Twickenham Schools Consultation: Redux

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.

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

9 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Schools

9 responses to “Twickenham Schools Consultation: Redux

  1. __fa__

    its not really enterprise and education with only 1 enterprise there. Being cynical, this is just a way for Haymarket to offset the cost of a new building. They are downsizing massively as they struggle to stay alive, like most publishers. They are selling land, and titles to stay afloat.They can’t afford to stay in/near London unless their building is subsidised. Not the best enterprise to align to education. How about aligning something more successful? UK growth industries? Or *many* local companies rather than one?

  2. billysweeney

    This all comes at the cost of a massive residential development at the Teddington Studios site.The proposal is to build more than 200 flats in an area already suffering from infrastructure stress (try getting a doctors appointment, a child into a local school or a seat on a train). We are full, there isn’t a scrap of land left that hasn’t been built on or isn’t earmarked for a high density development. As a result there is a negative impact on the quality of life for all residents.
    There is currently a lack of TV studio space in London after the BBC move to Salford debacle. Now that a parliamentary select committee is investigating the astronomical waste of money and the dubious facilities provided in Salford, it’s likely the BBC will relent and allow some productions to move back to the south. This will further increase the need for studio space in London. There is still a viable business to be run at this site.
    6th forms are now being allowed in schools in Richmond and likewise provision in other boroughs is also to be increased. Consequently the need for a dedicated 6th form college at Egerton Road is questionable (particularly given the difficult relationship it has with the local community, and its unpopularity with local parents who chose Esher College above it).
    It would be far better if Egerton Road were redeveloped as a new secondary school (Turing perhaps ?) with the special needs unit attached.
    Teddington Studios has existed on this site for nearly 100 years and brings employment and cultural capital to an area rapidly losing its identity to crass high density urban expansion.
    However as the council has already committed millions to the feasibility of Haymarkets’ little property deal (before any local consultation) I think we all know what the outcome will be.
    We can’t let democracy get in the way of a juicy business deal or a shit-grinning photo-op now can we.

  3. FORCE are very concerned about the implications of all these proposals for the open spaces of the Crane valley. Note that the current college site proposals we have seen also include a special school on this site and “enabling development” as well as new college buildings. The recent “Site Alllocation Plan” proposals for the borough also include more “enabling development” at the adjacent Council depot, as well as a new stand and hotel at the Stoop – also the possiblity of new school facilities at the Mereway Day centre site adjacent to Kneller Gardens.

    There is no evidence that the council has considered how all these facilities are going to fit into the available space and what the implications are for open land along the Crane valley and the existing community of the area. One obvious question is how will play space for these different ages be accommodated, alongside increased public open space needs linked to new housing and 1100 office workers.

    There is also no evidence that they have taken any account of our long standing ambitions for improvements to this part of the crane valley and adjacent green spaces – even though these are in their own supplementary planning guidance for the area.

    We are concerned that the council is attempting to bounce the public into accepting these new proposals before the full implications are understood. We are not against new development per se – but we would only support it where it also provides clear benefits to the local environment and existing community.

    Rob Gray
    Chair of FORCE

  4. Jeremy Rodell

    The Council is giving the impression that there will be bountiful secondary places at good inclusive schools. They need to do that because their decision over the Catholic school at Clifden Road was so controversial, and there’s an election next year.

    In fact there may be a problem looming sooner than Sep 2016 when the Egerton Road school may open, even assuming Turing House finds a home in time to open in Sep 2014. It’s compounded by the increasing numbers coming through the primaries (2013 was an unusual pause in the year-on-year increases), and what looks like a serious question of confidence Richmond Park Academy, where 50% of the Year 7 places are vacant.

    Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if the only new secondary actually to open in the borough for many years, the state-funded Catholic school on the prime site at Clifton Road (originally Turing House’s preferred site) – which the Council decided had top priority – will be fully subscribed by those who said it was so essential that its admissions policy should give their children priority over everyone else’s.

  5. Haymarket are selling up Hammersmith and Tedd Studios and looking for a new base. Personally I would love it as I could move from my current Media / Publishing group to the other one and walk to work in 30 seconds… Surely any significant investment into the area is a good thing? oh and where are those 1100 folk going to eat, time for some new food outlets…

  6. halloweenTreats

    Turing House must already have a site lined up, and LBRuT must need both, otherwise the obvious thing to do would be to site Turing House at Egerton Road. After all, its already approved, whereas this new proposal isn’t.

    Looks like we’re going to be spoilt for choice, at least for a year or so until that primary bulge comes through and soaks up all the new places. Hey ho.

  7. halloweenTreats

    Twickerati, this is actually a Free School proposal. They’re just a bit shy of calling it that.

    It will at least provide lots of applicants for Haymarket’s notorious telesales Jobs.

  8. Haymarket survivor

    Just think how many journalists they can lay off, to be replaced by work experience kids…

    And I speak as a former employee!

  9. Local lady

    …I’m a bit puzzled, or perhaps I’m missing something obvious. But why is Haymarket Media a part of this education campus? 1100 employees (and cars etc) to be relocated? Are they paying half the development costs and that’s why they’re in it together? I just can’t make a link between the educational requirements and Haymarket Media. Can anyone enlighten me?