We don’t want to bang on about schools, honestly we don’t. You’ve got better things to do. We’ve got better things to do. But it is an area where El Brute are moving at quite a pace, or at least trying to. There’s a lot going on so we’ll try keep it brief, shall we? Rather!

SIXTH Form Consultation Gets Going

Time for a sixth form here?
School sixth forms. Remember them? They’ve not been around in this borough for a while but maybe you remember them from wherever or perhaps “if ever” you went to school. They were the places where you reckoned you were cooler than the other kids coz you had a different tie or maybe coz got to wear your own clothes. They were the places where you had a “common room” where you could sit around bitching about the teachers instead of having to sit around bitching about the teachers in a normal classroom. Cool! “That Mr Jenkins, what an idiot!” Good times? You reckon? Jimmy Hill!

Anywayyyyy…. El Brute is now seeking your views on proposals to introduce sixth forms to the Borough’s Schools, or at least the ones where it’s not already underway. Both Hampton and Twickenham Academies have already started planning to set up sixth forms for September 2012 admissions but of the other schools – the ones El Brute would love to see become academies – the proposals relate to sixth forms being ready by September 2014. Round these parts we’re talking Waldegrave, Orleans Park and Teddington. The proposals involve some pooling and “commonality” so that schools work together to deliver a coherent proposition under the banner of “Richmond Upon Thames Post-16 Partnership”. Don’t fret, we’ll think up a suitably pathetic acronym for that at a later date.

There’s been a lot of correspondence about sixth forms in the local rag, much of it coming from those who say the significant expense of doing this could be better spent elsewhere, from those who say that small school-based sixth forms won’t be able to offer more than a limited range of core subjects and from those who keep pointing out that Richmond College already offers a wide range of courses, gets reasonable results etc, etc. The problem is dudes that 87% of those who responded to an El Brute survey want sixth forms or at least want them as an option in addition to the one single option currently available in the Borough. Excessive choice isn’t always a good thing (admit it, do actually enjoy the time you spend staring in utter confusion at the array of cereals on the shelves of Tesco or Waitrose?) but offering some kind of choice for the thousands of 16-18 year olds in the Borough of Richmond doesn’t seem like a totally unreasonable idea.

The consultation runs to 30th March 2012

* El Brute’s statutory consultation on sixth forms

Been & Gone…..

DEADLINE on Clifden Road aka Catholic School Consultation
Friday 16th March is the deadline for your views on El Brute’s consultation on their dream of seeing the Clifden Road site in Twickenham (currently Richmond Adult Community College) turned into a Voluntary Aided Roman Catholic Secondary with a linked Primary. Vigorously supporting the establishment of a Voluntary Aided school with all the benefits and privileges that brings to the Church in terms of controlling admissions to suit their particular interests, when compared to the overarching approach just about everywhere else that all new schools should battle it out as academies or free schools is wrong. Factor in the growing demand for school places and the exclusive nature of such a school and the whole thing just doesn’t stack up. Academies (and remember that El Brute are hoping that Orleans Park and Waldegrave will take up that ‘option’) and free schools (such as the Twickenham community school that’s currently being promoted) need to have broadly open admission policies. Voluntary Aided schools do not. In this case, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster would be able to dictate the admissions policy and still get the vast majority of the school’s costs fully funded by the taxpayer.

So if you think the Council should be pushing ahead with this, if you think the Council should be neutral on what schools get set up under the new world order, or if you think its schools policy should support openness and options for a broader section of the community whatever their faith or lack of it, you need to have your say by Friday 16th March.

* For a more detailed look at this you can try our last item here
* Or go directly to the LBRuT Consultation here