Richmond College
Richmond College
If it came to a scrap between Michael Heseltine and Michael Gove, despite the age gap, you’d have to put your money on the Tory grandee rather than the Education Secretary. If you’re not the betting type, be honest, you’d still want Hezza to win. And he bloody would too! Micky Gove might have all the fancy talk but Micky H’s is a man of action… a doer not a pontificator. It’s just a shame we’ll never get to see such a spectacle. In fact, it could be just the opposite. If things come to pass, rather than conflict we might actually witness a harmonious coming together of the Gove worldview and Hezza’s empire, Haymarket Media, currently based just down the road in Teddington.

As you very well know, the Richmond College site in Egerton Road Twickenham has been the subject of much debate. Could it accommodate a new secondary school? Could the Clarendon School for young people with special needs also move there from Hampton? Could Haymarket Media Group bring something to the party too?

The proposal now getting a more thorough airing courtesy of El Brute is for the site to be redeveloped to contain a new HQ for Haymarket Media, a new secondary school (and we’re talking a non-faith, non-selective community free school, of course) whilst still keeping the college to provide the post-16 education. It’s a bold idea and we suspect it’s exactly the sort of thing that The Govemeister-General would love – business and education coming together on one site to serve the community.

According to the blurb: “All the partners will work together to design an innovative curriculum, using new technology, and developing specialisms in creative arts and media, business, computing, engineering and sport, providing lifelong learning, skills and opportunities for the young people”. Boom! That’s a hell of a lot of boxes ticked right there with all that fancy talk.

The Council certainly seem to be getting quite excited about the prospect. This seems to be a bit of a change from previous free-school related conversations and proposals which appeared to us ignorant folk at twickerati HQ to be met with a polite but cool response at York House. Meanwhile, we see that the Turing House free school, despite having its proposals approved by the DoE, is still on the hunt for a suitable home. It’s in formal talks with a local landowner but i’s need to be dotted and t’s crossed.

So if you’re loving the idea of this new ‘bizucation’ venture and want to find out more, then two ‘information events’ (no, not meetings, events!) are lined up to tell you more about it. Hell, you can even ‘pledge your support’ too. The open sessions are lined up for the 14th November and 27th November at Richmond College, Egerton Road, TW1 between 7.00pm and 8.30pm.

So, a great innovation to bring business and education together to share ideas and best practice and to provide much needed school places in Twickenham? Or another step in the creeping semi-privatisation of core services to our communities? Only you know the answer to that.

UPDATE: And now we get a leaflet through the door too! El Brute seem to be giving this one the big push.

* LBRuT Presser
* New website for ‘Richmond Education & Enterprise Campus’