No one is doubting that a Catholic school at Clifden would be successful, so long as it is well managed.
TwoCotBeds - it was not a Catholic school in 1997, it had merged with the local church of England school (St Mary Magdalane) in 1976.
I am really not sure of the ins and outs but I understand that the two churches struggled to adopt a mutally acceptable ideology and Catholic parents shunned it and sent their children to Catholic schools elsewhere.
In 1997, by mutual agreement, the Roman Catholic Church withdrew from the management arrangement and Christ's School returned to being a Church of England maintained Secondary School.
I think there are a very large amount of Catholic Families who use the claim of Faith to try and obtain a better quality of School than otherwise. In fact I have met lots of people who have said they do this.
I think it is very hypocritical and unchristian not to admit this.
Lets be clear, there is not now, and was not in 1997 a desperate need for a school place to match a families perscnal belief,as the most important thing.
The fact that, so receently, Catholic places at an underperforming school were left unwanted really does point towards quality being the most important
factor, and distance to travel and supporting a faith as coming as less important.
Overall religiousness, including Catholism in the UK is in decline, and has been for ages. With each generation it is less. We all know this !
* I think they would be a lot, lot, lot less baptisms in Catholic churches if there wasn't the incentive of more school choice!
We all know this is true so I think it should be said it openly. No more hypocrisy.
TwoCotBeds - you keep presenting your opinion as fact getting more and more rude in your tone as time goes on.
You asked why Catholic families were not using the school in 1997 and I gave you an explanation to the best of my knowledge, this does not suit your narrow view of why Catholic families wish to have a Catholic school in borough now and so you choose to ignore it.
Catholic church attendance in Richmond now is higher than it has been for a long time, and this is despite their being no Catholic secondary school.
Richmond primary schools are all good or outstanding, faith schools and community schools - one does not need to pretend to have faith, or church attendance to get into these schools.
With regard to the transfer of Clifden I believe the sale is not due to be completed until RACC are ready to move which may not be for quite a long time as they have to rebuild their Richmond site in order to fit all the activities that happen at Clifden in (or those activities that they still intend to offer). By then the judicial review may be over so it is not necessarily holding anything up. However, if the judicial review is successful, presumably the Council will be forced to act in accordance with the new Education Act and allow others to express an interest in the site for a free school or Academy so that may take some time although no doubt it will still lean heavily towards a 50:50 Catholic school.
Glad my memory of the St Mary's playing fields school attempt was not faulty although I am amazed that it was only in 2005 - time isn't flying as fast as I thought it was! Funny that St Mary's has not been mentioned this time around. It does show that at that time it was assumed that the Catholic Church was going to find its own site for a secondary school not have one bought for it by the Council - but that, even in 2005 before the explosion in numbers of children needing places, it was clear that there was a severe shortage of suitable sites for new secondary schools.
Twocotbeds - Whether intentional or not your posts are quite offensive to those of us who are practising Catholics. I could sit here and argue why would people fake Catholicism in places like Strawberry Hill, Marble Hill or Teddington, places with outstanding schools, but why bother. Cynicism is hard to penetrate.
Again why not put all this energy into improving local schools that need supportive and proactive parents?
The Diocese could not get planning permission for the St Mary's site as far as I am aware.
Interesting to see the Cllr Eady's response...
Lib Dem spokesperson for education, Cllr Malcolm Eady, said: "It will be very hard for the Catholic church to get planning permission for the site, and it is a great pity, that instead of embarking on a controversial proposal, they do not put their energy, time and money into finding a site closer to the centre of the borough, preferably on a brown field site.
"If this search were successful, then the bid would have my full support."
Well, now we have the central site. Maybe he is happy after all.
noUggscuse "Again why not put all this energy into improving local schools that need supportive and proactive parents"
There are lot of people who are doing this already. Unfortunately it is the Catholic group that has decided not to be with us and work shoulder to shoulder to support and drive admisions in these community schools. Sadly we are not all in it together
Fine you have made your choice and used your overwheleming influence and power to get the political outcome, disregarding the rest of the community views. But please do not preach us on working for our local schools - we are doing that and shall continue to do so, with or without your support.
TwoCotbeds, I would agree that people have varying motivations for wanting a Catholic school. That's why I personally think that church schools should have open admissions, so that people's motivations for choosing the school are not an issue (though I realise others would disagree).
However, I think its also fair to say that the people who are fighting hardest for the VA school, and participating in debates like this, do have genuine Catholic faith, and are obviously going to get quite cross about any suggestion to the contrary, so its worth bearing that in mind.
Again why not put all this energy into...
NoUggscuse, that is also provocative. People are genuinely upset about this decision, and want to sound off about it.
Magic cant comment on Eady. That statement was made before the Lib Dems made inclusive admissions as their national policy in 2009. So they cant support a Catholic VA school. Cllr Knight was suggesting a Catholic academy instead. But apart from him, the Lib Dems have been pathetic .
The Cabinet meeting was just a show and not any real attempt to consider the genuine issues raised by those against the proposals. The Council also spun their way, being scared on the legal position. Hopefully justice will be done in due course and they will not be able to bluff thei way out in the court.
Chris - I dont think the RISC legal action can stop the purchase of RACC site. It may prevent though the lease of the site to the Catholic church to start the VA schools.
At various times during this whole debate people have raised the issue of St Edward the Confessor having failed
There's no evidence that St Edward the Confessor RC School failed. St Edward's RC merged with St Mary's CE in 1978 and became Christ's. It was full with 900 pupils and a waiting list when it opened, suggesting that both schools were well regarded at the time of merger.
Jeev: I agree: the purchase of the freehold is a done deal; I intended to refer only to the lease.
From todays statement from the Lib Dems: Teddington & Twickenham 11-year-olds face journey to East Sheen secondary school within 15 months
THE Council's decision to use all the spare school land available for expansion for a Catholic school and 6th forms instead means it is likely that 11-year-olds from the Middlesex part of the borough will face a daunting commute to school in East Sheen from September 2013 . . Liberal Democrat Group Leader Stephen Knight said:
Every parent in our borough knows that our primary schools have had to expand over the last 5 or 6 years to cope with a rapidly rising population of children. Now we are beginning to run out of capacity in local secondary schools. Only three of the borough's eight secondary schools have any spare capacity for this September's intake and next year, according to the council's own projections, without a new secondary school on the Middlesex side of the borough, only Richmond Park Academy in East Sheen will have spare places.
The Council's decisions on 6th forms has effectively removed the option of expanding existing schools and the decision to hand over the Clifden Road site in Twickenham to the Catholic Church removes the only obvious site for providing a new community school. This means that 11-year-olds in Twickenham, Hampton and Teddington could well face a daunting commute to East Sheen as soon as September 2013.
"why would people fake Catholicism in places like Strawberry Hill, Marble Hill or Teddington, places with outstanding schools" because at primary level they have good schools?
I agree with Bayjay there are parents who send their children to Catholic Primary Schools because of their devout beliefs and there are parents there because they want their children to grow up within a Catholic culture, and there is a continuum towards parents who, in good Catholic primaries as in all good primaries , have taken a strategic decision to go through whatever hoops are needed to get into a good school in a borough where it is sometimes difficult to get into any school let alone a good one. That is why Catholic Primary Schools and some good non Catholic ones fail to be socially inclusive, because disadvantaged children often do not have the benefit of parents motivated or able to compete and find a way in (which is no reason to exclude them). They face the secondary hurdle when they come to it, and then send their children to often accessible or very high quality Catholic state schools out of borough or if they can afford it, move or go private. That is why no one argued that it was a want rather than a need for a new Catholic School.
Although I agree with Bayjay that the history of Christs and Edward the Confessor is not relevent to the future of a new school, that will be determined by the motivated parents from thriving primaries, it is relevent to the points made about quality. I moved to the borough in 1986, Edward the Confessor had been an option and Christ's was an option for Catholic friends and neighbours (it was still considered to have a Catholic ethos, manifested in the mass and the curriculum) just as Shene was for non Catholic friends and neighbours, the regrets were the same, that the schools had been taken over by out of borough children whose behaviour, or rather the failure of both schools to address it, deterred local parents so that they no longer regarded them as an option. It was a little disingenuous of Catholic parents who spoke at the Cabinet meeting to cite their experience of long journeys when, if they were over 27 (no offence intended if they were younger) there was a Catholic option in borough and they did so because of quality.
If the Council had delivered consistent quality accessible to everyone (and I come from a borough, with a similar social profile to Richmond which delivers this) with no link system, then a lot of parents who opted for Catholic schools or private schools or moved away would have opted for community schools (with the resultant need for more than two new schools to have been provided by the Council) and then there would not have been anything like the demand for an exclusive Catholic school, or political influence to ensure it was delivered. And an inclusive Catholic School, catering for those genuinely wanting a Catholic education, and reaching into the community to help the disadvantaged, as you would expect, could have genuinely contributed to choice and diversity ( and that is also what happens where I come from) though it probably wouldn't have ever got off the ground ..... I'm not in the business of what ifs but noone should argue that this debate wasn't driven by quality on all sides.
"There's no evidence that St Edward the Confessor RC School failed"
Good correction Cat2405. It seems it was the experiment of making Christs ecumenical that failed.
Copthallresident - your point about those speeches at the cabinet meeting ocurred to me at the time too. There presumably were Catholic places in the borough when those parents were young, but they were Catholic places at an ecumenical school, and were competing with places at more traditional Catholic schools in neighbouring boroughs.
Chris - thanks for posting the link to the Lib Dem statement. The phrase "better late than never" springs to mind .
We don't know yet how Christ's will adjust its admissions policy with 30 extra pupils. Do you think it will attract more from Twickenham to its foundation places? It would be an option for some, but the 'open' catchment may not extend that far. That's the only expansion proposed so far. The council made assumptions about more open places but it competes with Grey Court, RPA and now Orleans to some extent.
"We don't know yet how Christ's will adjust its admissions policy"
They're planning to go 50:50 when they expand. Sorry, I don't have time to find a link for that at the mo, but I think its in one of the Scrutiny committee papers from about November 2011.
The foundation places at Christs have been undersubscribed in recent years.
I thought it was vaguer than that, 'in practice, it will be likely', etc. If true, it will still be competing with other local schools on the Richmond side. It would be an odd situation if it drew a few more from RPA's catchment then Twickenham pupils were sent to fill the places.
Chris - Lib Dems are again doing " Too little too late". RISC has highlighted this last winter. I have mentioned this before on this thread, either RPA will improve and fill up with their local primaries, or no one except the disadvantaged or desperate will send their kids from Middlesex there.
I was looking at the Teddington school websites today and on Sacred Heart RC main page there's a text that says:
"School Admissions: Did you know we have spaces in Years 1 - 5 inclusive? Contact the school for more details!"
On the other hand, it's difficult to find a community place in Teddington...
Magic Faraway - talking about you situation in 2005 you said: "Interesting to see the Cllr Eady's response...
Lib Dem spokesperson for education, Cllr Malcolm Eady, said: "It will be very hard for the Catholic church to get planning permission for the site, and it is a great pity, that instead of embarking on a controversial proposal, they do not put their energy, time and money into finding a site closer to the centre of the borough, preferably on a brown field site.
"If this search were successful, then the bid would have my full support."
Well, now we have the central site. Maybe he is happy after all. "
I am not an apologist for the Lib Dems who have been pretty feeble. But the point is that he said he thought the church should put its "time energy and money" into finding a site - but what it is now doing is taking a large percentage of the money available for education to the local council leaving it very short of money for everyone else.
Tedd 75 - Sacred Heart is well known for losing children at an early stage. Sacred Heart parents complain about the % of parents who choose the school because of the ties seeing it as some sort of free pre-prep school and then remove their offspring at the end of year 2. Also, as Sacred Heart is full of children who aren't from Teddington, they are less likely to stick around because they discover that commuting anywhere by car in this area at school time is a considerable burden so they are more likely to move their children to a school closer to home when space becomes available. Another factor is that Catholic schools are often chosen by families where one or both parents come from a Catholic country so they are more likely to relocate after a few years. I think this cultural choice by parents is underplayed as a reason for Catholic schools' popularity locally - statistics show we have a higher percentage of European families from Catholic countries than many parts of London and nearly every family I know who has chosen a Catholic school has one or two parents from Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, Poland etc. I can understand why they want a school that has a link to their own upbringing.
Hi Lottie, I agree that there are a large number of Continental European born families in Richmond inflating the numbers for Catholic school attendance, however I would say that most also choose based on school quality as we have no state faith schools in Italy and very few private ones, and this is the case in most of Europe. Most of my fellow nationals find the system here baffling but soon realise that being a Catholic can mean access to a good school and adapt accordingly!
The reference to Christ's is paragraph 4.8
'If the school expanded to accommodate 150 children per Year 7 intake, the likely intention would be that the places would be split 75:75 between Foundation and Open, but the possibility of a Catholic secondary school being established in the borough could have the effect of the real split becoming 50:100.'
If Waldegrave and the Catholic school are 'borough-wide resources' then Christ's may be regarded in the same way by the council. If the need for places is mainly in Twickenham, in terms of primary expansions so far, Christ's would only relieve a little of that pressure if the foundation places are filled from the CofE schools in Twickenham, otherwise it would have the same effect on neighbouring academies that the council argued against when considering a community (or inclusive Catholic school) at Clifden.
Changing the subject slightly, just passing on the following text of an email from the New Schools Network sent out today, giving a good summary of Ofsted's new inspection framework ....
"As you may be aware, Ofsted have been reviewing the process for school and teacher inspections. Ofsted have today announced the results of the consultation process and outlined the changes that will come into effect from the 1st of September 2012. As these changes will impact on how ... schools will be inspected, New Schools Network has prepared a brief outline of the changes below. If you would like to review the framework consultation documents and the FAQ in more detail you can access them both here.
Changes to the Inspection Framework:
- Schools must have Outstanding teaching practice to be judged Outstanding overall
- Good is now the acceptable standard of education
- Requires Improvement category will replace Satisfactory
- Earlier re-inspections for schools judged Requires Improvement
- Serious Weakness will replace Notice to Improve category
- Usual limits will be set for the number of times a school Requires Improvement before being placed in Serious Weakness category
- Schools will have less notice before an inspection
- Schools will supply anonymised information regarding teachers performance"
That will certainly shake things up a bit!
Lottie - I don't think there's any evidence to suggest that Sacred Heart is viewed as some sort of pre-prep with no fees. Indeed, I'm not sure why or how that would be the case, it is after all still offering class sizes of 30 and the national curriculum - much like all the community schools.
I suspect the reason is much more mundane. Turnover is pretty high at ALL Richmond schools. However, people moving to Teddington for the schools (and filling those empty in-year places when they come up) are likely to be aiming for Teddington School for secondary. Therefore they are less likely to be Catholic. Indeed, why would anyone wanting a Catholic secondary education move to Teddington?
This will presumably change with the new school, although whether a Catholic would want to pay Teddington house prices (inflated due to Teddington School) for it remains to be seen!
Little Miss Muppet - only repeating what I've been told by Sacred Heart parents - that it attracts some parents who like the traditional ethos, feel and look of the place. The children certainly look a lot smarter than average state school in their maroon jumpers and ties as do St. James children. Sacred Heart is often offered to non-Catholics as the only place in Teddington with free space. When my friends returned from Dubai after 3 years they were told that their daughter would have to go to Sacred Heart for the last 2 months of Year 6 if they wanted her to get into Teddington school as all the other linked schools were full despite the fact that they are atheists who live very near Teddington School. Agree it would be totally pointless to move to Teddington unless you wanted to take advantage of our fabulous open-to-all who-live-near-enough inclusive secondary school where Catholics are always very welcome.
Do we think the impact of this would be that more Catholic families will move near Clifden Road and Non Catholics moving out from there ?
Jeev, can't help wondering if we sell up, whether the family moving in (all the houses sold in our roads in my time living here have gone to young families) would be non Catholic risking the black hole, non Catholic already decided on a private education, putting up with living near a 1200 pupil school with a very wide catchment and accompanying parents in cars, or Catholic...............
Actually Jeev that is a serious point I made to the Scrutiny Committee. The side effect of the Council's reactive schools strategy ( focused on minimising the risk of spare capacity by scrabbling around when applications exceed places to create capacity by finding room for a portacabin, or a distant school with space, and deterring parents into moving or going private) is that the communities that have formed in our streets, neighbourhoods, childbirth classes, toddler groups and schools get broken up. I had a wonderful group of friends that I met at the childbirth classes at our local doctor's surgery in Sheen, a social mix too (Yes there is a social mix in Sheen, deprivation even, though on the other side of the Upper Richmond Road to Lord True, he probably hasn't noticed). Few of our children went to the same schools and now we are spread across the borough and quite a few are out in Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire, wherever there was provision of good schools. The break up of our community was directly the result of the lack of spaces in good local schools.
That is why I am so angry that, when exactly the same thing is about to happen in Central Twickenham, the perfect site for a school to serve our community is given to a group who have always had other choices, who were cushioned against the impact of the Council's Schools strategy. As far as the Council are concerned their wants are more important than my community ( and actually what with high rise developments, multi storey car parks and who knows what else they plan they seem to be putting just about everyone's wants ahead of our community!!)
It's future now rests on the Free School for Twickenham, and if it happens, as we are all sure, if committment and passion have anything to do with it, it will, it certainly not be the Council we have to thank.
Jeev - in the short term I would very much doubt it. It will take a number of years to build up the sort of reputation that will draw people in. Also, living on the school doorstep won't offer any advantage in admissions, in contrast to admissions to community schools. There would presumably be some borough-wide increase in time. It's hard to gauge how big it will be as we don't know how strong the pull of an untested school will be.
It will be interesting to see how many in-borough Catholic children actually end up there in the first few years. Parents that have been busy doing the church flowers and cleaning benches aren't going to suddenly lose interest in the Oratory, after all. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there is a small but not insignificant number of community places available initially. Unless of course it just takes all the out-of-borough Catholics that would have gone to St Paul's, Sunbury.
It's all guesses, of course. No one really knows what the outcome will be, and no attempt to model the numbers has been done. All we know is that there were several thousand people that signed a petition, and that there are a number of very vocal and influential cheerleaders.
Interesting points. Segregation in schools has broken even our local community. Ultimately people get drawn to nearby schools. Even if the proposed Catholic schools will have random allocation, it is possible that parents whose kids get in will move near Clifden. Everyone prefers a walk to the school rather than waste time commuting
The minutes of the May 15 meeting of the Scrutiny Ctee have been published:
. . The Cabinet Member for Schools, the Director Education, Children's Services and Culture and the Head of School Commissioning made the following points in response to questions from the Committee:
- It was not likely that the boroughs secondary school capacity would be exceeded before 2016 / 2017.
- The proposed voluntary-aided secondary and primary schools were being proposed by the Diocese of Westminster and not the Council. The Council would decide at Cabinet weather [sic] to approve the proposal.
- It was the Councils plan to increase choice and diversity of schools, and the Clifden Road site should be viewed as part of the overall programme and not in isolation.
- The Council had received legal advice that supported their course of action regarding for the Clifden Road site.
- The Clifden Road Site had not been purchased at that time and the contracts had not been finalised.
- The Council had to provide and plan for increasing school capacity which will be needed by 2016/17. A Catholic school would not have a negative impact (financially or otherwise) on these plans.
- Residents views, on either side, had been carefully considered and the results of the Councils consultation been given due consideration.
- The Council deemed the admissions policies, proposed by the Diocese for Westminster for the schools, to be lawful and that they would meet the demand from local residents.
- The Councils forecasts had been accurate, so far, and they were confident that they could meet demand for school places in the future, through ongoing evaluation of demand.
It was RESOLVED that it should be recommended to Cabinet to approve:
4a. the lease of Clifden Road site to the Diocese of Westminster for the establishment of voluntary-aided secondary and primary schools and;
4b. the Dioceses proposals to establish voluntary aided primary and secondary schools . .
I did find it a bit mindbending, having a background in business planning in the public sector that they could sit there and say all this and then back it up basically by saying "Trust me I'm a Professional with years of experience" and "forecasting is an art not a science". Well I'm a professional (qualifications filling up a business card) and I had 25 years experience, which did help me to forecast accurately because I knew the markets so well, but that didn't mean that I didn't have to back up every figure with evidence and go to Board Meetings, Government Officials and Select Committees with reams of modelling data and a full risk assessment with weighting according to impact and probability, and upside and downside forecasts with plans on what action would be taken if those risks were realised. And what a dream it would have been to be able to have a supply led plan, that always aimed to have fully used capacity, regardless of the degree to which, indeed whether, it risked unfulfilled demand.
I did some asking about and there are Councils who do plan to demand, that have sophisticated modelling based not just on experience but all sorts of demographic and economic data and qualitative research (asking parents!!!), processes for refining their models iteratively and the weighting they should give to risks, and it is done at individual community level, bottom up as well as top down. It's not rocket science but it does work better than always playing catch up when risks do materialise...
They are now complaining one of the reasons they fail to forecast primary demand is that fewer parents are going private, but Surrey are already planning for the trend that they forecast in primary schools post 2008 crash coming through to secondary levels on the basis that parents will initially make the sacrifice at primary level but sustained recession will see it happening in secondary schools too.
They complain about parents moving to the borough for schools but do they have any understanding of what is going on? Have they asked Estate agents who is moving in and why and where? Seems to me from other pages on here that Nappy Valley is coming west, and they like places that feel like Nappy Valley. So there are going to be huge problems between the catchments of schools there.
And do they understand teh relationship between quality and demand, seems like when standards improve they are calways wrong footed by the speed at which catchments shrink.
These forecasts are high risk because they are making a lot of assumptions just on, being nice about it and not implying an agenda, gut feel. Their forecasts are based on the assumption removal of links will mean, based on 2011 admissions, that only 1 Hounslow child will get into Orleans on distance and the other 29 who would have got in will disappear off Richmond's radar? really? Has anyone asked them if they feel they belong to Hounslow and not Twickenham? and so won't want their children at a Twickenham School?
And they don't even get my name right!!
Copthallresident: very interested in what you write about good practice elsewhere: can you provide some specific examples, please?
One nugget which I omitted to post when I found it: Tables from the GLA Intelligence Unit show that the no. of births went up between 2001 and 2010 by 25 % here in Richmond, 29 % in Kingston (the median for London) and 41 % in Hounslow (the fourth highest increase, after Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich and Redbridge). Where are all these extra kids going to go to school?
What a biased and shambolic Scrutiny committee meeting report. Where is the mention of the fact that Andy Cole refused to acknowledge his prejeducial interest and made a statement. Are they now too ashamed to acknowledge that they made a mistake in letting Andy Cole stay?
ChrisSquire Will ask, I wasn't after specifics and my source is an ex colleague, now local government, so wants to stay undercover! Apparently the Dof E did have an initiative to share best practise on school place forecasting because some Councils were doing good things along the lines I posted. Resistance to scientific forecasting methods stems from the argument that there is a strong local element but the D of E considered there were useful developments that could be pick and mixed. I don't know if anything ever got into the public domain? Now there are private sector providers seeking to do what the D of E were going to do, and selling it to Councils. They are headhunting those with useful experience.... There is already software out there but not particularly good. It is also something that often gets written up as part of academic projects so that may be a source too.
A quick google brought up an example of school place planning in Swindon. I haven't read it all the way through, but I can see from the appendix that at least three panning scenarios were modelled for comparison against each other.
As I've mentioned before, some members of the scrutiny committee did try to point out that there were risks in the council's forecasting methodology at their Nov meeting but were outvoted.
And I think this is the gateway to the best practice initiative that CopthallResident was referring to.
Are not Councils expected to follow best practices and learn from each other. If the benchmark is scientific modelling of future outcomes, then why is Richmond Council lagging behind ?
Nick Whitfield would have sounded more credible had his department followed a robust forecasting process . BaYJay I am surprised that this was highlighted in a previous SC meeting and no action was taken. Why was this not escalated then?
Chris is there a standards committee in the Council that looks into this and can encourage the Education deparment to get more scientific and dare I use the word " professional " in their approach
I am surprised reading the SC meeting minutes. It does not capture adequately the key points made by those who spoke against the proposals, the views and concerns expressed by Committee members, including the leader of the opposition.
Finally It does not record the vote taken (7 for 6 against, 1 abstention), despite the fact that this was reported by the chairman to the Cabinet the following week). Arguably it should also record who voted for what.
It was a public meeting and the public deserves to see the commensurate level of transperancy and granularity in the published minutes.
Why was this not escalated then?
Because its a committee, and it voted not to.
p.s. A personal account of what happened at the Nov meeting can be found at post [Thu 15-Dec-11 14:54:37] in the previous thread.
(And if anyone knows how to link directly to a specific post in another thread, please let me know!)
Can you really trust someone who doesn't know the difference between "weather" and "whether" (or that their spelling is so bad that they should use spellcheck) to produce a comprehensive and accurate set of minutes!? Doesn't inspire confidence! Letter to Gillian Norton!
Thanks a lot BayJay for sharing that post. I agree that it was out voted and we have seen again now that due to the make up of the committee, the only thing that will be voted will be what the 5 Tory and 2 Church reps want. No matter how strong the views of the other 6 and 1 ( who cannot form a view on anything!), they will be out voted again and again and again.
But the point here is about not following acceptable level of standards in making forecasts. Is there no way for members to raise that to the Councils standard committee ?
Is there no way for members to raise that to the Councils standard committee ?
I don't know much about the standards committee, but I assume any member of the public can raise issues with them.
Looking at it again I think the Standards Committee is only for investigating complaints against Councillors, so it wouldn't coer something like best practice in school place planning. The buck would stop with the scrutiny committee for that.
We have now written to Democratic services highlighting the the inaccuracies and inadequacies in the Scrutiny committee report. They have been requested to correct them and publish an updated version
Perhaps the poor forecasting methods used by LB Richmond will be part of the argument in the judicial review ie. it did not correctly identify the fact that there was a "need" for a new secondary school very soon because it didn't follow best practice. However, I'm still unclear whether a "need" for a school in the next few years (ie. 2014 or 2015 or 2016 rather than 2013) is enough or whether it has to be a more urgent need. Given the shortage of sites, the cost of land locally the time it takes to build a school from scratch, funding shortages etc. I would have thought that showing a "need" for a school in the next few years would be enough but I have no idea if that's how the court would see it.
These were the areas of risks to forecasts I outlined at the Cabinet Meeting - obviously with only 3 minutes you can't spout numbers but these were the back up stats I had drawn off (thanks to those who posted the ones I used from here!) in the vain hope they would ask questions.
The Council admits that there are many variables in predicting and providing school places which make it difficult, and yet all their focus on risk is on the possibility of unfilled capacity.
With just 3% spare places in the borough in 2014 surely there should be an equal focus on the risk that the Council will fail to provide enough places, again
Here are just a few of those risks, both probable and will have a high impact
The Council proposes no new places in it's maintained schools, and a reduction in academies until 2016 or possibly later and yet the primary school cohort, all in our schools now, will have increased by 23%.
It is assumed that there will be a halving of out of borough pupils. We were assured by The Council's officials that the the 2012 figures were confirmation enough of those forecasts going forward to 2016. Not surprising since they were made a few months ago and undermined by ignoring the risks that
the Kingston School is still not certain of finance, it isn't in the Government priority building list issued today, and may be built too far south to meet demand near the boundary
and there is no immunity from the 17% increase in pupil numbers that will hit Hounslow in 2015 far exceeding their capacity.
It is also assumed that there will be 95 places in Free Schools from 2013. The only school that would deliver that won't know until August if it has funding and Clifden Road will be the most easily and quickly delivered site
The parents who the Council has always relied on to opt for private education or move from the Borough when faced with no place at a local school are no longer as able to oblige. Economic forecasts, especially for the Financial sector which employs many of them, continue to be bleak.
In 2013, the removal of links will mean many parents will have wider options, catchment areas are bound to shrink and the pressure on spare capacity increase, especially in Twickenham.
The impact of the risks on the parents in my road is that as early as 2013 Twickenham children will have only a long journey to Richmond Park Academy as an option. And Richmond Park Academy are planning to be fully subscribed by 2014. Why wouldn't they be? There is no reason why local demand for an improved school will not be as great as it is for Orleans
The new School at Egerton Road, is still largely spin, there may have been meetings but the feasibility and timing, of the site, funding, design and building are all uncertain.
And now we know what a bullett point in Word comes out cut and pasted into Mumsnet! Sorry!
CopthallRes: Doesn't matter about the styling, your points are excellent, so valid. It is really schocking the Council's complacency.
I feel really upset at the decision taken about this school.
Really upset that my own children matter less than one select group.
But I must say, congratulations to the Catholic Community locally who fought for this school, exculsively for themselves.
Now why don't you carry on that sucess and campaign for your own new and exclusive Hospital, Library and Shopping Centre??
After all at Hospital people like to be with their own friends and often want some pastoral care while they are there.
And can be unpleasant waiting in Line in A and E with strangers you don't know.
Also in Libraries and Shopping Centres wouldn't it be be nicer for people to have total 'continuity' in their lives and mix with the same people, their friends?
Apparently some Children really need places outside their own home or church exactly to exactly match those 2 places.
Apparantly it's essential to keep these children together as one group seperately!?
**These were all the same reasons used to argue in favour of the unfair School proposal, so I am sure our lovely Council will back anymore similar ideas and more ways to segregate children, you just need to ask them.
And they will do it free for you, using Taxpayers money too. A new local Hospital for Catholics only would easily get set up because most people are too complacent to do anything.
Also you could use your network of chuches to flood any consulatation to show majority support.
You could get a lovely Hospital like a Private one but at no cost to yourselves!
I wish Catholic families who supported this school could see how divisive, insulting and unfair it feels to the rest of us.
I hope the legal challenge delays it for ages and ages then good sense may prevail at last.
Thanks BayJay and Chris. I did not mean about standards in the sense questioning the conduct of councillors or council officers . I meant is there an office in the Council that looks at quality of internal processes, benchmarking, continous process improvement ? perhaps an internal process audit or governance group ? I am not familiar with local govt, but if our Council is not using best practice - how does one encourage them to move in that direction?
It should be what we should expect Scrutiny committee members to look into and take the matter with the Internal audit or governance group. In case they are outvoted and have serious concerns, they should so something, rather than just shrug their shoulders and move on.
This is where I feel the SC make up is too political - 9 politicians, 2 Church reps and only 3 Parents. It does not help that Lib Dems are not forceful enough and one of the parent governors does not understand her responsibilities.
Fairtoall - I would not want the legal case to be dragged. Its not in the interest of our children and would not be a good use of tax payer money, if it is a long legal battle.
Of course the Council could have done the honourable thing of admitting that the law had changed and invitied a Catholic academy proposal. Insted what we got were disingenuous statements and attempts to cover up/ spin on needs and wants. Good luck Mr Whitfield - try that line in front of a judge !
JoTwick: Performance is the key word, not standards. You should let Cllr Tony Arbour, Cabinet Member for Performance [Conservative, Hampton Wick] and Cllr Brian Miller [Liberal Democrat, Ham, Petersham and Richmond Riverside] chair of the Finance and Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee whose next meeting is on Tuesday, 12 June know what you think. These Search results may be helpful.
In case they are outvoted and have serious concerns, they should do something, rather than just shrug their shoulders and move on
Jo, if you really think that's what happened then you're either mistaken or being remarkably unfair.
JoTwick: you put ....."I would not want the legal case to be dragged. Its not in the interest of our children and would not be a good use of tax payer money, if it is a long legal battle."....
A long legal battle not my first choice of what should happen, and would indeed waste taxpayers money, but it is far preferable to instantly wasting £15 million traightaway by the Council signing over the site to the Catholic church for 150 years!
I'd prefer a long battle that lasted ages as it probably would cost less than £15 million. And if it drags on, then there is more chance of the council changing to a more reasonable one.
Of course the best outcome would be a quick legal ruling that says the council should consider a Free school on the site instead. The rise in need for secondary places will be here in just 2 years so we need a site up and running as soon as possible for an inclusive community school.
BayJay Apologies if I was being totally blunt. But has anyone already raised the point on performance/ standards / best practices around Councils school places forecasting process ?
Another committee which keeps an eye on school place planning is the Audit Committee. In November they raised the level of school place planning risk to Amber.
I think the Judicial Review will be about defining the precise meaning of the law and the precise context in which a Council has or has not to seek academy proposals. It's a new law and untested. The Council are saying it's about needs and wants but that is not necessarily what a judge will interpret it as saying. It's on that judge's interpretation, not the Councils, that the rest of the case will hinge
I would have thought it would be difficult for a judge to rule on whether the current forecasts, and their quality negate the Council's judgement on whether it has or hasn't a need for a new school. My point was as much about the way they were not called to account with a detailed justification of the figures, and to assess the risks (indeed both Whitfield and Paul seemed quite irritated that anyone was daring to question them at all!) as it was about the actual, what would be regarded in business as, mainline forecasts themselves. They will argue to a judge that they use the best practise for the context, lowest per pupil budgets in Outer London, and money following the pupils, making full schools essential, and difficult to predict local conditions (those pesky west London middle classes move around too much ) . If you are coming at the problem with the view of minimising the risk of the academies ending up with spare capacity then forecasting the lowest likely level of demand is arguably reasonable. However it means by definition that there is a high level of risk it will be an underestimate, and it can't be presented as the most likely outcome, so obviously as parents we don't find it reasonable , and you would hope the politicians representing us wouldn't either! And if they need to no doubt they would rustle up some alternative models and risk assessments to satisfy a judge, that said what Lord True wanted them to say.
I think what might work better would be to demonstrate through their record on primary school places that they have consistently failed to meet the need for new schools? That what they have delivered has been too little, too late? Whitfield said it was regretable some parents weren't accommodated until the last minute (or after, last year at least) but it was a necessary evil because of the need to keep schools full. It really really irritates me that no one in the Council acknowledges that implicit in this strategy is that it deters parents away, so it doesn't meet need. But then that hinges on what constitutes sufficient provision, and need!
Mr Whitfield is out of touch. Even my Catholic friends said to me after the debate, they were uncomfortable with what he said about no need for Catholic school.
They will not back him on this, as they feel there is a desperate need for a Catholic school - A desperate need to provide continuity and consistenty of Catholic education from primary to secondary, to repatriate all the kids who want to continue their Catholic education in the borough.
I respect their need and their values that will not support a false argument to try and beat the law.
Funding bid for new Kingston school falls through reports the Kingston Guardian (May 30): . . The government released a list of 42 schools prioritised for cash under the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), but the proposed school for the North Kingston Centre site, currently an adult education centre, was not one of them . . Kingstons executive member for education, councillor Liz Green said the government "unfairly" changed the funding criteria and demographic needs were not considered when allocating the money. She said: "Its a bit of a shock. We could have been told several months ago. To say we were disappointed is an understatement."
. . Cllr Andrea Craig described the shortage of school places across the borough as a "deepening crisis" and warned that the situation would only worsen unless planning was improved. She said: "We have got to start using our brains and to protect the community. We are the nappy valley of Surrey and we are not building with the forethought and sight of what we will need."
. . Director of education at the council, Duncan Clark, . . said one option could be a free school, for which there is separate funding available: "The council remains open-minded to all options and would especially support a proposal that would increase the capacity of non-selective, co-ed places in the borough that were open to all resident children." (my emphasis)
So why did Nick Whitfield mislead the Cabinet saying that they should have not been expecting funding in this round ?
gmsing, I think he meant they weren't expecting funding in the announcement last week, which was about school rebuilding. This one, about new schools, is a new announcement, and the one they were waiting for.
It just struck me that this idea of the Council aiming always to have schools 100% full, because funding follows the number of children; may work at Primary but is totally inappropriate at Secondary level.
Its because if a child does not have a school place at Reception Primary, there is some slack until that child turns Five, there is not a legal requirement that the child is educated. So you could have a bit of a lag in theory and could scrabble around sorting out places last minute in August, sept and Oct or even the months after that, as many are not turned five yet.
However with Secondary places it is a legal requirement for a child of eleven to have an education, afterthey h ave left primary. There is no slack at all ! And also it is much more stressful to the child, as unlike primary there will be aware of what is going on and will want to know what is the next school they are going to.
In the Swindon study I linked to earlier, the following recommendation is made:
"Recommendation 1 - An explicit statement be made setting out a reasonable level of surplus places expected for infrastructure planning purposes at primary and secondary level. Although the Swindon School Organisation Plan refers to 6% for both, this is an aim rather than the norm and may be too low for primary schools. We recommend that these overall levels be set at 8% and 6% respectively for primary and secondary schools for the reasons given in this report."
I haven't found the "reasons" bit yet.
Think I've found it ...
"5.11. We regard a reasonable level of surplus places to be 8% for primary schools and 6% for secondary schools. These reflect norms across the country and the expectations of government departments and the Audit Commission. They allow more places at primary schools where surpluses are less easy to use since younger children find it more difficult to make their way to schools that are some distance away."
So with 4% at secondary and must be less at primary (are there any primary Schools not filled at Reception?) are Richmond vulnerable to criticism from Dof E / the Audit Commission? Don't Swindon sound warm and cuddly in comparison to Richmond, acknowledging that small children finding it hard to travel is actually a consideration!
On the Kingston school Whitfield actually said that the list issued that day, which was called the Priority Building List, addressed condition not need, hence it was actually rebuilding, and that need would be addressed through separate channels, which is consistent with what the Kingston Councillor says about demographic needs not being considered. Except she seems to think it puts the school at greater risk whereas Whitfield was dismissing it, as he does, with a world weary "why are these people sent to try us" air ......
Here is the May 25 story about Kingston (ChrisSquire Fri 25-May-12 18:05:41):
Uncertainty over funding for Kingston's new secondary school:
" . . The government announced 261 schools across the country would receive money from a school building fund but had not released details of which of the 587 applications had been successful.
A list of 42 schools being prioritised for the cash from the Priority School Building Programme was released but the planned north Kingston secondary school was not one of them, leaving the future of childrens education in the borough uncertain. Kingstons executive member for education councillor Liz Green said she was currently unsure of what the move meant for Kingston and would need to find out more about what the priority list meant . . "
Having checked the PSBP website its seems there has only been one announcement, which is the one on May 24th.
Reading between the lines I'd say because the announcement only addresses those schools that applied for rebuilding funds, some people assumed there'd be another announcement targetted at those that were applying for new-build funds. However, presumably Kingston have now received their letter of non-success attached the original announcement. That has confirmed that they won't be getting any funds and has triggered the new story this week.
BayJay, was the north Kingston school proposed to be an LA maintained school or academy?
Muminlondon, the competition was won by a trust that was a consortium of the local council, college and uni.
I assume that means it would have been an academy, but I'm not 100% sure. Ironically, if the same trust had put in a free school bid in February then they could have got the go ahead this summer (though presumably the rival CofE bidders could have done the same).
I think this proposal has suffered from taking so long in consultation/competition, with changes of government in between. I don't think LBRuT was too keen on it in the original consultation because of the proximity to Grey Court. Before that there had been a proposal to expand Grey Court and for the two councils to work together - not sure who decided against that. It would make more sense if central government considered the impact of a free school there, taking account all surrounding schools and not just those within the political boundaries.
But it is a lesson on what could happen at Egerton Road.
But it is a lesson on what could happen at Egerton Road
Yes, as I said a few days ago, the hypothetical school at Egerton road would probably need to be a Free School under current legislation.
Who knows what would happen if we had another change of government in the meantime.
Another potential source of funding for Egerton Rd from the existing Government would be the UTC intitiative, though from this announcement today it sounds like they have already created more of those than they originally intended, and one of the new ones will be near Heathrow.
Copthall - where did you get 4% at secondary. Also has someone seen data that shows what % spare spaces are in all London boroughs - I cant imagine all of them are 100% full
Jeev: 20/32 of the boroughs have experienced an increase in their birth rate between 2001 and 2010 greater than Richmond's [i.e. 25.0 % which is below the London average] (Source: GL Intelligence Unit). No doubt, therefore, that their primary schools are full and their secondary schools soon will be. So you need to give your imagination freer rein if you wish to understand the world you live in!
Muminlondon: the competition was for an academy as it was run under the Education and Inspections Act 2006, before the Education Act 2010 enabling free schools became law. Here's the Adjudication.
thanks Chris, so in fact they still followed procedure as it would be under the new Act. Can councils be proposers of free schools?
muminlondon, independence from the Local Authority seems to be core to the definition of a Free School, so I suspect not, but can't find any evidence of that.
Sorry some more questions/speculation! I notice that Kingston needs £30 million to build the new school. Does it already own the site or does that figure include buying it from a separate adult education provider in the same way that Clifden is having to be bought from RACC? Given that there is a lot of opposition to using the North Kingston Centre at all because it's a well-used adult education centre, if the only option in Kingston is a free school or schools not run by the Council, won't a free school be more likely to go ahead on another site and therefore not free up places at Grey Court?
Another bit of info I haven't seen before is whether the Maharishi or C of E would be buying the Oldfield site and how much for or just getting it for a peppercorn rent like the Catholics? How much is the total pot available from the Government for free schools? It seems as if it's going to be extremely expensive to build them around here so I would have thought funding several of them in one corner of SW London where land is at a premium is unlikely unless it is a massive pot and they really intend to build five hundred plus across the UK and to pursue a policy of a free school in every local authority.
Kingston is certainly suffering from the madness of hosting/owning grammar schools with exclusive admissions policies that don't prioritise its own children when it has such limited space.
Hi Lottie. According to this BBC report on the chancellor's Autumn Statement the total Free School budget over the next 3 years is £600m. They're aiming for 100 new schools, with 12 of them being specialist 16-18 maths colleges. That's an average of just £6 million per school. One of the aims of the free school programme is that it should use existing public buildings with minimal refurbishment costs, allowing new schools to be set up quickly.
I think the North Kingston project involved a complete re-build, so its not surprising the cost was projected to be so high. The Teddington School rebuild cost a similar amount. That sort of pot was available through the previous government's Building Schools for the Future programme, which the current government scrapped.
I think the Oldfield centre is already council owned isn't it? If one of those schools was approved then the Government would presumably negotiate rental terms with the council. A peppercorn rent would seem reasonable, similar to other Academies. I'm speculating though.
There must be a limit to the number of empty ex-school buildings around. Michaela free school in Tooting. has now been delayed because of problems with the site and local opposition. Though I'm surprised it can open in Wandsworth because I thought the school won its bid for Lambeth?
"There must be a limit to the number of empty ex-school"
They don't have to be ex-school, but obviously it minimises the refurb costs if its is an existing school building. That's why Clifden Road was an obvious first choice for NLS4T. Any other site will inevitably be more expensive to turn into a school.
Thanks BayJay. For £6 million or not much more I can't see how anyone can set up a secondary school round here unless they are being presented with a site that already has suitable buildings and is rent free. That is roughly the figure it's going to cost to refurbish Clifden. That seems to mean any site would have to be already owned by the local authority (or a generous benefactor/failed private school) and be already school-like in its buildings and layout and outdoor space? I don't know what state the North Kingston Centre buildings are in as the courses I have done there are in portacabins out the back eg. the IT suite. Presumably they had good reasons for wanting to knock it down and rebuild it but sounds like that will now not be possible.
Yes, Oldfield Centre is Council owned but buildings much too small for a combined primary and secondary school so would have to be rebuilt if Maharishi plan were to go ahead (which is what they proposed). Seems to indicate that it would be better to make it a primary school as that would be possible with just refurbishment costs.
so would have to be rebuilt if Maharishi plan were to go ahead (which is what they proposed)
Perhaps the Maharishi foundation were planning to put some of their own money into that too. Don't know the answer to that one I'm afraid.
That is roughly the figure it's going to cost to refurbish Clifden
Yes, that's why it would have been perfect for a Free School.
NLS4T haven't announced their second site preference as they don't yet know if its viable, and the info may be commercially sensitive.
Jeev It's currently 12%, 209 spare places out of 1610 places, but by 2014 their forecasts have it at 3.8% 65 / 1680, back up to 7% in 2016 when the Egerton Road school comes on stream, if it doesn't for any reason that will be 0%.
I guess if you do get approval, it would be in the council's and residents' interests if it works with you, either for a permanent site or temporary, or both.
"it would be in the council's and residents' interests if it works with you"
Yes, people need to realise that since the passing of the 2011 Education Act legislation, free schools aren't 'alternative' provision, they're the only way for communities to get new schools.
Also, after reading about Michaela community school's experience so far of securing sites, it would also be important for you to have the support of the council and/or local residents. I don't know whether Richmond borough is special in this regard but last week I read about an ancient footpath across Petersham meadow rediscovered just as the National Trust erects a rather modest electric fence to protect the cows, and I'm told Premier Inn was refused permission to convert some ugly asbestos-filled offices into a hotel. So planning or coservation issues can meet pretty fierce opposition. And that's nothing compared to Twickenham riverside!
muminlondon, yes, another advantage with Clifden Road is that is existing status as a building for educational use means that those sorts of planning issues won't arise.
Any other site could potentially have planning issues.
Sorry and one more question: Michaela free school was accepting applications direct so in effect some people could have had two offers. In fact, it was doing that without having an agreement on the site anyway, so at least applicants will have a concrete place somewhere.
Would the intention of NLS4T be to administer admissions independently too? I have to say, I think that's wrong - VA schools used to do that but now are part of the common applications process.
May 29: New school funding announcement: Kingston Council has expressed extreme disappointment after learning that it has been unsuccessful in its bid for funding for a new school through the Governments Priority Schools Building Programme. Duncan Clark, Director of Education at Kingston Council said:
Having submitted its bid in October 2011 we have been waiting for a decision for a long time. Throughout this bidding process the Government has amended and changed the criteria for allocating funding to local authorities. This long-awaited announcement will be of great concern to a large number of parents in Kingston. At the heart of our bid is the rising demand for school places that comes from the rapid demographic growth in the Borough.
Following a lengthy delay in making their decision, the Education Funding Agency has said that a rising demand for school places caused by population growth has not been supported by the Programme. Funding has been targeted only at existing schools that are in a poor condition and no funding has been allocated to bids for brand new schools (like Kingstons bid).
Duncan Clark added: The rapid rise in the number of children and young people has put a huge demand on secondary school places in Kingston. The Council has a statutory duty to provide sufficient school places and additional Secondary School places will be needed by 2015/16. Without sufficient funding for a new school being available through Basic Need funding channels, the Council will continue to explore all other routes for providing the secondary school places to meet the needs of local children. We will continue to lobby central government to ensure that they recognise the high basic need that we have in Kingston for additional secondary school places.
The Council needs to explore all of the options for providing additional secondary school capacity. We will continue to work with our partners to maximise the opportunity to provide a new secondary school that will meet the needs of all local children. One such route for meeting demand for school places could be a Free School option for which there is a separate pot of capital funding available. The Council remains open-minded to all options and would especially support a proposal that would increase the capacity of non-selective, co-ed places in the Borough that were open to all resident children. The important aspect of this potential route is that the secondary school places are provided where they are required and that they provide the education setting that parents have told us they want in the Borough.
Muminlondon, NLS4T intends to be fully part of the local family of schools, and that includes being part of the pan-London admissions system. The website here says:
"Due to the timing of the Free School approval process it is likely that for the first year of admissions (for Sept 2013) our application process will run separately to the pan-London admissions process used for other local schools. In subsequent years it would be part of that process"
It's one of the things that's a bit unfortunate about the tight timescales of the free school programme, and something that's being actively discussed with the council to work out the best solution all round.
Nick whitfield does not seem to talk to the kingston directo as he claimed at the cabinet . Clearly he needs ( even if he does not wants) to take responsibility for misleading us all on a no of things !!
I'd describe it as misplaced optimism rather than deliberately misleading, and I imagine the Kingston director was also still hopeful at the time. That source of funding was always going to be a long shot though.
Is there a map/paper that shows where the black holes are developing in Kingston for children who will be unable to get secondary school places? Presumably most of the children who live near the North Kingston Centre are going to Grey Court at present and anticipate being able to continue to do so as they are quite nearby geographically and can't be squeezed out by children from LB Richmond for the most part, so the worst black spots are actually somewhere else?
With regard to funding for new secondary free schools, given that they need to be quite a lot larger than a primary school to be viable/provide a proper education to an inclusive intake, it just doesn't sound as if the average amount on offer is enough. So presumably the idea is that the parents or whoever wants the school has to find a sponsor/partner that is willing to put money in aswell?
So does this mean that the mythical Egerton Road school of 2016 will also need another set of parents and sponsors willing to work extremely hard to provide something that the Council tax ought to provide, because the Council is unable to open a school itself? That seems another risk factor unless NLS4T hasn't got a site by then and hasn't given up. I suppose Lord True's best case scenario is that the Catholic Church gets a second school at Egerton Road even if it has to let in 50% of the wrong sort of children.
Nick Whitfield comes across as one who is accustomed to having his professional advice greeted by respectful silence when he offers it to councillors and residents. As a former Benedictine monk he must be comfortable with the idea that wisdom comes from those in authority and not from the rationalist sceptical post-Enlightenment discourse typified by Jeremy Rodelll and his colleagues. Truly this affair is a clash of cultures.
However we should acknowledge, and thank him for, his service to the borough in steering the conversion to academies of our three failing secondary schools, which has enabled them to be rebuilt and relaunched.
" it just doesn't sound as if the average amount on offer is enough"
Clearly "average" means some will get more than others, and it would be reasonable to assume that bigger schools would get more than smaller ones .
"So does this mean that the mythical Egerton Road school of 2016 will also need another set of parents and sponsors"
As it says here free schools can be set up by:
community and faith groups
businesses (on a not-for-profit basis)
So, for example, staff from the college could propose a free school at Egerton Road in partnership with local businesses or charities. Alternatively, the council could advertise for an academy sponsor to take on the project, aiming to find one that would work in partnership with the college.
In the case of NLS4T, the sponsor is a charitable trust who are supporting the bid with pro-bono time, effort and skills rather than capital funding.
Chris I am too simple to understand your philosiphical argument . But from where I see as a parent, when I see a professional on a slippery slope, I get deeply concerned. Does Nick whitfield or any of the Cabinet members send their kids to state school and realise the challenges we face ?
The application form - mainstream offers these choices:
Please state how you would describe your group:
Academy sponsor; Independent school; Other - please provide more details; Parent/community group ; State maintained school ; Teacher-led group.
The Free School Applicant?s Handbook for 2013 Opening says: To set up a Free School, a group of people must come together to form a non-profit Company Limited by Guarantee . . Broadly, there are three Free School models to consider:
- A promoter-run school where the group applies on its own and then takes complete legal responsibility for the school;
- A sponsor-run school where the group partners with an existing non-profit educational provider, which would normally play a role in writing the application, and is in control of all decisions taking overall responsibility for running the school; or
- A school provider model where the group proposing the school takes overall responsibility for the school, but outsources part or all of the running of the school to an external educational provider.
JoTwick: look at it this way: Jeremy R & co. order their lives by the motto of the Royal Society: Nullius in verba - take nobody?s word for it. Nick R and Lord True prefer the precepts of Catholic Canon Law, which lays a clear duty on Catholic parents to give their children a Catholic education.
As regards the Council cabinet kids schooling, for Cllr Samuel, well past 80, its more a case of his grandchildren! The cabinet comprises:
Lord True (Chairman) Leader of the Council]; Geoffrey Samuel (Vice-Chairman) [Deputy Leader and Finance & Resources]; Tony Arbour - [Performance]; Pamela Fleming - [Community, Business and Culture]; Chris Harrison - [Highways and Street Scene]; Paul Hodgins - [Schools]; David Marlow - [Community Development]; Virginia Morris - [Environment, Planning, Parks and Highways]; Christine Percival - Strategic [Education, Youth and Childrens Services]; Nicola Urquhart - [Adult services, Health and Housing].
I would be very surprised if any of them had children young enough to be still at primary school simply because of the demands these roles make upon their time, in the evening as well as during the day.
Tony Arbour did send his kids to local state schools in Teddington. Virginia Morris has two young children not yet at school. I understood that Paul Hodgins had several children at a local primary school too one of whom is in Year 6 and may or may not go to RPA. Don't know about the others but I think quite old. Didn't Lord True send his boys to Eton or is that an urban myth!?
Can't see the staff at Richmond College volunteering to set up a new school - they seem rather fed up generally! Hope someone will but it seems a lot of work. I remain puzzled about how a big secondary in an expensive area can be expected to be funded without taking up too much of the pot and stopping several cheaper schools going ahead. It seems like the free school scheme isn't really ambitious enough to keep up with the need for large new schools in urban areas.
Thanks Chris. Canon Law does not say that state should fund exclusive Catholic schools. Which other country does that - even Italy, France and Spain do not have state funded Catholic schoos.
Coming to the Cabinet, it was mentioned on this thread that Paul Hodgins had young kids, but could not bring him to send them to RPA. So he seems to have given on the state sector.
4 of 9 members did not utter a word apart from saying "Agree" to pass the 2 decisions. What a waste of space - Did they not care enough about education!
So not only did we have an out of touch but also nearly 50% disinterested Cabinet relying on a questionable professional judgement.
Sorry 5 out of 9 Cabinet members did not say anthing on Clifden Road debate. Got my counting wrong - they were Samuel, Fleming, Urquhart, Morris & Harrison. And clearly others were just offering slow and juicy full tosses to the Catholic speakers. It looked like a real set up when someone asked a Catholic speaker very gently what is the admission policy? And he gladly read it out and obliged.
There seems to be some confusion about the duties of Catholic parents and what Canon Law says about state-funded Catholic schools. Parents arent expected to interpret Canon Law for themselves, as this section from the admissions policy of Richard Challoner school in Kingston makes clear: Catholic parents are reminded that they should send their children to Catholic schools, as required by the teaching of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales (Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, May 2000).
The Vaticans Code of Canon Law: www.vatican.va/archive/cdc/index.htm doesnt say directly that there should be state-funded Catholic education. But effectively it says that there ought to be state-subsidised Catholic schools and instructs the members of the church to do their best to get the appropriate laws put in place. Heres the actual wording:
Can. 797 Parents must possess a true freedom in choosing schools; therefore, the Christian faithful must be concerned that civil society recognizes this freedom for parents and even supports it with subsidies; distributive justice is to be observed.
Can. 798 Parents are to entrust their children to those schools which provide a Catholic education. If they are unable to do this, they are obliged to take care that suitable Catholic education is provided for their children outside the schools.
Can. 799 The Christian faithful are to strive so that in civil society the laws which regulate the formation of youth also provide for their religious and moral education in the schools themselves, according to the conscience of the parents.
Can. 800 §1. The Church has the right to establish and direct schools of any discipline, type, and level.
Of course, in theory this is irrelevant - other than as a set of aspirations - as Catholic Canon Law has no status in the UK. But the Roman Catholic Church is the world's most powerful and influential religious organisation, so it's not a bad idea to know where it's coming from.
Rylerom - Thanks for that clarification on Canon Law and rights to have state funded exclusive Catholic schools. In the statement to the Cabinet, Matthew Paul said that the religion and belief Protected Characteristic in the Equality Duty is clearly being met because the purpose of the school is to meet the needs of Catholic parents for a Catholic secondary school. But that is only true if it does not trample on the interests of residents from other religions and beliefs, including those with no religious beliefs. Clearly, a very large number of them, believe that it will. The key point underlying this debate is that one belief group, Catholics, is being given a privilege over everyone else. To claim that this is justified on the basis of equality seems perverse.
Does anyone know how many catholic kids go private . I suspect there are a number of them who prefer a private Catholic school or a non denomination private school . Perhaps Magic or someone else could kindly share this info
Lottie, not an urban myth, both boys went to Eton and the daughter started out at The Old Vicarage before going on to Catholic private schools although I wouldn't normally believe anything I read in the Daily Mail
Jo, There are certainly girls who go from St James's to LEH each year, it's a well trodden path.
There is a bus from Fullwell to St George's Weybridge, arguably the best private Catholic School around here, unless you count Oratory , but then it doesn't have exclusive Catholic admissions, somehow it still manages not to have "diluted" that precious ethos .
Jo, there's some analysis of St James' 2010 transfer figures way back here at 22-Jul-11 20:32:27.
(And you'll notice I've figured out how to link to specific posts )
There may also be some Catholic families who send their kids private (either to a Catholic or non Catholic) even at primary level. I am thinking about a lot of them at the popular in Borough private schools such as St Pauls, Vicagare, Harrodians etc.
There are 300 students in Catholic state primaries, but I am not sure how many are in private. I have not seen stats that show what % of overall Catholic population never enter the state education system.
Gmsing, of course, yes, there will be. I know two families in that category, as I mentioned here.
Gmsing: We will have to wait for the results of the 2011 Census to get an estimate of the total number of Catholic children in the borough:
. . The second release of 2011 Census statistics will take place between November 2012 and February 2013. The statistics will be available for local authorities . . tables include: Usual resident population; Age structure; Living arrangements; Marital and civil partnership status; Country of birth; Ethnic group; Religion; Health and provision of unpaid care; Economic activity; Hours worked; Main language; Passports held; Household language; National identity; Length of residency in the UK.
Chris, the census results won't answer that because Question 20 was phrased as:
What is your religion?
- No religion
- Christian (including Church of England, Catholic, Protestant and all other Christian denominations)
- Any other religion, write in
So there's no distinction between Catholic and other Christian groups.
Dang! Actually I think the Catholic establishment has missed a trick here. As they think that they are the only true Christians and that they need - or want - separate education, they should have asked for a Catholic option to be added. Indeed the view has been expressed in this forum that only the practising - as against cultural - Catholics that should get access to their state funded schools.
Which seem strange to me as surely it is the children of the cultural Catholics (the majority I guess) whom the Church should be trying to win back to the Faith.
Suggest you tone it down Chris. There's no benefit in stirring things up.
Chris - I think most of us have encountered far more cultural Catholics who want their children to have a Catholic education for nostalgic reasons and/or fear of the hurly-burly/lower educational standards of their local secondary school, than truly religious Catholics who feel it is a necessity to have a religious education. It's because I've never met someone with children at a Catholic school who fell into the devout category that this whole saga makes no sense to me.
Copthall - I didn't realise Lord True's son was actually classmates at Eton with Prince William! It's just so ludicrous that in a democracy we have someone with so little regard for state education forcing through decisions that affect so many families.
Chris/Lottie, I think its a reasonable assumption that at the heart of the school strategy of both the Catholic Church and the Church of England is a general aim to encourage cultural Christians to go to church more often. However, the two churches are approaching it differently.
The Catholic church is (effectively) making church attendance a condition of entry to their (most popular) schools. That will get more cultural Catholics going to church, but has the negative effect of closing the door on disadvantaged (though still just as culturally Catholic) families (single parents, shift workers, full time carers, people with learning difficulties etc) who can't keep up the required levels of commitment. The result is lower FSM percentages at those schools, as we've seen locally.
The CofE has a different approach. It is gradually removing its Church-attendance requirements to encourage a wider mixture of applicants, and using the Free School programme to increase its number of schools dramatically. No doubt its aim will still be to encourage cultural Christians to go to church more often (or at least identify more closely with Christian heritage), and perhaps even to convert some non-Christians. However, they're working towards doing that on mass, across the full social spectrum.
It will be interesting to see which strategy is most successful in the long run.
RISC write (to supporters): We had a phone conference last week with the British Humanist Association and the lawyers to consider whether to go ahead with legal action following the Council's decision on the exclusive Catholic schools. The result was that our lawyers sent a letter to the Council today saying that their decision was unlawful and that, unless they withdraw it, we will apply to the Court for permission for a Judicial Review.
. . Assuming their reply to our legal letter is negative, the next step is "Commencement of Proceedings". Because of the Court's summer recess, there is a risk that the hearing could be delayed until after the Council needs to invite applications for school places for September 2013, which happens in October 2012. Obviously we don't want to create uncertainty for parents, so we have asked the Council not to take the full time that is allowed for them to respond to each stage in the hope that we can get a Court date in late September. So that's the currently expected timing.
Bayjay I think it is fair to say that there were Anglicans who wanted to keep Anglican schools exclusive, Anglicans that genuinely wanted to reach out and ensure the benefits of their schools were shared as far as possible with the most disadvantaged, and not be quasi private schools for the Middle Classes that filled up church pews, and all kinds of shades of opinion in between. Their debate was carried out to some extent in the public domain and what the Daily Mail would probably describe as a "liberal Archbishop of Canterbury" (because he couldn't actually be the Christian Archbishop of Canterbury )probably helped deliver a more inclusive compromise. Catholic canon law is something else entirely, certainly not subject to liberal compromise! and the underlying reason why we would never win the debate on the basis of any other brand of morality and principle, because for the Catholic Church, Lord True, Whitfield etc. there can be no immorality in their decision, according to their subjectivity, a Catholic School is always going to be right and a right ( and it seems the means to achieve it ). One of my contacts in local government (still not managed to get hold of them, jubileeing?) said that most Councils planning how they will meet the needs of the borough effectively disregard Catholic Schools as so socially exclusive as to be quasi private and so it would be very difficult to justify putting resources into a new one, perhaps that is why Ealing, the real seat of the Catholic "need" for new schools is not delivering a new Catholic school? However there are other Councils where a strongly Catholic leadership (actually my contact used the word zealots) have been able to deliver new schools, I think they mentioned Kent and somewhere in the North West. Anyway I gather the letter has gone to the Council now confirming legal action.
The same is true for the parents involved in this debate. We all make decisions on schools based on a whole range of subjectively arrived at and decided on considerations, the nature of the school, the quality of the school, the nature of the child, their wishes, their needs, distance, culture, family history, what we can afford etc. and to be fair for some Catholics I know that decision is determined by being devout (but then of course that generally puts them in a better position to get into Oratory and Sacred Heart, and will continue to do so according to the admissions criteria Oratory has fought Paul Barber to preserve) However the leaver's statistics for St James's show that many parents in Catholic Primary Schools make the same decisions we all do. It is just that compared with the rest of us they have had at least one additional option and from now on that will be the Clifden School School. It remains to be seen how many of them actually choose an untried school which may not be that local for them......
Or should I say if the Council has it's way will be the Clifden Road School....
I am really pleased to see that RISC is pushing the Council to co-operate to get the JR completed as soon as possible. Its in everyones interest to get this done as quickly and cost effectively as possible
A court date in late September will surely not be the end of it if the Council's decision is ruled unlawful since it will be directed to go away and make the decision again? If it has to go through the process of inviting proposals from interested parties to set up a Free School/Academy I would have thought that there could be a considerable delay as there may well be several parties interested in opening a school on the site - Catholic Church, NLS4T, Maharishi if it doesn't get Oldfield site, possibly others. LB Richmond will surely have to go through at least the same process of report, Scrutiny Committee, Cabinet etc, and why not another public consultation if there are several options?
These two documents show how a competition for an Academy is run and decided:
New Secondary School Competition, Kingston upon Thames Report from the seminar for potential proposers held on 18th May 2010
'Determination: Under the powers conferred on us by schedule 2 to the Education and Inspections Act 2006, we hereby determine that the proposed new secondary school in North Kingston shall be established by the Kingston Education Trust from 1 September 2015.' (04.01.11)'
Free Schools are chosen and set up by Government under a different Act of Parliament (2010) and therefore a different set of rules that BayJay knows about but I do not.
There would certainly be intense competition for the right to set up a new school on the site.
Chris/Lottie, this is my understanding of what would happen if the Clifden Road decision was overturned.....
1. The council would be back in the position of having a school site but no school to put on it.
2. Given the timing (September at the earliest), its possible that all of the approved local free schools may have already been allocated sites. Or possibly not.
3. If there were any approved free schools that didn't already have sites then the Government could simply decide to use Clifden for them without any competitive process. They would obviously consult carefully with the Council in doing that, and take their views into account, but it would ultimately be the Government's decision (the fact that the council own the land wouldn't be a barrier to that as the Government have the power to acquire any under-utilised public buildings for free schools).
4. If there were no approved free schools available to take the site, then the council could open it up for competition from the Academy sector (i.e. from pre-approved academy providers), as Chris describes (I think that legislation still applies, but haven't double-checked). I assume the Diocese of Westminster would qualify as an approved Academy provider and so would be able to put forward a proposal for a Catholic Academy at that point.
5. Alternatively, the council could put out a call for Free Schools proposers to bid for the site in the next round. Judging by the mailshots I've been getting from NSN there are a few councils doing that already as they cotton on to the fact that this is now the Government's favoured route for creating new schools. It would be possible for a Catholic Free School to be proposed in this way. If the Diocese of Westminster didn't want to be involved with that, then another Catholic sponsor might be interested, such as St Mary's University, or St Catherine's School.
All of this is just my understanding, so I might be wrong about some of it.
Just one more point to add to the end of the list ....
6. If none of the above resulted in an acceptable school proposal for the site, then I think the council could at that point legally accept the Diocese of Westminster's original VA proposal.
Just seen this http://www.sacredheartteddington.co.uk/ with a strapline saying "School Admissions: Did you know we have spaces in Years 1 - 5 inclusive? Contact the school for more details!"
If there is spare capacity at this local Catholic Primary School already how can Council justify building a new Catholic school? I've heard all other primaries in borough are jammed full.
The Head of Education acknowledges there isn't a need, or even particularly a want other than for a closer school for East / Central Twickenham Catholics, for a Catholic Primary in Twickenham, but that there is a need for primary schools places for non Catholics and this will provide 10, so that's fine. He did have the grace to look as if he realised this was the weakest link in their argument.
Not entirely tangentially I recommend this if anyone doubts we should be challenging the Council on it's strategies, and their effect on our community. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01jt9bv/The_Secret_History_of_Our_Streets_Deptford_High_Street/ How an imposed Council strategy broke up the community in Deptford.
Bay Jay - it's a very confusing situation having a free school and a VA/ academy process going on at once. But it seems unlikely that if the Gov approves a free school proposal in July and then has to help that free school to find a site, that the Gov would rush into buying or renting an alternative site on the open market straight away without waiting for the outcome of the Clifden saga if there was the possibility of buying or renting a publicly owned site for less money.
To what extend does the fact that the Maharishi school signed up parents in Hampton to say that they would send their kids there disqualify it from switching to say that it would be interested in Clifden should it not get the Hampton site? Surely if you move the location too far the expressions of interest you have gathered become invalid?
I would be interested to know to what extent all the primaries in the borough are 100% full from years 1 to 6. Have just done a quick mental reccy and out of the 9 places that have come up in my daughter's junior school class in the last 4 years, all filled up quickly but 6 have been filled by a child moving in from another nearby state school because they have been excluded/bullied or because they were fed up with the lack of room to play football due to the previous school being a building site. Only 3 have gone to children moving in from abroad. Not sure if this means less popular schools do end up with some spaces in the later years but it doesn't really help with the shortage of places in reception anyway.
"it's a very confusing situation"
Lottie, yes, it takes a while to get your head round it all. No doubt things will become clearer when the Free School announcments are made, as it will inevitably cut down the number of "what ifs".
"To what extend does the fact that the Maharishi school signed up parents in Hampton to say that they would send their kids there disqualify it from switching to say that it would be interested in Clifden"
There's nothing to stop them expressing an interest in Clifden. If they're approved and can't have their first choice site, then the Government will need to find them an alternative. They were advertising their places across the whole of Richmond Borough, not just in Hampton.
"I would be interested to know to what extent all the primaries in the borough are 100% full from years 1 to 6"
In the early years spare places seem to fill up quite quickly, but then there's a slight drift towards private schools in juniors, so I think those spaces are more likely to remain unfilled. Some of the private schools take in a cohort of pupils in Year 3 (7+), or Year 6 (10+) which accounts for some of the losses.
In the Sheen/ Mortlake primaries, those lucky enough to have got into them in the first place, started to move out from around Year 3, not just to private schools but also to Berkshire, Hampshire, Kent (and Twickenham and Teddington) anywhere with good secondary schools.
On another thread on Mumsnet Local, some parents on the waiting list (because they have no reception place at all) have said the council has contacted them to persude them to take Sacred Heart Reception places.
To me this seems like we have too many Catholic primary places at Reception as well as above so again undermines the idea of starting a new Ctholic primary.
primal, yes, there was some discussion about that in this thread last week - see here.
The Surrey Comet reports that local parents are petitioning Michael Gove ' . . to provide funding for a new 8 for entry non-selective, non-faith, co-ed community Secondary School in North Kingston to provide school places for our children in 2015 and beyond that currently don't exist . . '; they have 479 signatories so far.
I predict that Michael Gove will write back to them to acknowledge their concerns and to encourage them to set up a free school, as he did here.
I do think it's a cheek to tell parents that they will have to set up a free school or find someone else to do it if they want their teenagers to receive any education - it's like the nightmare PTA meeting at which noone volunteers to run the school summer fair but magnified 1000 times! At what point if noone else offers are the local authority allowed to and funded to do something?! If I was in the position of these Kingston parents I would be arranging to abandon a huge group of junior school children at the Department of Education with notices saying "please educate this child" round their necks!
Isnt Nick Whitfield ex Kingston Council ?
Jeev, yes he was head of learning and school effectiveness there.
I wonder if he wrote Richmond's consultation submission on the north Kingston school? They argued that although places are clearly needed in the future, not all of them are needed in that precise area, and that Grey Court had already increased its intake of Kingston pupils to 35% by January 2009 so was serving that area. But the linked policy report showed only a year or two later, 53% of Y7 getting in on links from Kingston which could have been 63% on distance alone (155 out of 240).
We still don't know what applications look like for 2012 but I imagine that trend continuing. I can't see how even a free school would be helpful for Grey Court. Unless the NLS4T bid is turned down and Twickenham or Teddington pupils choose to walk over the footbridge - not convenient for most.
Mum in London - that's why I asked a couple of pages ago whether there were any statistics about where the children who can't or soon won't get secondary school places in Kingston actually live. I assume Kingston Council wants to build a school in North Kingston because that is the only site that it has, not because that's the location where the places are needed (assuming Grey Court doesn't become unavailable). But the unplaced children might be in New Malden or Tolworth or somewhere else which would be a better location for a new school, including a free school.
Agree that Grey Court isn't a very convenient school geographically for the majority of children in LB Richmond. One of my friend's sons ended up going there from the Fulwell area of Twickenham and it's a very bad journey in the morning via two buses changing in Richmond. She didn't feel happy about him doing that when he was only just 11 so ended up driving him there for the first couple of years.
"that's why I asked a couple of pages ago whether there were any statistics"
Lottie there probably are statistics, and if you hunt around on Kingston Council's website for the relevant committee documents, or do a bit of strategic google searching you might be able to find them. They can then be analysed, either by you or other people who you flag them up to. If you can't find them then you might be able to use a FOI request to get them.
As I said here we all have access to the same data. The more people there are out there finding it, analysing it and using it objectively to strengthen their arguments the better. Its the only realistic way to counter the "I'm in charge, so I'm right" culture.
Have had a look at the info on Kingston's website (mainly the School Admissions Forums minutes) but there is nothing at all about the geographical issue. Kingston has a high number of non-inclusive schools (single sex, grammar and Catholic) which seems to cause problems. For 2011 admissions it had an overall shortage of places for girls and sent a few over the boundary to LB Merton, but it still had some surplus places for boys. The documents reveal that 2015 is the year in which 8 additional bulge classes reach secondary school age and that is why a new school is so critical. There doesn't seem to be a plan B.
I agree Lottie, Grey Court is a good school and Kingston residents with children there are unlikely to support a rival free school.
A google search on "secondary school" expansion "grey court" site:kingston.gov.uk returns 34 hits which I trust someone else will make time to study. One from Richmond, undated explains why we believe that the case for a new eight-form entry school specifically within the North Kingston area is not proven, especially as the Council already has plans to provide some extra places across the borough under the Building Schools for the Future programme. We consider a more cautious approach should be adopted . .
A search on "secondary school places" expansion site:kingston.gov.uk 2012 "School Admissions Forum" yields 8 hits. The most recent is School Admissions Forum 16 February 2011: Information About School Places And School Expansion In Kingston.
I've been doing some searching too and as Richmond say in their response on the North Kingston consultation it doesn't seem as if Kingston make figures public on the geographical nature of the need. However the Infrastructure Plan Page 11 onwards does make it appear that demand is slightly skewed to the south and east in that the new primary classes proposed are for 4 new forms of entry in their Kingston Town area, 4 in Maldon and Coombe, 5 in Surbiton and 2 South of the Borough. However this might just be a function of where suitable sites are and it is also clear that existing secondary school provision is concentrated in those areas (hence the numbers at Greycourt) and the plan states that there is room for expansion in existing schools (albeit they may not meet the want for coed non selective places). Also the very south of the borough where it would be most difficult for pupils to reach a new school in the north, which might dictate a different site for the school, is quite definitely not the main area of need.
The Cof E bid for the North Kingston site mentions that half of North Kingston pupils attend Greycourt whilst the remainder attend other schools in borough (no firm figures though) . There are 120 out of borough pupils at Greycourt, so it does appear 8 forms of entry would meet a local geographical need, as well as a wider need, freeing up spaces in schools south and east.
The key issue is if funding is forthcoming. If not then Richmond may be right and there is sufficient room for expansion in existing schools for Kingston to be able to continue to rely on Greycourt to meet the needs of it's North Kingston pupils, and of course parents may well want to continue to send tehir children to Greycourt.
Interesting to look at it in the context of Whitfields approach to education strategy, with the aim of minimising the risk of spare capacity (and ignoring "soft" areas of risk assessment like parental preference, community cohesion etc.). A new school in Kingston, potentially half emptying Greycourt is a big risk for him, alongside continuing spare capacity in RPA, so he doesn't want a valuble pool of spare pupils in Twickenham to have another option of school. Perhaps he will lay on a ferry service? (I did used to see St James's pupils disembarking from a small rowing boat in Ham!)
From the Kingston Guardian: Faith-based free school emerges as plan B for Kingston parents.
If approved by the department of education, King Edward the Martyr's School would be the boroughs first free school. The non-selective, co-educational school would have a Christian character, but would be open to all regardless of faith, according to the bidders, and will be named in recognition of Kingston's royal heritage as the place where Saxon kings were crowned.
The foundation has written to the Education Funding Agency, which secures locations for free schools, to request they find suitable premises in the north of the borough.
So does that mean that there could potentially be two new secondary schools in north Kingston? And what would be the implications for Grey Court?
It depends whether there is a demand for a evangelical prosletysing faith school, in line with what Dave Campenale appears to feel called to achieve. Since the Academy competition went to a secular bidder rather than the Cof E bid it was presumably felt that the need was for a non faith school, however inclusive.
Seeing the comments after that article, the attitude to the link policy by some in Kingston is really bizarre. They'll be winners on distance, not losers - how do they think the schools got links in the first place? Doesn't entitle parents to keep priority over places after moving away though.
The N Kingston adjudication (4 Jan 2011) said:
' . . 38. As mentioned above both proposals would broaden the range of schools in the Borough . . In practice, many parents . . have access to . . [a] range of options, including faith schools.
39. The Council undertook . . consultations about school provision before inviting proposals . . We note from the records of those consultations that there was little evidence of demand for faith-based provision . .
40. Responses to the proposals themselves fall into two very distinct groups. A relatively small group of respondents express strong support for the SDBE proposal . . A second, much larger group express strong opposition to the principle of faith schools. Some of these respondents draw attention to what they regard as the potentially adverse effects of a faith schools admissions arrangements on the core purpose of making provision for children in this part of the Borough . .
41. On balance we have concluded that the KET proposal is stronger than SDBEs when . . from the point of view of diversity of provision and local support. Its proposal would lead to the establishment of a unique new option which would be welcomed by parents.
. . 45. We have . . concluded that the Kingston Education Trust's proposals are stronger particularly with regard . . the enhancement to the range of options available for parents in the area.
Determination: Under the powers conferred on us by schedule 2 to the Education and Inspections Act 2006, we hereby determine that the proposed new secondary school in North Kingston shall be established by the Kingston Education Trust from 1 September 2015.
There will be a considerable row if the site is nonetheless given to a faith school.
Presumably at some point the Kingston Education Trust has to throw in the towel on the funding route it is currently pursuing where the funding pot seems to have disappeared and rejiggle itself to become a Free School bid? Otherwise there is no other show in town other than the Evangelical bid so no reason why they shouldn't get the North Kingston Center site?
I notice that there is a full page add for the Reach Academy Free School in Feltham in the last RTT and it claims that all the children that go there will get 3 good A-levels and go to good universities. That seems pretty wishful thinking if it is non-selective. But presumably it is hoping to tempt some parents in from LB Richmond as it has spare places in Year 7.
The adjudicator writes: . . Since the Council was a partner in one of the organisations submitting a proposal (The Kingston Education Trust (KET) formed by Kingston Borough Council, the University of Kingston and Kingston College), it referred the choice to an Adjudicator as required under 10(1)(a)(ii) of Schedule 2 to the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (the Act) . .
The Council had the leading role in the Trust, which was just a necessary tool for getting funding to set up essentially the same sort of school as it would have set up anyway. It now has to bow out and create a vacuum which a group of local parents can fill if they wish to do so. The New Local School for Twickenham have shown the way - let us hope some Kingstonians have been inspired to follow it and even now are working up a proposal below the radar.
No doubt the news of a possible faith-based free school will be spurring them on. It is unclear from the Kingston Guardian report whether or not Campanales unnamed foundation is asking the DfE to add it to the set of free school proposals currently being evaluated. I would have thought that the DfE would tell it that it is out of time and must wait until the call for next years bids
Are Kingston University and Kingston College also not allowed to be part of a free school bid? Am I the only person who finds the whole system of refusing to fund local authorities to open secondary schools that are badly needed but encouraging and funding random groups to do so instead quite bonkers? I certainly never realised that allowing free schools to get funding actually meant not allowing local authorities to have it and that this was the Coalition's grand plan for secondary education. Some free school bidders, of course, appear to be a lot more capable and mainstream than others but I wonder who will be expected to pick up the pieces if all these wacky schools fail.
If Free schools are the only way to create a new school, and councils cannot do this temselves anymore.....
.....then when the Council said the Egerton road site maybe availiable for a new community secondary school in the future ( as a way of making the Catholic school seem more acceptable for everyone) what is their plan for it?
They can't change it into a secondary school themselves, so all they could do is encourage or assist another party to put a school there ??
We should probably be careful about calling the proposed school "wacky" since, whatever Mr Campenale's agenda, it appears to be seeking a sponsor in an established provider of state and independent Anglican Schools that don't have a wacky reputation though they of course haven't agreed yet (so it seems likely they will be organising for this round?) . There is undoubtedly a need for a school, perhaps this will be more of a broad Christian alliance seeking to meet that need?
Though there was at least one openly evangelical school in the running for this round of Free School funding along with the Maharishi School and others who you might say some people might feel were outside the mainstream of parental demand and subject to some cynicism However that bid didn't make it to interviews although it isn't known why. I suppose Gove would argue that this is all about parental demand, and taking the process out of the hands of Councils, who parents often feel fail them in school provision. However it is above all political and with well organised expressions of local mainstream demand like NFS4T and some established education providers, including a couple of independent northern grammar schools (even with their record of providing Labour Ministers) you'd think a Conservative Minister would ultimately be traditional and conservative, and influenced by his own subjective values, as he is on so many other education issues, a bit like the Leader of our Council.....
At the end of the day it still leaves the freeing up of 72 spare places at Greycourt as subject to the risk that the proposed school doesn't get funding, that no NFS4K gets organised enough to successfully bid and that the potential Faith School, either doesn't bid successfully, or doesn't meet demand amongst Kingston parents choosing Greycourt. I do hope Whitgift doesn't come to regret his arrogant, and probably disingenuous, dismissal of the risk.
primalstream Bayjay is away at the moment but I think she has addressed this in the past, I just looked back and can't find it though. The Egerton Road proposal is based on a partnership with the College and as I understand it the means exist for it to be established as an Academy or Free School. However the availability of funding will be far from certain, as indeed it would be if a Community School was proposed under the old legislation. As Natalie Raja highlighted at the Cabinet Meeting Whitfield (sorry about the mistyping of his name in the last post, probably subconscious because I am looking over what will probably soon become a new Croydon complete with Whitgift Centre, by Twickenham Station...) has been promising Stanley School funding for their expansion, not newbuild, for 8 years.
Have some experience of David Campanale - lips sealed but definitely best blended with a majority of nice middle of the road C of E types! But my general point was that I wonder if some of these free schools with unusual ideas, including the Feltham one and the Maharishi and those run by ex-marines, will actually prove unsatisfactory to the parents who commit their children to them and if they will collapse - in which case it's not clear that the local authority can step in and turn them into proper state schools. Alternatively they could end up drawing in lots of parents from elsewhere who actively seek that type of niche education so they will not be terribly useful for the local area's secondary school places crisis. All a big experiment isn't it? Don't mind experiments when people have alternatives but don't think experiments as the core of eductional provision are a great idea.
Lottie - I feel it is better than relying on slippery officers like Nick Whitfield and a bunch of local politicians trying to sort our state education system. Successive administrations have failed to deliver a consistent and high quality secondary education state system in Richmond. The stats that show less than 50% (least in the most prosperous borough) show the magnitude of their failure.
I have no faith in either the Lib Dems or Tory politicians - most of them who do not even send their kids into state schools. Hence the idea of academies or free schools run by strong sponsors and with strong community involved makes me feel more comfortable.
It does seem so back to front though. I think it should be a niche Catholic school that goes though the Free School process, to attempt to serve only 10% of the population. And then the NEW SCHOOL For TWICK should be a definate, fully government supported school, inclusive for everyone that should be top priority and get the choice of site. What a weird and biased Council we have.
I agree Councils in Richmond have not done a good job before, so I do trust some enthusiastic local parent amateurs at setting up a school more than them!
Hi all. Briefly clocking in from a wi fi hotspot on my hols.
Can't speak for other free schools, but with RET on board, NLS4T is way more than just local enthusiastic parent amateurs. RET's parent group Education London are top notch school improvement specialists.
NLS4T definitely not included in the wacky category and sounds like a good thing that should be getting priority support from LB Richmond as primalsteam says. Have learned a lot from Bay Jay's explanations e.g. it was she who first drew my attention to the fact that you can't have a successful mixed ability school with less than about 5 forms of entry thus leading me to feel a tad concerned about the 2 form mixed ability entry free school in Feltham run by a headmaster who looks about 16 and says everyone is going to get 3 A levels and go to a good university. Agree that local politicians and Council around here are not great but actually banning all local authorities from setting up secondary schools is going too far in my view. Can't rely on a sensible bid for a free school emerging in every area nor should parents be forced to send their children to free schools through lack of any other choice when they would prefer a place at a decent local mainstream community secondary school.
Sorry Bayjay have now read up on NEW local School for Twick and can see its far more, you are right. We are so lucky to have this option locally, I will feel much better personally about the school situation if it is finally fully approved. I really hope it can get the Clifden site.
Lottie I suppose that their vision is to address the problem of children from poor backgrounds not realising their potential by providing continuity in a small nurturing environment with a culture of achievement, focus on literacy and numeracy, a longer school day etc. They must have demonstrated feasibility to the Dof E. I have experience of a mentoring charity that provides black children who teachers in inner city schools have identified as bright with role models and support to enable them to achieve, and they do, they get to Oxbridge and they get firsts (and of course Oxbridge can't do enough to help!). However often they have no encouragement from family and it is very difficult for them to develop the motivation they need to go against a prevailing culture in their schools and home and actually work hard, never mind gain the skills to do well in interview etc.. Our feeling is that they are the super bright and there are many many more children out there who would benefit from that sort of help.
However I do wonder how they are going to make that work with open inclusive admissions, unless they are assuming parents will self select? Surely a good school should also provide the option of routes into vocational training acknowledging university isn't the be all and end all and for some that will enable them to best realise their potential? I suppose that they feel that if they equip them with 5 A-Cs then they can move on at 16?
I do wish them well but I always did think a small school aiming to help the disadvantaged (which was it's original purpose) wasn't going to attract pupils away from Twickenham Academy as Whitfield assumes. But then if they are going to start marketing themselves in the borough?
It is going to be interesting to see how this pans out. New Schools need time to get an established reputation unless they start with the sort of parental impetus that Toby Young's school and hopefully NFS4T has. However if you are going to have these sorts of niche schools, including a Catholic School (which faces competition from established Catholic Schools, those parents clocking up the brownie points with priests are still going to try to get into the established schools, particularly girls into Gumley up the road and boys via the lottery of goodness to get into Oratory) touting around for parents who the Council has failed to provide for then the system will be unfair, as we have been saying all along.
The Kingston Secondary School Action Group (Facebook) is working on a forecast of demand for and supply of secondary school places in the borough, which they will issue as a press statement. There is no sign that they are working on a free school bid.
Read Cllr Knight and Nicholson's statements in RTT today finally admit that there will be shortage in spaces in 2013 in Twickenham. Well did this just dawn on them -all this time, including in last months meetings, they have been saying that new community school will be needed in 2015 and that Clifden should be mothballed.
They are proving to be a pathetic opposition. No wonder the Tories can continue to behave arrogantly and feel that they can get away with murder !
Agree with Jeevs comments the politicians on both sides cant be trusted on education.
The Council has published the draft minutes of the Cabinet proceedings on May 24 on the Clifden Road Site and on the Provision Of Sixth forms
. . Councillor Knight addressed Cabinet. He noted support for all schools across the Borough and an appreciation of the desires of Catholic parents to educate their children locally. He highlighted the assumptions on which the pupil place planning for the future had been based and expressed concern that utilising the Clifden Road site now, could prejudice the delivery of community places in future years. In response to questioning, he noted that in making the decision, the desires of the Catholic families in the borough needed to be considered against the needs of the wider population in Richmond. However, he did not agree with the arguments by those opposing faith schools in principle.
. . Nick Whitfield, Director Education, Childrens Services and Culture, and Matthew Paul, Head of School Commissioning, addressed Cabinet. Mr Whitfield noted that capacity within voluntary aided schools had been increased by the same percentage as community schools in recent years. Other options for future school expansion to meet projected need for community places in 2016 / 17 were being explored by the Local Authority. He reported that recent Central Government announcements regarding monies for school rebuilds would not have included schools within the vicinity of the Borough, due to restrictions on use of the monies.
In addressing Cabinet, Mr Whitfield noted that pupil place planning had proven to be accurate to date and despite the many variables, he was confident that plans were being developed to fulfil the local authoritys statutory duty to provide education for all children within the Borough . .
Here is Cllr Knight's statement, issued on May 29: Teddington & Twickenham 11-year-olds face journey to East Sheen secondary school within 15 months.
Do you know if this is based on projecting the effect of the removal of Links and Matthew Paul's forecast of an Orleans catchment ending at the Heath Road bridge? Those are the only Council figures I know of that support that conclusion? Or have they done some other analysis?
The official Council forecasts are still saying TA doesn't get filled until 2016 and Matthew Paul is very tetchy about the suggestion that they are assuming pupils will travel across to Richmond Park Academy. This is from a recent email from him
"Re Richmond Park Academy, at no point have we said or indicated that we expect that RPA will be the only school in the borough with spare capacity and that Twickenham children would have to go there (though I gather that Cllr Hodgins may have been misquoted as having said that no doubt he can clarify that for you). Indeed, the forecasts that went to Novembers Overview and Scrutiny meeting, and which were also included in the Clifden Road consultation document and the last few weeks O&S and Cabinet reports, indicate that we expect Twickenham Academy to continue to have spare capacity in spite of its rebuild and improvement in standards."
(Actually Councillor Hodgins did say at a meeting in October that they expected TA to fill by 2015 and acknowledged that the only places available to those in black holes of provision would then be at RPA, prior to Whitfield deciding that a new school wouldn't be needed until 2016/17 and going public on Egerton Road as a possible site. )
This is a misreading statement in the Councils minutes However, he did not agree with the arguments by those opposing faith schools in principle
As bloggers here know very well, the argument was not against faith schools, it was against exclusivity in the Catholic school proposals. It would be good if the Lib Dems could atleast get Democratic services to correct the minutes of the Cabinet meeting as it relates to the minutes of their leader.
On another note, we believe that the Council has updated the Scrutiny committee minutes, following many of us pointing out the factual inaccuracies and misleading statements. No-one was expecting a verbatim report, but some of the omissions are very significant.
We have also written to Cllr Evans ( who gave a very fair summary in his report to the Cabinet on what happened at the SC meeting). The Council seems to lack an appreciation of the importance of the meeting and the need to get the minutes right (though I would have thought that the presence of the Councils Chief Executive and the its legal adviser would have given a clue). But I trust that, as Chair, Cllr Evans will want to ensure that those members of the public who made a contribution to the meeting will be able to read the final version of the minutes and feel that they fairly reflect what happened.
Lets see if the Council has finally got it right !
ChrisSquire Our RTT just got delivered and that implies (not that that necessarily means it's true!) they are basing it on the risk that Free Schools don't get delivered. Whitfield already has his slippery answer on that one prepared, arguing at the Cabinet meeting that he didn't need those extra places.
The Maharishi school seems to be coming in for some negative publicity. Interesting that it has around 700 prospective pupils signed up compared to 1300 for NFS4T
Why could Steve Knight not say this at the Council meeting or mention about the Lib Dem national policy of inclusiveness in faith schools ?
or even remind the council of the coalition agreement
The issue with free school is that it looks like (and I would want to be proved wrong) , those with power and influence stand a better chance.
"it looks like .... those with power and influence stand a better chance"
Based on what? Evidence or pure cynicism?
It depends on how you define power and influence I suppose. Free School proposing groups need to demonstrate .....
1. Suitability (i.e. not terrorists, creationists, racists etc etc)
2. Capacity (i.e. available time and effort)
3. Capability (i.e. knowledge, skills, experience)
4. Parental Support (i.e. be able to prove that the school will be popular with local parents, and be near full in the first couple of years of opening).
The free school programme has only been up and running a couple of years so its hard to judge who the winners and losers will be. Certainly existing education providers like the CofE will do well out of it, as well as other well organised groups who have been campaigning for their own schools for some time. The parent group behind the Bristol Free School had been campaigning for a local school for many years and so were ready to hit the ground running when the policy was put in place. You could argue that Toby Young's school was helped by him being a media celebrity, or, depending on your perspective, you could also argue that was a hindrance. I imagine his TV program and book would have inspired some groups and put others off the idea of free schools completely.
Parent groups obviously have a huge advantage in demonstrating the fourth criteria, parental support, which they can build up through local knowledge and personal networks. However, they can only do that if they have good communications strategies. The difficult thing for parent groups is to demonstrate Capacity and Capability. The parent group behind NLS4T have been very fortunate in being able to team up with RET for those things.
existing education providers like the CofE will do well out of it
This judicial review is really important in deciding whether a council can fund and encourage VA schools to be set up easily in addition to the free school route. Otherwise there are two routes for establishment and funding of faith schools and only one that seems to work for non-selective, inclusive non-faith schools.
I've been wondering also what happens when the demographic changes mean the faith of the school is no longer relevant to the community
like this example of a Catholic school with no Catholic pupils. (I think in that case the council has taken over as governors but I don't know if it owns the land.)
If the Richmond Catholic school is ultimately to help provide places for Polish children in Ealing in the future, what if that community changes or moves away?
Bayjay - as you say evidence is limited, but the proof will lie in the pudding. It would be interesting to see what happens in cases where there is parental demand equally strong in two proposals in same area. How is the DfE then going to decide if it can only support one of the proposals ? Evaluating the quality of the sponsors is subjective and that's where the impact of lobbying cannot be underestimated. The track record of the current Govt seems to suggest is favours mateocracy over meritocracy
What happens in the Hampton Church v Maharishi school case will give us some answers.
"How is the DfE then going to decide if it can only support one of the proposals ? Evaluating the quality of the sponsors is subjective."
Jeev yes, I agree this is a grey area at the moment. I suspect that as competition for free school funding increases, the DofE will find that the reasons it gives for funding one proposal over another will come under increased scrutiny. However, that will in turn force the selection process to become more transparent for subsequent years. These things tend to be iterative.
"The track record of the current Govt seems to suggest is favours mateocracy over meritocracy"
Based on what? Again, it depends on how you define mateocracy. You could argue that because the CofE/RET/Maharishi have all established schools in the past, they have the experience/track record/contacts/influence with the DofE that can help them prove their capability to establish schools in the future. Is that mateocracy or meritocracy?
The West London Free school started its life as a parent group but built up its proof of capacity by adding succesful former headteachers to its team. Is that mateocracy or meritocracy?
Its always going to be harder for completely new players to establish their reputation, as it is in any walk of life. Nobody is going to want to send their children to a new school that doesn't have experienced school providers on board.
"what happens when the demographic changes mean the faith of the school is no longer relevant to the community"
Muminlondon, yes, I agree that is also a grey area. As your example shows, the schools will ultimately change their administration, but the worrying thing is the amount of time that can take, and the awkward 'transition' period in between which could represent the entire secondary school career of several cohorts of children. Messy.
I would regard COFE and RET firmly in meritocracy but appreciate that lobbying is part and parcel . I have been sceptical of Maharishis as they do not have the same track record and boast a lot about DfE support . A weakness in evalaution is that it considers only those for and not those against .
In a competitive situations like in hampton and potentially now in kingston , a more balanced evaluation will be needed
"Maharishis ... boast a lot about DfE support"
Do they? Where? We did get some contributions on this thread from the Maharishi proposer back in December.
I remember reading somewhere that the DfE had encouraged them to apply for more free schools. However, I imagine that most of the existing free school providers were given similar encouragement.
If the Richmond Catholic school is ultimately to help provide places for Polish children in Ealing in the future, what if that community changes or moves away?
muminlondon the Richmond Catholic school is def not to provide places for the Polish children in Ealing but for the children of this borough. It is worth just listening to the cabinet meeting and what is said by Paul Barbour. He mentioned the huge increase in Ealing and surrounding boroughs(it has almost doubled in Ealing and 95% of this is in Catholic population) as an example of how difficult it is becoming for LBRUT Catholic children to obtain out of borough places when those boroughs themselves are becoming increasingly over stretched.
Mir4, there has been discussion about the number of Catholics in the diocese and I think official figures put it at about 10%. I've also looked at number of places at Catholic schools in surrounding boroughs as a proportion of total of state places provided from the 2011 census and whereas there is a higher figure in e.g. Hounslow (20%), Merton (20%), Kingston (15%), Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea (small boroughs, and I can't remember exactly but more than 30%), from memory there's only one Catholic school in Ealing which provides 9% of all its state places. So some boroughs have surplus places, but Ealing may not stretch to all - indirectly if there is a shortage in the diocese as a whiole that's where it is.
There have been a debate about Richmond pupils, travelling time etc. but that is the wider picture in terms of capacity.
Bayjay As the RTT highlighted there is a Twitter campaign going on against the Maharishi school, and the ASA upheld complaints about the accuracy of some the statements on the Maharishi's websites. The campaign raises a number of issues including that the Maharishi quoted Lord Hill Undersecretary for Schools, as appearing to give wholehearted support to the bid, but say the quote is out of context. It's rather hard to get to the truth of it when their case is presented in 149 characters (or whatever it is, I don't tweet!) but on the face of it as a parent I would certainly want to investigate more closely before committing to sending my children to the school. You would hope the D of E will too, in deciding between them and the C of E, who are a bit more of a known quantity!
Mir 4 That is the overall issue for the diocese, that Paul Barber outlined. They need to free up spaces in out of borough schools to meet the needs of pupils in Ealing. If they did not have that need they'd be making the same noises about a new Catholic School being a threat to the viability of existing ones that we are hearing from Whitfield. There has always been an in borough demand for the excellent out of borough Catholic Schools, that is why Edward the Confessor closed, all my Catholic neighbours were sending their children to Sacred Heart and Oratory. Part of my objection to this school is I know full well they still will (since Barber hasn't succeeded in making Oratory use distance instead of their lottery of goodness and many people in borough will be closer to out of borough Catholic Schools than Clifden Road) whilst my neighbours, I am quite sure when you look into those forecasts, will not have a local option of state school unless NFS4T is approved.
Hi Copthall, yes, I've been reading that Twitter campaign this afternoon. I tried to look up the ASA judgement they mention but as it was resolved informally, rather than being a formal judgement, the details aren't published, and presumably the original advert has now been withdrawn.
One of the tweets that I did find interesting was about the fact that the Maharishi School had renamed its curriculum subject "Science of Creative Intelligence" to "Inter-disciplinary Studies". The name and content of that subject was one of the issues we covered here on the thread back in December/January, and it has recently been highlighted in the press as potentially in breach of the DfE's new Free School funding agreement, which outlaws the teaching of pseudoscientific theories.
"presumably the original advert has now been withdrawn"
But perhaps the Lord Hill quote was the same one as on the front page of their website....... "I am sure that the Maharishi Free School will improve choice and raise standards, and will become recognised as a flagship of the Free School Programme.
Presumably he said that about the original Maharishi Free School. Reading between the lines, the advert that was criticised must have implied that it was referring to the proposed Richmond school.
Do Polish people tend to demand Catholic school places? Surely that isn't what they are used to in the state system in Poland!? Are they being told that now they are in West London they have to seek a segregated education for their children? Will Catholic children from Ealing be coming to Clifden Road and displacing little Jacob or whatever he was called? Having read Julian Clary's autobiography I know that, following primary school at Sacred Heart in Teddington, he went to a Benedictine monk Catholic secondary school in Ealing so presumably it's a two way street?!
From what I understand Poland doesn't have state faith schools. Although RE and assemblies etc. used to be banned under communism they have been encouraged in more recent years. - with hymns, nativity plays at Christmas, religious festivals, etc. and RE lessons, just like any community school. It is just assumed everyone is Catholic so there aren't any variations.
Below is the latest mailshot from NSN. They've sent out a couple of other similar ones in recent weeks, (though nothing for North Kingston or Egerton Road yet) ....
Dear [NSN Member],
The most recent Education Act requires that where a Local Authority identifies a need for a new school, it should ideally be a Free School or an Academy. This is a big change for how school places are provided across England and many Local Authorities will now be thinking about how to engage with Free School proposers and academy sponsors. NSN is keen to help to connect groups with interested Local Authorities.
We have been made aware of two [more] Local Authorities who are seeking proposals for new schools. These are:
The proposal is for a new 1 FE 210-place primary school to serve the Horley housing development. The Council has secured a site and funding and it is proposed to open the new school from September 2014. Applications must be received by 4th July 2012. If you would like to express an interest in this opportunity please e-mail [etc ....]
The proposal is for a new 2 FE 420-place primary school to serve the Northern Gateway in Soham. The Council has secured a site and funding and it is proposed to open the first phase of the new school from September 2013. Phase 2 is dependent upon housing development and not expected to be required until 2016. Completed application forms must be submitted by 24 August 2012 and the process will conclude in the Autumn of this year. If you would like to express an interest in this opportunity please e-mail [etc ...].
We understand that these opportunities may not be appropriate for your group at this time, but we will be mailing out information concerning other Local Authorities seeking proposals as and when we are made aware of these.
.... New Schools Network
There are certainly Polish families with children at my daughter's community primary school that seem quite happy with the wide approach - Divali, Ramadan, angels who dance to Robbie Williams in the Xmas Play etc!
Bay Jay - I notice that the bulletin you quote says "that where a Local Authority identifies a need for a new school, it should ideally be a Free School or an Academy" - so it's just "ideally"? Does the legislation say it has to see if anyone wants to open a free school first but it can open an academy or a normal school if it really can't get anyone else interested (presumably also if it pays for it itself!)? Does the local authority have any input into the type of free school that the Government advertises for proposals for eg. can it say it doesn't want a religious school if, as in the case of Kingston, the parents have already been consulted and asked for a non-denominational community school?
I notice that the bulletin you quote says "that where a Local Authority identifies a need for a new school, it should ideally be a Free School or an Academy" - so it's just "ideally"?
They're paraphrasing a complex bit of legislation. By "ideally" they mean that, legally, nothing else can be considered until that route has been exhausted.
Academies and Free Schools are effectively the same thing. Free Schools are just a type of Academy that has been set up by a charity, parent group etc rather than by one of the existing government-approved Academy Providers.
My reading of the legislation is that the order in which councils can consider different school types is ....
1. Academy/Free School, and if that doesn't work then a ....
2. Community School, and if that doesn't work then a ....
3. Voluntary Aided School
... but then I'm not a lawyer so I may have that wrong.
"Does the local authority have any input"?
They will be consulted, and their views taken into account, but its ultimately the Government's decision. I imagine it would be hard for Kingston to say an approved CofE free school couldn't have the North Kingston site if it was the only academy proposal on the table. There's still time for them to invite proposals for a community free school to compete with it though.
If you would like to express an interest in this opportunity...
BayJay, the logic of what NLS4T wants to achieve is entirely clear, being a parent-led group rooted in the community. I am more worried about the motivation of other groups, and how that can be assessed as if it's the same process, because their agenda is so different. They are providers looking for a group of children to educate, rather than the other way round, and they may have no ties to the community. If the Michaela school can be approved for Lambeth yet switch to Wandsworth then presumably the Maharishis could look at the North Kingston site if approved without the Richmond site - still a middle class outer London borough. But what say does the community have in what's being provided to them in their area?
"I am more worried about the motivation of other groups, and how that can be assessed as if it's the same process"
But they have to prove parental demand, so in theory schools should only be approved if they're popular with the local parents in their target community.
"If the Michaela school can be approved for Lambeth yet switch to Wandsworth then presumably the Maharishis could look at the North Kingston site if approved without the Richmond site"
I don't know if there are any geographical limits on switching site. When you apply you have to specify a Local Authority, so I'd assumed that gave some sort of limitation, but perhaps not if your example is correct (and I don't know the history of that case). Perhaps its decided on a case-by-case basis.
So what if NLS4T is told only site is in say mortlake in 13 or wait till 16 for egerton ?
Site and local community is core part of any new school - I feel the process of subsequent site selection strange
"So what if NLS4T is told only site is in say mortlake in 13 or wait till 16 for egerton ?"
And what if its not?
We could spend weeks discussing imaginary scenarios. Much better to sit tight and wait to see what happens. Frustrating though that might be, it's better than catastrophising about all the things that could possibly go wrong.
Hopefully there should be an announcement about Free Schools in the next few weeks, and then things will become clearer.
Interesting to see the discussion broaden to Kingston. There is merit in doing school planning at a cross borough level - think broadly and then execute locally. I was speaking a few days ago to a Councillor from Hammersmith, who mentioned who H&F, Westminister and K&C have been sharing services and departments. Not only has this saved £m's of costs and reduced Council tax bill, but also they are seeing the improvement through more holistic and effective plans.
"If the Michaela school can be approved for Lambeth yet switch to Wandsworth then presumably the Maharishis could look at the North Kingston site if approved without the Richmond site"
Looking at the Michaela School website, their target community seems to be "inner city London" rather than a particular borough, so that might explain why they can justify looking over a wider area. Their vision is to bring a particular type of school to a relatively deprived inner city community. Presumably they proved the demand for that type of school at their original site, so perhaps they've been able to argue that the concept was transferable. Or, perhaps not. I don't know how up to date their website is, but it looks like they're now having to defer opening to 2013, and haven't yet been given permission for that. I don't know what the permission will be based on.
In contrast, the Maharishi Richmond proposal has always been targeted specifically at a Richmond community, and NLS4T are specifically aiming to serve Twickenham, so it wouldn't be logical for them to move too far away from their originally proposed sites.
"There is merit in doing school planning at a cross borough level"
Hi gmsing. I expect that will be one outcome of the Achieving for Children agenda, with Richmond and Kingston ultimately working together on their planning.
Katherine Birbalsingh the proposed Head mistress of Michaela has a high political profile and agenda. The proposed school is all about that so a move to another community will not be an issue for her or Gove, more about it here. Not sure which I want less to guide my children's education, pseudoscience, religious dogma or political dogma...
And this is the say the community are having in it
Thanks BayJay for the link. It would make sense to include Hounslow and Wandsworth along with Kingston.
A mumsnet thread on the Michaela free school gives an interesting view. If you move borough you may compete with other schools for a very different intake. I'm not clear who would be founding or governing this school if she is the head.
To be fair when you look on her website she cites a Toby Young (!) article that highlights how the Guardian are also channelling a political agenda and much of the criticism comes from the left. The Mumsnet thread highlights though where that leaves parents, as with the Maharishi, suspicious of other agendas and scrabbling around trying to get to the truth behind all the rhetoric, so they can make a decision as to whether they can trust these schools with their children.
I have a 19 year old who has been in the pilot year of just about every bit of tinkering there has been in the education system from SATs on, she was fed up to the back teeth of it by A2 (another newly tinkered curriculum). As a Scientist she is greatly relieved that her education didn't have any religious or pseudoscience agaenda. Why can't we leave the professionals to do their job, based on years of experience, and embracing innovation based on sound academic research, rather than someone's pet theory, or nostalgia for 70s Grammar Schools (which actually made many of us miserable)! I know many teachers feel the same.
"Why can't we leave the professionals to do their job, based on years of experience, and embracing innovation based on sound academic research"
Sounds ideal, but I don't think it would ever be possible to have no tinkering at all. I like to think we're slowly iterating towards a mythical 'perfect' system. Rather like a pendulum swinging backwards and forwards, we'll eventually settle on something that suits the majority (though occasionally somebody puts a spanner in the works by giving the pendulum a shove ).
I have to say that my children's primary school is streets ahead of my own primary back in the seventies, so we must be doing something right as a society.
BayJay: a pendulum slows down and stops because of friction; once stopped, it never moves again unless perturbed from outside, because of its inertia. Is that really your idea of an ideal society? It sounds deadly boring to me. And likely to be far from perfection - whatever that may be.
I remember former Cllr David Cornwell (chair of the education committee for many years) grumbling to me 20 years ago about the upheaval and expense caused by the move from 40 to 30 pupil classes: My kids went through primary school in classes of 40 and it never did them any harm . .
"Is that really your idea of an ideal society?"
No, it was a hasty metaphor used to illustrate a point.
Thanks for the physics lesson Chris. Remind me to return the favour sometime .
Copthallresident: your dd may be interested to know that evolution is to be added to the primary national curriculum in England, gratifying scientists and educators who have been campaigning for its addition over the last three years. In 2009, the British Humanist Association coordinated a letter from top scientists and science educators in Britain calling for the addition of evolution to the primary curriculum . .
Now, in the new draft of the primary national curriculum for science, posted at the DfE's website on June 11, 2012, students in year 4 (ages 8 and 9) are introduced to the ideas of adaptation, inheritance, and evolution, and students in year 6 (ages 10 and 11) are introduced to the fossil record as evidence for evolution . .
It?s 153 years since the Origin of Species was published - better late than never I suppose. I certainly learnt nothing about evolution all through my school days 50 years ago. I wonder if there will be a conscience clause exempting those who say they dont believe in evolution.
Anyway, it was a pendulum on a train that I meant, but you can stretch these things too far.
Bayjay I agree with you to an extent and I think there have been a lot of areas in which change has been a huge improvement. Improving the professionalism of teachers with tighter management of processes in schools including appraisement and training to improve standards, the increased focus on the child and building their confidence and the emphasis on stimulating the love of learning and giving them the skills to be able to use as well as learn facts. The best years of my daughters' school years were in an International School (just when one of our daughters finally got offered a place in a Richmond Primary, at St Mary's ) where they benchmarked themselves against the best state primaries and could take the best of what was happening in British Schools and discard anything that didn't fit their central ethos and values. It really was a special place, and a complete contrast to my own schooling which was designed to cram me with facts and knock any signs of spirit or confidence out of me, and my daughters certainly remember it as the best and most formative years of their education.
However most of these changes have come from within the profession, or benchmarked against what happens in other organisations. I don't have any problem with tinkering as long as they are listening to the professionals, take it gradually rather than piling successive changes on one cohort, and it is an iterative move forward, not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. (in planning we always used the metaphor of a supertanker rather than a train, needing to trim the course etc!)
However I am rather fed up with hearing Gove et al quote what top universities want and what goes on in private Schools, when I am now part of a top university, and the academic study of History, and know exactly what goes on in private schools and none of it makes any sense at all! Ms Birbalsingh is coming out with more of the same (For instance both my daughter's have done GSCE woodwork, or RMT as it is known now, and I think knowing what to do with a rawlplug, how to use CAD, appreciating that you have to research the needs of consumers and how to go about it and come up with a specification and design a product, will come in quite useful in their lives as well as being able to quote Grahame Greene! )
Interesting to hear the theory of Evolution is going to be taught at Primary level (I actually was but maybe that was because my teachers were Victorian . On the other hand there has been a lot of controversy at my daughter's uni about whether people on campus should be allowed to prosletyse a creationist agenda (or indeed a purely pro life one).
" where they benchmarked themselves against the best state primaries and could take the best of what was happening in British Schools and discard anything that didn't fit their central ethos and values."
Copthall, that's exactly the strength I think that RET will bring to NLS4T. They're a collective of super-heads, subject specialists, Ofsted inspectors etc who have a helicopter view of best practice across both state and private schools nationally. They normally work on a consultancy basis but NLS4T will benefit from all their combined input to create something really special. If it gets the funding .
And NFS4T will also have the other strength that their latest inspection highlighted as contributing to the school being rated "outstanding" and "exceptional", " There is a real and palpable sense of community. It starts with the fact the school is owned and governed by the parents. This has the impact of promoting and supporting the unremitting focus on the child and their needs, the positive ethos that is notable as soon as one enters through the front door is due to the efforts of all stakeholders"
As I said back here, the amendments of the 2011 Education Act in relation to the establishment of new schools are pretty complex.
To complicate things further, the online legislation website does not yet have the act available to view in its revised form - only the amendments are available to view, so you have to look at them alongside the relevant section of the 2006 Education Act.
Now, I'm no lawyer, but I can follow a few basic instructions, and I've had a go at applying the amendments myself in a word document. If you're interested in taking a look at the result, I've put it here. Of course it comes with a health warning - I can't guarantee that I didn't miss something!
So, going back to Lottie's original question ......
"I notice that the bulletin you quote says "that where a Local Authority identifies a need for a new school, it should ideally be a Free School or an Academy" - so it's just "ideally"?"
Section 6A says that "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". (As I said before, the word 'Academy' encompasses 'Free School', which is just a type of academy).
Sections 11-A1 and A2 say that a local authority can only establish a community school if it has exhausted the process of seeking an academy under Section 6A.
Chris Cook, the FT's education correspondent, comments on Michael Gove's plans for the GCSE: O-levels and social mobility (FT Data Jun 21) The Google map he has created shows the social geography of England, and therefore of this borough, divided into 'small (census) areas' very vividly. The high scoring (on GCSEs) areas are dark blue, the low red.
An interesting blog post from Croydon borough, where council cabinet members take the trouble to write about what they are doing and why:
A new Grammar School for Croydon?
A decision on the future use of a potential school site in South Norwood might open the door to the first selective state school in Croydon in a generation, writes Cllr Tim Pollard, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Learning.
. . Why is this site to be an annexe rather than a new school? The site is only big enough to provide a maximum of four forms of entry and there are sound educational reasons why this is really too small to be a viable school.
. . So we took the decision yesterday to open up the competition to run this school to all types of secondary school . .The criteria the new provider needs to meet are that it should be a Good or Outstanding school in its OFSTED rating, that it should have well above average GCSE and A-level results and that it must be able to demonstrate that it can apply its admissions criteria appropriately and be in a position to receive funding from the Government as it expands.
So does that mean it could be a Grammar School? Yes, it could.
The FT's Chris Cook comments: On new grammar schools
Interesting map there, thanks Chris. The areas with grammar schools coloured in blue are more often than not next to the pink areas where there is a larger concentration of lower achievers - surprise surprise. Kent has the most divisive system in the area with the best and worst schools/areas within its borders. Imagine if a Tiffin satellite school were thrown into our mix of schools here in Richmond - it would be like a throwing a grenade into a borough that does comparably well, even if there are still areas for improvement.
Worth pointing out that the pinker areas of the borough are unlikely to be densely populated as they cover two cemeteries, sports grounds and a nature reserve. Meanwhile, there must be some very bright Canada geese, rabbits and deer living in Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Kew Gardens, etc.
Middle Layer Super Output Areas . . [have] an average population size of 7,200. You can download them if you wish. Richmond borough's 18 wards, each with a population of 10,000 (equalised 10 years ago), are divided into 23 MSOAs, with an average population of 7,800. Some must indeed be small as they map onto the wards without crossing their boundaries. Conversely some wards will I expect contain only one MSOA but I haven't checked which they are.
I notice one of the parents on the Kingston Facebook page has posted this in response to a letter from Zac Goldsmith saying they all need to work together to open a free school: "But I don't want a free school! Just a normal, non academy, non faith secondary school open to all. Zac is parroting the party line here. I know he is not one who normally follows Tory dogma (I'm trying to be fair, Nat!) but in this instance he doesn't have any understanding of how most people experience education systems ie non private."
Though the table I downloaded lists only 23 MSOAs (Middle Layer Super Output Area - see my post on the previous page) in the borough, the map appears to show 26.
If the map is correct, the wards that are divided into 2 MSOAs are: Kew, North and South Richmond; and: St Margaret's, Fulwell; and Teddington. Ham & Petersham = 3.
The two pink [low scoring] areas are:
Ham: Proportion passing English, maths and 3 other GCSEs: 56%; probability of a bottom quarter finish: 30 %. No. of 16 year-olds: 63.
And the eastern end of North Richmond: Proportion passing English, maths and 3 other GCSEs: 61 %; probability of a bottom quarter finish: 28 %. No. of 16 year-olds: 18
The 2 next lowest scoring [light blue] areas are: Heathfield 68 %, 18 % and N = 117; and East Kew: 64 %, 18 % and N = 72.
The best scoring MSOA is E02000801, which is a strip running east from Fulwell station to the river, part in Fulwell and part in Teddington wards: 77 %, 4 %, and N = 47.
The bit of Ham & Petersham by Richmond Bridge is so small that its scores are: 60 %, 0 %, and N = 5!
Those MSOAs, and the related SOA (Super Output Area), definitely have to be used very carefully. There's a poverty indicator based on the SOA, called IDACI (Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index), which can give some interesting results if you compare postcodes either side of an area boundary.
Lottie - As we have discussed on this thread before, as per new rules the Council cannot open a new school. They have to invite proposals for academy / free school. So I am not sure why Zac (despite being out of touch with state education ) should be saying anything else.
I think Zac Goldmith is on a steep learning curve when it comes to local schools - having had very little experience of them he's made some tactless comments in the past. Although I can understand why Kingston parents just want a decent non-faith non-selective school, the idea of whether to expand Grey Court for both boroughs' benefit or set up a new seems to have got party political. However, maybe instead it is better for GC to stay medium-sized with an Olympic sized swimming pool (saw it in the RTT but can't find a link).
Wikipedia says: Goldsmith was educated at four independent schools: at King's House School in Richmond and The Mall School in Twickenham, followed by Hawtreys School, near Great Bedwyn in Wiltshire, and Eton College in Berkshire, and later earned four A Levels as a student at the Cambridge Centre for Sixth-form Studies, after having been expelled from Eton for possession of cannabis.
I was just making the point that it seems that parents in Kingston have not quite woken up to the realisation that, despite years of consultation having decided on a new, non- religious, inclusive, normal sort of community secondary school run by a consortium involving their local council, that is not what they are going to get. ZG is obviously both "parroting the party line" and correct to point out that it's a free school or nothing now. Not sure whether he and others will be able to lobby successfully for Kingston to be put to the front of the queue for free school funds in view of the fact that it's been let down before. Doesn't seem to have worked for schools that have been promised funds for rebuilding for years.
Zac is out of touch on state education in fact featured in the independent schools edition of RTT last yr. Could be difficult with politics . Zac can't seem to work with neighbouring Lib Dem MPs. And Ed probarbly has the job Zac would want to do
Just found the article about Grey Court's potential new swimming pool - sounds exciting, and Zac is impressed too. Maggie Bailey, the headteacher, came across well in the cabinet webcast.
Here is the report:
' . . Main Judgements: The academy has made satisfactory progress towards raising standards.
Priorities for further improvement: Develop greater consistency in teaching and assessment across subjects, ensuring that:
all teachers build on the good practice identified across the curriculum information on students abilities, knowledge and skills is used to plan more consistently challenging lesson activities and tasks which extend their learning and support those who are less confident
the checking of learning is consistently implemented in lessons so that students can accelerate their progress
the marking of students work fully informs students about how to achieve their goals and how to improve their presentation and literacy skills.
Improve leadership of teaching and assessment by ensuring that:
the monitoring of the quality of teaching looks closely at students learning and progress middle leaders develop strategic and operational capacity for self- evaluation and implement greater consistency in teaching and assessment across subjects.'
I note that Her Majestys Inspector Meena Kumari Wood has not bothered to learn how to punctuate! It is no wonder that the kids can't do it either.
She also writes: ' . . There are 710 students on roll. Two thirds of these are White British, with the rest from diverse minority ethnic backgrounds. The proportion of students for whom English is an additional language is high. The proportion of students known to be eligible for free school meals is much higher than the national figure. The proportion of students who are disabled or have special educational needs is low. However, the number of students with statements of special educational needs is high, the majority of whom have been identified as having behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.'
Satisfactory progress does not pass muster . Even RPA got good progress rating in their similar Ofsted inspection.
TA is performing below par and I am afraid not made the changes needed to improve teaching standards and inspire confidence in our community .
ChrisSquire I'm dyslexic so the last person to make a judgement on punctuation, and especially, you may have noticed, spelling, but the extract you print was bulletted (that's probably a dyslexic word as well!!) in her original letter. In my former bastion of traditional Civil Service standards it was always accepted there was ambiguity about how you punctuate bullet points, since they essentially postdate traditional punctuation conventions. Rigourous use of punctuation could be repetitive and unnecessary and, according to the design and branding geeks, spoil the appearance of a report. As long as you were consistent there were a number of options, including using the bullet mark itself as the punctuation. But I would say that wouldn't I!
I find the TA academy OFSTED report quite concerning not just because of the disparity in the standard of progress compared to RPA but also that the leadership is also rated as only satisfactory. Surely with an Academy with a very clear mission to improve it is a strategic imperative that the leadership should be at least good and preferably outstanding? It does explain why Whitfield and Hodgkin aren't predicting parents will be won over to TA more quickly.
Completely off topic just discovered Twickenham had an important role in the journey away from the traditional 11+ for assessing pupils. From the Plowden Report 1967 ^415. The NFER, in their enquiry in Twickenham in 1956 (4), found the greatest accuracy was achieved when account was taken both of attainment tests and of the head teacher's order of merit scaled by the results of an intelligence test. Nevertheless, the order of merit was the best single predictor. Only a slight reduction in accuracy was caused by leaving attainment tests out of the calculation. This loss of accuracy must be weighed against the effects of externally imposed attainment tests on the curriculum of the primary school. Some teachers undoubtedly prepare for attainment tests and give this preparation undue weight in the curriculum. Some authorities try to reduce the backwash on the curriculum of standardised attainment tests by including English composition in the tests, or by new English tests which allow a greater freedom of response than did earlier types. Arithmetic tests have been constructed in which speed and computation are reduced in importance and items included which attempt to measure understanding. Although these tests are improvements they will not allow enough freedom to primary teachers if they are externally imposed. We conclude that where selection procedures continue to be used, a slight loss of accuracy is better than the risk of a harmful backwash on the curriculum, and that externally imposed attainment tests should be abandoned."
I didn't do that deliberately
Copthallresident: I was criticising the absence of any punctuation within the bullet points - after 'those who are less confident', 'accelerate their progress' and 'learning and progress'; a semi-colon is the correct mark to indicate that what follows is a separate but related sentence.
The ends of the two bullet points are correctly marked with full stops.
I have no truck with 'design and branding geeks' - ugh!
ChrisSquire I did say don't ask me to judge punctuation, my brain does it's best to live in a virtually detail free world... Totally offthread but can't resist responding on design and branding geeks. I shared your cynicism. I once had to sit through a whole day of options for branding a service, only relieved by one of the options being almost identical, from font to uniforms, to the branding of Hitlers SS, bar the swastika . And they hadn't noticed.. and they still persisted in working on what they saw as the positive "forceful" and "efficient" elements of the brand! Ugh indeed.
Except out of that came one of the UKs most copied brand names, so you had to concede some truck with them
Though not totally irrelevent. Isn't that what the Academies have done, attempted a rebrand? And these things do stir powerful perceptions. TA appearing to turn it's back on it's heritage within it's own community Whitton, hasn't gone down well with some of the people I know who live there. They feel it has a whiff of middle class snobbery and suggests the school wants to attract in Twickenham children rather than their own, and has devalued their pride in their education. With all the focus on improvement and standards we tend to forget that the academies weren't all bad and were capable of giving a happy education and a decent crop of GCSEs.
Jo - I support your points. Academies that have not made the changes are doing a dis service to their local communities. They are not offering the quality and stopping the Council from creating more quality places. Changes should be made at leadership teams in academies that are failing to deliver the education the community wants. Its time to stop blaming the community and focus on improving the quality of education.
Good point - the assessment in RPA's inspection report rated leadership and teaching standards more highly by comparison:
The strong and clear leadership of the headteacher has galvanised self-belief in staff and students.
The distribution of responsibilities to create a wider leadership team has injected ambition and energy into converting satisfactory teaching to good, and good to outstanding.
So who can parents and the community turn to in order to get Twickenham Academy to raise its standards? Does the council have no further responsibility?
This was just a monitoring inspection. As part of that they will have been told what they need to do to score a 'Good' in their full inspection next year (bearing in mind that 'Good' is the new acceptable standard of education under Ofsted's new rules).
They need to throw everything they have at acting on that advice over the next year. I expect they're aware of that, and the local community will be watching closely.
Heli - If this was a business enterprise, this report would be unacceptable and require the CEO to step aside. But irrespective of the report, we all know that TA is not making the changes the community wants. Parents get inspired or discouraged by the headteachers and the seniors supporting the head. HA is an example of how a good head can win back the community confidence.
TA and RPA need to gracefully make leadership changes in order to win back the confidence of the community.
concparent, Ofsted judged RPA to have 'strong and clear leadership' - just wondering by what measure you are judging the leadership? I do think parents are quite understandably influenced by results and popularity in terms of admissions, but we haven't had the most recent update on that.
Oftsed does not collate feedback from parents . We should not assume that parents just follow the herd mentality . A lot of them go and meet teachers and make their own assessments.
I'd respect any parent's views if they have put that sort of effort into looking at schools. I also have a lot of respect for teachers, especially when they are dealing with a diverse range of abilities and backgrounds, and I welcome any sign that schools are on an upward curve. It did strike me that there was a marked difference in tone between RPA's Ofsted monitoring report and TA's.
This talk of parents looking at schools is by the way in this case; it seems to me that for those families in Fulwell and West Twickenham who now live outside the shrinking catchment areas for Orleans and Teddington schools, it is a case of Hobsons choice:
Choice . . 2. c. Hobson's choice: the option of taking the one thing offered or nothing . . Named from Tobias Hobson, the Cambridge carrier, . . who let out horses, and is said to have compelled customers to take the horse which happened to be next the stable-door, or go without.
. . a1708 T. Ward England's Reformation (1716) 326 Where to elect there is but one, 'Tis Hobson's choice, Take that or none . . [OED]
The keen teachers at TA will no doubt welcome an influx of demanding parents and diligent pupils to help them push ahead with transforming the school.
The keen teachers at TA will no doubt welcome an influx of demanding parents and diligent pupils to help them push ahead with transforming the school.
Of course, the council are hoping to shoe-horn in as many such parents as possible. The results will then improve and that will to help mask the fact that the teaching isn't improving as fast as it should be.
In the meantime, large numbers of families will move house, or stretch themselves financially to go private, and the community will suffer as a result.
It would be much better to allow a bit of competition into the system, so that TA has no excuse but to weed out the teachers that don't measure up, and are letting down the whole school. There are far too many of the pre-conversion teachers still there.
All of our children deserve a 'good' education. There should be an obligation on councils to make sure every school place offered is of that standard.
So according to the Standard we should know more about new schools in two weeks or so.
The Parliamentary Recess begins on July 17th, so people are assuming there'll be an annoucement on Free Schools before then.
Heli - Is there a way to find out more details on the quality of teachers at TA. How many oteachers do they have that are rated outstanding and how many of them do you think do not measure up ? What all can schools do to improve teaching standards, if replacement is either not desired or practical in the short term?
I think if the New Free School for Twickenham is having problems finding a site ( and if it gets go ahead) then they should close down Twick Academy and give the site to them!!
My friend who has lived here longer than me said it has had a change of uniform before, change of head and revamping etc more than once but has still been a poor performing school for many many years
JoTwick, the Ofsted inspectors will discuss individual teacher performance with the Principle, but that info won't get into the public domain other than as a summary in the Ofsted report.
Before it was closed down Whitton School's last Ofsted report slammed it for inadequate teaching. A large proportion of those teachers are still there. No doubt there will be lots of training going on. However, the proof will be in the pudding.
I'd prefer to see the full Ofsted inspection report before heads start to roll, as these things take time to turn around. However, progress seems slower than hoped.
I think we should be careful about laying blame on teachers who were at TA and assuming they can't change. The processes that are there for managing the people in any organisation are there for a reason. There are lots of reasons that people may not be performing in a job and many of them can be addressed, by training, improving motivation, making it quite clear what is expected, changing the culture etc. If you change all those things and someone is still not performing then they will have had plenty of interventions, warnings etc and it isn't that difficult to engineer them out be it early retirement, voluntary redundancy (though of course extremely competent people take these routes too!) or dismissal. The whole process may take a while but only because it makes no sense to ditch a person that has had investment in their training and experience.
In my Mum's experience (Deputy Head at a well performing secondary in an area of deprivation, now retired but some problems stay the same) staff in failing schools have often become demotivated and cyncical, they give up on themselves and the children. They are often not bad teachers, it's just in a failing culture it's more comfortable to be cynical than to make the effort and care. I have heard word of mouth that many staff at TA were very cynical about the new Scandinavian teaching methods, that may be because they were in the wrong mindset or maybe they were right and speak from experience and knowledge of their pupils? Weren't the leadership also in place in the school before the changes? When "superheads" go in they tighten up the management processes but crucially they provide the leadership you need to change culture, so that demotivation and cyncism become unacceptable, and they make schools rewarding and exciting places to work, and they do this very quickly. That's why I think that the rating of the leadership as only satisfactory is a real concern especially when the RPA write up suggests they have the leadership qualities that can galvanise change (though of course they also need investment and to be supported and empowered by their governors, Scandinavian sponsors? owners? - not sure what the technical term is etc.)
The Guardian reports: Data released last month by the Department for Education show that while 19% of pupils educated in LEA primary schools and 16% of those in state secondaries are eligible for free school meals, the figures for free schools are much lower. FSM rates in the 24 free schools that opened last year were half those for the LEA sector, at 9% for primaries and 8% for secondaries.
primal - I see difficult how your proposal could work. NLS4T has demand for 150 secondary places and TA does not have so many spare places. We cant have a school with 300 students in every year. So 2 schools are needed.
TA needs to improve and if that means making changes in leadership and teachers, than it should be done - its totally totally unfair to not provide for quality school places. Giving us poor performing schools to choose from makes a mockery of choice and diversity.
The Guardian also reports: 'Some well-known academies are facing an exodus of teachers this summer . . Sheffield Springs academy, run by United Learning Trust, is poised to lose at least 25 teaching staff, . . while the troubled school is on its third principal of the academic year.
This comes after a new permanent head was recently appointed, only to then turn the post down, ULT citing "family circumstances". In February, Ofsted inspectors criticised the "significant instability in leadership and management" since the academy was established in 2006, as it was then on its fifth principal in that time. Now it's on its sixth.
Meanwhile, Kingsdale foundation school, an academy in south London, praised as "brilliant" by David Cameron last year but which has been in the news over an investigation into alleged cheating in GCSEs, will have seen the departure of at least 40 teachers over this academic year, including 15 from science alone. The school started the year with 125 teaching staff.
Finally, we have been told of another high-profile academy where 25 staff are reportedly leaving this term. We hope to keep you posted on that one.'
Primal, JoTwick is right. Twickenham needs NLS4T and TA, not one or the other. There are more than enough children to fill both (and ultimately another new school at Egerton Road), provided they have parental confidence. The best outcome would be for parents to have a choice of good schools, and to have the freedom to choose between them based on the model that best suits their child, rather than quality issues.
p.s. For info, page 60 of this report gives an overview of how Richmond LEA approach school improvement.
BayJay but perhaps its worth considering pressing the Reset button on TA. Bring in a new sponsor and management team
Jo, ultimately the government has the power to do that with any academy that doesn't perform. There's a clearly defined process which leads up to that (sorry, I'd find a link to it but I'm at work and aa bit pushed). However, the first monitoring inspection is way too soon for it to kick in.
I note that the 'Executive Summary' of the report cited by BayJay (which has the snappy title Action research into the evolving role of the local authority in education: The final report for the Ministerial Advisory Group ISOS Partnership by Natalie Parish, Andrew Baxter and Leigh Sandals, June 2012) is itself more than 7,000 words long.
Hmmm . . where is the 'Executive Summary' of the 'Executive Summary'?
"There's a clearly defined process which leads up to that"
Actually, that's not quite true. There is a clearly defined process that leads up to a school being defined as "inadequate", and its just about to get tougher. However, the steps that lead from there to the Secretary of State intervening to remove the sponsor are less clear, as in this example. I suppose that makes sense. Every case is going to be different, and in many cases the increased monitoring and intervention that comes with being in Special Measures will be the catalyst for turning a school around.
A relative of mine worked in a private prep school iwhere morale was so low that a third of the staff left in one year, due to weak management. All schools are affected by poor leadership but at least an LA school - or one where unions are respected and governors encourage open communication with parents and staff (perhaps the NFS4T would have this culture) have avenues for complaint.
The fact is that TA is improving, just not as quickly as the community would like. They're predicting a significant improvement in their next crop of GCSE results, and feedback I hear from parents in the younger year groups is generally satisfactory. However, satisfactory needs to become good, and soon.
"perhaps the N[L]S4T would have this culture"
Can't think of any reason why it wouldn't.
RISC have today put out a press release, not yet on their website:
Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (RISC) is continuing with its legal challenge to the Councils decision to use Twickenhams Clifden Road site for exclusive Voluntary Aided Catholic schools.
RISC first wrote to the Council in February pointing out that the new Education Act requires Councils that need a new school first to seek proposals for a new Academy/Free School. The Council have not done that, so RISC believes they are acting unlawfully by pressing ahead with the Voluntary Aided schools. This is important because new faith-based Academies/Free Schools are limited to a maximum of 50% faith-based places, but Voluntary Aided schools can go up to 100%.
In April RISC announced a formal legal challenge, mounted jointly with the British Humanist Association, which is concerned about the national implications of the Councils approach. The Council replied that the challenge was premature, as no decision had been taken at that stage. So the action was put on hold. But it was resumed after the Council formally decided on 24th May to go ahead with the Catholic schools. RISCs lawyers are now taking the next steps towards a Judicial Review of the Councils decision.
Speaking on behalf of RISC, Jeremy Rodell said We warned the Council back in February that they were acting unlawfully, but they ploughed on, and then told us any formal challenge had to wait till after their decision on 24th May. Unfortunately, this delay may create uncertainty for Catholic parents, who will want to know this coming September whether or not there will be places available at a new Catholic VA school in September 2013. In order to try to reduce the period of uncertainty we have asked the Council - and our lawyers will ask the court - to do whatever they can to speed up the proceedings, though we have to recognise that were heading into the holiday period, so the timing may not be ideal.
We also asked the Council to agree to a reasonable limit on the legal costs that either side can claim from the other if it wins. We had expected them to agree, so both sides would have an incentive to keep costs to a minimum and they could limit the amount of public money at risk. But so far they have refused, and have instead tried to intimidate us on costs, presumably because they have plenty of taxpayer funds available. If a court concludes that the Council is acting unlawfully, they will then need to decide what to do to put it right.