The Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (RISC) has announced that it will not appeal against the recent judicial review decision which declared El Brute’s approval of a Voluntary Aided Catholic School to be lawful. In a press release the RISC said that although there were ‘a number of aspects’ open to challenge, any appeal would not be practical on the grounds of costs and because it would only be heard after the school had offered places to children for 2013 admissions. The RISC statement says, ‘We have no desire to risk that level of uncertainty for parents and children, and it is unlikely that, even if we won an appeal, a judge would stop the schools going ahead at that stage’.
In acknowledging the widespread opposition to the setting up of Voluntary Aided school RISC spokesperson Jeremy Rodell said: ‘I know that’s a major disappointment for a lot of local people, who believe it’s simply wrong. But there’s nothing more we can do – the forces against us were simply too powerful. But RISC will not go away. There will be an announcement about our future activities shortly’.
It’s been contentious, divisive and hotly debated issue but one thing we will say for the RISC is that their campaign has reflected the views of many people across the Borough with different beliefs, interests and backgrounds. Furthermore, RISC spokesman/leader Jeremy Rodell has conducted himself in a dignified manner throughout despite hostile and sometimes personal attacks from some(one) who seemed to think the opposition to the plan was being fomented by out-of-borough agitators hijacking the campaign. And of course the irony is that such misguided comments make the accuser rather than the accused seem to be the one who’s out of touch with local opinion. Local politics really is a funny old world.
Given the RISC’s statement, perhaps it’s not game over for them just yet but in the meantime it sounds as if we might get that ‘period of silence’ demanded by Council Leader, Lord True. Silence!