Lord disappointed by acolyte

Richmond Council’s support for a Voluntary Aided Roman Catholic School in the Borough suffered a blow this week when the High Court gave permission for a judicial review of the Council’s decision to approve the plans. The legal action against the Council is being brought by the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (RISC) and the British Humanist Association (BHA). The RISC is opposed to the Voluntary Aided school where places would be allocated on faith-based criteria set by the Church.

El Brute were clearly not impressed by this piece of news and in a terse press release Council Leader Lord True said, “I am disappointed that despite the clear, democratic decision that has been taken by our community, the national British Humanist Association and its local acolyte, have moved forward with their campaign”. Local acolyte? Bam! In your face, RISC! Bet you don’t get press releases like that in Tower Hamlets! The acolyte bit is a reference to RISC main man Jeremy Rodell who is indeed a humanist but is always at pains to point out how the RISC draws its support from people with a diverse range of beliefs and faiths but who share the view that any new school should have an open admissions policy.

The crux of the RISC’s argument is that El Brute’s decision to give the go ahead to a Voluntary Aided school on the Clifden Road site in Twickenham should not have been taken without first seeking applications for academies or free schools. The Council’s view is that its previous consultations have demonstrated clear support for the school and that it acted appropriately. A key point will be whether the new Voluntary Aided school is ‘needed’ as opposed to simply being wanted or desired. When approving the school plans earlier this year the Council was careful to argue that the school was part of a long standing commitment to provide the local Catholic community with its own school rather than as a response to a the genuine, growing demand for school places in the Borough. However, in accepting the application for the judicial review the judge said it was arguable that the Council’s consultation was based on a decision that the provision of additional school places was necessary and, if so, the provisions of the Act (requiring academies and free schools proposals to be sought) should have been applied. This will now be put to the test in the judicial review.

Although fighting a legal action might not sound like the best use of taxpayers’ money, one might also argue that it’s important to be crystal clear that any new school fully complies with the provisions of the Education Act.

The judicial review is expected to be heard in October.

LINKS:
* Council Press Release
* RISC news page

11 Comments

Filed under Council

11 responses to “Lord disappointed by acolyte

  1. The council spending £8m to create a faith-school that will provide endoctrination quality education for catholic pupils, 70% coming OUT of the borough.
    Where’s the democracy in there?

    By the way, why did Lord True not disclose his interests (see above, his wife is catholic and heads up the SIR HAROLD HOOD’S CHARITABLE TRUST,
    http://www.charitiesdirect.com/charities/sir-harold-hood-charitable-trust-225870.html whose aim is quite vaguely “To benefit such Roman Catholic Charitable purposes as the Trustees shall in their absolute discretion from time to time think fit”.
    This trust has £30m in the bank…
    http://www.charitiesdirect.com/charities/sir-harold-hood-charitable-trust-225870.html

  2. Incidentally I’d be amazed if this judicial review didn’t come down to Lord True and LBRuT spending our money in unlimited quantities defending their pet project and outspending RISC and the BHA rather than actually testing the legality of this decision in court as they *know* it’s illegal.

    Either the school was essential, in which case El Brute were required to pursue setting up a 50/50 admission academy first, or it wasn’t, in which case the consultation was misleading and likely invalid. It’s that simple, El Brute are wrong and they know it which is why True has nothing but self-righteous indignation as a defence.

  3. Well regarding Lord True, here’s his page on the official Parliament website – http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/nicholas-true/90425

    10: Non-financial interests (e)
    Trustee, Sir Harold Hood’s Charitable Trust (registered charity)

    Puts his support for the Catholic school into context. I wasn’t aware that council leaders could appropriate council taxpayers’ money for the benefit of their own religion, must’ve been mistaken or naive evidently.

  4. ruggabugga

    There’s an interesting comment on R&TTimes regarding Lord True’s Catholic interests:

    sirarthurbliss says… 12:17am Wed 29 Aug 12

    ” Time for a reminder that Lord True and his wife are trustees of a charity “To benefit such Roman Catholic Charitable purposes as the Trustees shall in their absolute discretion from time to time think fit”. Latest figures show it has assets of over £30million: http://www.charitiesdirect.com/charities/sir-harold-hood-charitable-trust-225870.html

    I don’t recall Lord True making a declaration of interest before council debates about the Catholic school.”

  5. John Wilkes

    Dear Lord True,

    I am not a member of the British Humanist Association, nor do I know any members. Neither am I a Catholic or member of any other faith-based organisation. I am, however a Council and Income Tax payer and I object to my money being used to set up faith-based schools. The arguments against your decision to create the new school have been well rehearsed elsewhere (and ignored by you), but just to remind you of the consequences: children of people like me, resident in this Borough, who have no religious affiliation, will be discriminated against in favour of those whose parents, usually by chance, can show that they are members of religious minority (and may live outside the Borough). Your deliberate discrimination means that my children will have a smaller choice of schools than they would otherwise and that their job prospects, future earnings and success in general will be more constrained.

    Yes – this is discrimination against the children of the majority of the people who pay your salary (and expect you implement policies which reflect the views of modern Britain). Some of us expected fairer policies from you and your party. This regressive policy reflects very badly on you.

  6. Gareth Roberts

    Of course whenever I read the headline my mind begins to read Lord Disappointed by a coyote.

    Meep Meep!

  7. ruggabugga

    I wonder if Lord True’s middle initials are J.R. ? 😉

  8. ‘Acolyte n. A person who attends a priest and performs subordinate duties, as assisting at the altar, lighting and bearing candles, etc.’ [OED]

    Will someone please buy the noble lord a dictionary.

  9. Anonymous

    There is a desperate need for Catholic schools – ask any Catholic school supporter. It has been mentioned multiple times by the Council since 2010 and formed the cornerstone of the consultation. Remember the question – Do you think a Catholic school is needed in Richmond? And why was Clifden road bought – to meet the growing need for school places!

    So what is illegal – Council’s refusal to set up an academy or running a consultation to mislead the public. Whichever way you look at it is disgraceful, disingenuous and a gross abuse of power that people entrusted them with.

    • Maybe if the consultation had asked “Would you like to pay for a school which will tell you to bugger off if you’re not Catholic, and which will choose pupils from Timbuktu rather than you, as long as they are Catholic?” would have been a more honest question. Because the general objection is precisely this: if Richmond is going to build a new school, how can it be right that this new school can choose out of borough children over those who might live next door, on religious grounds?