And in Other News… Schools (Again)

Another month, another bit of school news. Or in this case, not one, not two but three pieces of schools related information that fall under the banner of FYI.

Richmond College

Richmond College

You’re already familiar with the plan to develop a Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus on the current Richmond College site at Egerton Road in Twickenham aren’t you? It’s the joint partnership between the College, El Brute, Harlequins and Haymarket Media. As part of the plans a new secondary school will be established, opening in 2017. In fact, you’re probably already thinking, “Didn’t I already comment on that proposal a while back?” And you’d be bloody right too. There was indeed an opportunity to feedback on the initial plans but now you’ve got another one. Yes really. This time it’s a chance to find out more about the detailed proposals. Deja vu all over again? Maybe, but in more depth. The consultation will be on the REEC website and there will also be drop-in sessions at Richmond College on 21st October and 4th November.  The canvassing of views about a revamped site comes at time when the college has garnered more column inches in the Richmond & Twickenham Times. On this occasion it’s about drug taking and dealing in the playground on Craneford Way allegedly by college students.

Clifden Road Site, Twickenham

Clifden Road Site, Twickenham

Meanwhile St Richard Reynolds Catholic College ‘off of’ Clifden Road is consulting on switching to academy status. You will all recall the great brouhaha that surrounded the school’s approval. At that time, going down the academy route was deemed unsuitable by those seeking to set it up. Academy status would have meant that a maximum of 50% of the places could be allocated on the basis of faith. As it was, El Brute supported the school’s establishment under the ‘Voluntary Aided’ route where such limitations do not apply. Just two years down the line and it may be about to become an academy after all, funded directly by central government and with the greater freedom that status allows. One point of interest is that existing VA schools converting to academy status get to retain their own admissions policies. Funny dat. The consultation runs until 17th October.

And finally, Turing House, the school with no home, has issued an ‘autumn update’. It seems as if there’s some progress going on behind the scenes to find that elusive home. According to their website: “The Government, and the Local Authority, are now in confidential discussions over a number of potential permanent sites; one of these has the benefit of the Local Authority owning the freehold but has some very difficult planning constraints. However other possible sites are also being examined in detail”. The hope from the TH brigade is that they’ll be able to provide ‘concrete information’ about a permanent home and any temporary arrangements by the end of the 2014.  Linked to this, they’ve extended the deadline to January for those seeking September 2015  entry.

LINKS:
* El Brute Egerton Road Consultation
* REEC
* St Richard Reynolds Catholic College – academy consultation
* Turing House School
* RISC

87 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Schools

87 responses to “And in Other News… Schools (Again)

  1. FORCE Press Release – October 2014
    FORCE concerned at Richmond College re-development

    The group promoting development of the Richmond College site at Egerton Road, the Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus (“REEC”) partners, have just launched another public consultation on the development. The REEC have sought community engagement in the development for the past six months through a Local Community Forum. But the principal environmental group on the Forum – Friends Of the River Crane Environment (“FORCE”), with a membership of around 500 local residents – is becoming increasingly concerned that the REEC is showing no signs of taking any notice of its input, and is instead promoting a development which will significantly degrade the quality of green spaces adjacent to the College. This will be to the disadvantage of residents throughout the Crane Valley and the Duke of Northumberland’s River (“DNR”).

    FORCE has consistently maintained that the open spaces of the Crane Valley need to be considered as a whole, not in isolation from each other: residents don’t just use one space, but access a range of spaces, often in the same visit; and the density of the local population means that changes to one space have implications for a number of adjacent spaces. FORCE has pressed Richmond Council over a number of years to adopt a “masterplan approach” to the green spaces that recognises these interdependencies – but all to no avail.

    FORCE is concerned that the Council is once again applying its piecemeal approach to the REEC development. Earlier this month the REEC group revealed, for the first time, that the planned development will result in the fencing off from public use of the entire Craneford East playing field. Just last week, the REEC revealed its estimates that some 200 additional housing units will be built on the current College site, to help fund the development. This increase in the number of residents, as well as students, will greatly increase the pressure on open spaces, at the same time as the number of local public playing fields will be halved.

    FORCE has a number of concerns. It is concerned at the Council’s continued piecemeal approach to developments in the Crane Valley. It is concerned that the REEC proposals increase pressure on the open spaces whilst at the same time reducing public access to those spaces. It is also concerned that the REEC have, since their appointment last April, denied FORCE an opportunity to meet with their environmental consultants.

    FORCE raised concerns with REEC about the limited scope of their assessment at the outset. FORCE has also regularly requested meetings with their consultants, to discuss both these concerns and the opportunities for environmental improvement and mitigation. FORCE has approached the consultants directly, via College and Council representatives, and latterly via leader of the council Lord True, but without any success.

    A spokesperson for FORCE said: “FORCE is not against college development per se, and we have a long term and constructive relationship with Richmond College, working with them on several local projects. We only ask of REEC what we would of any developer – and indeed what the Council’s own local planning guidelines require – to provide net environmental and community benefits for the Crane valley as part of the development”.

    “We are though disappointed in the way the development has progressed to date – and we are despairing at the refusal of the REEC over the last six months to allow FORCE, as a local environmental and community charity, to discuss these matters with their consultants.”

    • Cleo Talbot

      It will be a dreadful shame if public access to Craneford East playing field is withdrawn. During the thirty-plus years that I’ve lived in Twickenham this green space has been used and enjoyed by local people. I can’t help but feel that, having used it for so long, the public must have earned some sort of right of access?

  2. Sally

    Does anybody know what the time frame is for the RR consultation? Are they under any obligation to reveal their results? To whom? By when?
    Is this mere box ticking, or are they really likely to drop the bid/alter the discrimination 100% if the suggestion is unpopular? How unpopular would that need to be?
    I have an impression they can cope with a lot of unpopularity already.Going to work past groups of local children your school won’t admit on the grounds of their religion would surely be uncomfortable.

  3. George Bailey

    Child number one goes to a state grammar school with 100% A-Cs’ at GCSE most students get A* or A’s in fact. I’m pretty sure that some of the reason this school does so well because it creams off the top students – I can’t go along with the it’s intrinsically a better school idea in this case. I am told about the teaching there and some of it is lazy and boring it would almost certainly not make it past an Ofsted inspection. Yes there’s some great stuff going on too but it’s not a majority thing at all. I have to agree with prev posters who suggest some of the reason a good school is deemed good can be down the children themselves. Demographic-wise, many students at this school have a ‘Tiger Mum or Dad’ behind them – another reason for the school’s apparent success – the rocket fuel of uber parental pressure.

    • Autumnal

      If it’s the school I suspect it may be, then it hasn’t been fully inspected since 2007, despite having a new Head in the interim.

      The inspection regime has changed substantially since 2007. It is now much more difficult to get an Outstanding grade. Children of all backgrounds and starting-points need to be showing evidence of outstanding progress (not just outstanding results). Teaching must be outstanding too.

      Yes, parental input helps with progress – and can sometimes compensate for poor teaching – but it’s not enough on its own. Ideally you would have both. And if you have neither then your chances of success are pretty bleak.

    • notconvinced

      If you’re comparing a grammar school and a comprehensive then absolutely, it’s all about intake. Grammar schools represent the top 10% of the ability range so if they can’t manage 5 x grade Cs in GCSE for 100% of pupils they are not effective. But there are no grammar schools run by untested academy chains like Kunskapsskolan. Comprehensive schools are influenced by intake but the intake is determined by admissions criteria. And of course the popularity of the school (itself determined by confidence in leadership and teaching quality). All of this can be self-reinforcing, but good leadership, like at Grey Court, can turn a school around.

    • Sally

      There is a calculation Ofsted does which takes into consideration the starting level of students when evaluating the school results. The reason Grammars-and indeed many private schools look as if they can work miracles is that they have screening processes both for admission and all the way along.If you have entrants who have already been tutored to the back teeth and score highly it is not so very hard to cruise. One Primary school in Whitton’s marks are good-but are superb when you consider the starting level of most of their students.

  4. Sally

    Leaving aside your second cousin Hubris, lets look at Lord True and his wife at the time RR was being enthusiastically pushed being trustees of the Sir Thomas Hood’s Charitable trust a Roman Catholic charity, holdings £30 million, listed on True’s website, but not declared as an interest during the debates..Contemptible to wonder about this.

    • nemesis

      I think you must mean Sir Harold Hood.
      His interest was declared in 2007 on the council website. I believe it was also the declared intention to open a Catholic school in the Tory manifesto in 2010 on which the electorate voted them into office. I dont see how you can be much more open than that. Their holdings appear to be a result of clever investment not from State subsidy which many supposed charities depend on.

    • Sally

      Ah. Sorry, Harold.
      You seem to justify 100% exclusion on the grounds that more open admissions policies lead to what you call “dilution”-that is staff/students who might hold differing views? Your solution is that lots of different Faith schools-presumably each with the same admissions policies-should be permitted. This reminds me of the Sandy Stone protest against the Jewish chap who wanted to get into his golf club. “I’d have nothing against them setting up their own club!” They shouldn’t have to set up their own equally discriminatory schools! Open the club!
      Somewhat contradictory to praise the charity in question for “clever investment not .. State subsidy which many supposed charities depend on”
      I know how much said charities depend on State funds. Tell you what, if RR self support rather than try to keep the 100% and have more State funding, I will suggest to local charities they support themselves on clever investment.

  5. Read the comments thread in Richmond and Twickenham Times Re: Udney Park development. Then look into Teddington Studios/Haymarket/REEC.
    The Wait is Over…… If You Want It.

    • notconvinced

      No, the wait isn’t over because it won’t open until 2017. There are two more intakes until then. I’m sure most Fulwell pupils would be more than happy to join the St RR crowd crowding out commuters on the buses if that’s the only school available. But projections show at least 200 more Y6 pupils in Richmond by then, not counting Hounslow pupils. There’ll be a need for two new schools.

    • Exactly, that’s why Teddington Studios should be considered. As opposed to Udney Park. (RTT thread)

    • notconvinced

      Isn’t it a flood risk area? And it’s even closer to Teddington School. I don’t think there should be houses there either. But maybe they could swap and use the Teddington studios for playing fields? It won’t matter if a football pitch gets waterlogged every once in a while but it does matter when houses and schools are flooded.

    • No the engineers have supposedly fixed the flooding issue. This site does not yet have residential planning permission and it’s value is dependent on such. Haymarket were fully aware when they bought the site that it was protected employment space, that it had already been refused permission for housing in a previous application and that council policy was highly unlikely to change policy on the matter. However having spotted a weakness in the current administration they are now trying to make enormous profits to the detriment of the wider community. There are many reasons for not allowing housing on this site (a desperate need for a school being the primary one) and only one reason for allowing it – GREED.
      Think Gloriana barge, think Heathrow flightpath trials. The Beast can be destroyed.

  6. westwickdad

    @SweeneyTed: “Both of ‘those schools’ would improve dramatically if ….”

    Rubbish. Read the reports. They have nothing to do with the intake. Just bad management.

    I’m not middle class. The middle classes have all moved out of my street, or are remortgaging their houses to pay private school fees.

    I just happen to think that working class kids deserve good schools too.

    • It’s not rubbish. The social background of the students is the major determining factor in a schools performance (outside of extraordinary achievements or failures). You could swap all of Richmond Boroughs teachers with Newham Boroughs and the local results would not change with them. The parents and children make the school good. If people like you who are passionate about a good education for their children went to the academies in large numbers, it would be turned around within a year.

    • westwickdad

      Rubbish again. Read the reports. It’s not about the results, its about the lack of good teaching.

      There are outstanding schools in Hounslow with much rougher intakes, and they’re oversubscribed.

    • Sally

      I agree. Look at the Ofstead reports. It about terrible teaching, terrible management.Other Whitton schools do much better with the same social group of children. I’d swap the glossy new buildings and groovy logo for good teachers. Why don’t local parents want their kids to go there? Because its poorly run with terrible teaching. Suggesting we should throw our kids in there to somehow get the staff to pull their socks up is like saying that if we all rush to a terrible cafe they might start serving better food.
      Sweeny-do you really think that faith selection has no overlap with social selection? Children get faith places if their families go to specified churches. Take a look at where the churches are in the Borough. Hardly the mean streets.

    • notconvinced

      No, even the poorer performing of Newham’s schools get similar results to the KS academies with higher levels of deprivation. So they are doing better. And they are local authority schools without the shiny new logo-embossed buildings.

      If there is a high turnover of staff and they are not being trained or managed effectively, you bet there will be a difference in quality of teaching. Even Lord True said he didn’t much care for academy chains. Some are better than others. Have a look at the Sutton Trust report on academy chains to see how KS or Learning Trust schools are faring.

      http://www.suttontrust.com/newsarchive/wide-variation-academy-chains/

    • Autumnal

      Sweeney, social background is a big factor in results, but that’s all the more reason why children from poorer backgrounds need outstanding teachers.

      Ofsted reports measure the quality of teaching and learning, and the effectiveness of the leadership, not the results.

      If you were to take a group of children out of an outstanding school and put them into one that Requires Improvement, they would get poorer results.

      If you put outstanding leaders and teachers into a Requires Improvement’ school, then you will improve outcomes for the students, no matter what their social background.

      You can’t change a child’s social background, but a good school can improve their life chances. ‘Replacing’ them with a middle class child will not improve their life chances.

    • westwickdad

      No they wouldn’t. They would sit back and say “job done – results have improved, and we didn’t even have to improve the teachers.”

      Luckily Ofsted wouldn’t let them get away with that.

    • nemesis

      I think you have identified a mere correlation. Faith does not define itself on socio-economic grounds. Predominately Catholic countries are relatively poor. I believe that working class parents are equally ambitious for their children receiving a good education (as westwickdad states) but are perhaps less savvy at dissecting Ofsted reports and navigating their way round the system than their middle class counterparts.
      Trying to eliminate rather than emulate the over-subscribed faith schools and force all to attend homogeneous hi-tech academies in the name of ‘equality’ is not the answer.

    • westwickdad

      No need to eliminate them. Just open their doors to all who want that ethos.

      Nemesis, you’re naive if you think faith is what gets people into faith schools. It takes a lot of planning and organisation to negotiate their admissions policies. That’s why the faithful but disorganised poor are often kept out in favour of the well organised middle classes.

    • notconvinced

      St Richard Reynolds High School had a lower proportion (8.8%) eligible for free school meals than the national average, half the proportion of Christ’s School in the middle of Richmond. Actually not different from Orleans Park that year but it was undersubscribed so did take more local children. Their siblings won’t get priority though.

    • nemesis

      Reply to westwickdad @ 1.01pm.
      If you read my reply to Sally @ 12.57 you will see I am not being naive I agree with you.
      In 2013 the fair admissions campaign started by a coalition of groups that include The British Humanist Assoc, the Lib Dem Education Assoc and Muslims for secular democracy. Their long term aims are to have faith based selection schools banned via a short term aim to have the admissions policy changed in order to dilute their influence. Never mind about their blather about not being against religion per se.
      Please let me elaborate on this ‘dilution’. If everyone in an institution is in agreement with the ethos, then they are pulling in the same direction and are better able to resist what they consider interference etc.
      You allow people of different persuasion in and first they will want to be excused from certain assemblies, festivals, lessons etc. then the overall atmosphere becomes more corrosive for coherents, non- coherents & everyone else.

  7. SusanF

    It’s outrageous the way the council and RR have played this. The council need to pull a site out of the bag for TH ASAP if they want anyone to believe they are serious about educational choice.

  8. tw2

    Why is Turing House still without a home? Its crazy that the school still cant announce any site news with all the support it has. Surely El Brute can do something to help secure a site quickly given it owns one of the potential locations!

  9. JC

    Denying a child a school place, based on the faith or lack of, of their parents is immoral and indefensible. I wish people would stop doing it in my name. I thought it was clear in Matthew 19:14, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them.”

    • Observations

      The second ‘great commandment’ says thou shall’t love thy neighbour as thyself. How can this be reconciled with denying your neighbour’s children access to their local school?

    • michelangelo

      actually the second Commandment is about making graven images!

    • Observations

      The reference is to the second ‘Great Commandment’ relates to the reply given in the New Testament to the question ‘Which is the Great Commandment in the law?’ See Matthew 22: 35-40 and Mark 12: 28-34.

    • westwickdad

      All I know is that ranking practising Catholics, over baptised Catholics, over Eastern Christians, over ‘other’ faiths, over no faith in the admissions policy brings new meaning to the phrase ‘holier than thou’.

    • nemesis

      I’m pretty sure, regardless of your ethnicity, your background or your politics you would be welcomed to join the Catholic faith

    • westwickdad

      Clearly you’re on a recruitment drive – “Join us and you get a bigger choice of schools”. Neat marketing.

    • Sally

      The point to bear in mind about the faith schools in question is that it is not just a matter of agreeing to have your child taught the beliefs of that faith while at the school.It is not even a matter of your family happening to be of that faith . It is not even a matter of attending church services for that faith.
      To get a faith place you need to produce evidence-rather humiliating evidence that you and your family attend the church attached to the school-and no other!
      Do you go to the specified church? How often? (One church has tick sheets) Were your children baptised there? What sort of involvement do you have? Do you donate money? Time? (There are no questions on your actual beliefs)
      Oh, you attend a church of that faith but not the one linked to that school? Less points for you.
      How can the most fervent advocate of faith schools justify this humiliating ritual? Its not about children being taught the faith at school, or about the family being of that faith, its gone way beyond that.Its getting silly.

    • nemesis

      I agree. It is not the best way to identify those that are serious or committed to their religion. Many are prepared to jump through those ritual hoops to secure a place in an over-subscribed faith school. Perhaps if there were more of those type of schools it would be less competitive.

    • notconvinced

      But we can’t afford to have excess places. We’ve just come out of a major recession. The only way you could afford to do this by closing existing mainstream schools so that they could be taken over by religious groups. Then, if you divided up religious schools fairly you’d have to open up a lot more Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh schools, etc. But not all of them want or expect to be segregated from the rest of society. And we have had some serious riots and community problems when communities have been divided.

    • Miles

      Sally, have you even seen one of the supplementary information forms? It asks none of the questions you scorn so much.
      The only reason there are linked parishes to StRR is to try and ensure that local children have an opportunity to attend.

    • Sally

      Miles, yes I have. Archdeacon Cambridge’s, St James, St Marys-all but all give priority to children not just of the faith but attending a named local church.Many local parents live close to one or another Church stateschool but out of catchment for the inclusive State school.
      I know parents who desperately tried to get registered as attenders at both St Marys church (For St Mary’s primary school places) AND Holy Trinity (For ADC places.) Sundays for them were like a French farce.One church uses tick sheets. Those hoping for a St James place practically move into St James church for a few years!
      You are asked if your child has been baptised, no, not just at a church of the school’s faith but at the church named as the link school.
      No it is not just about being of the faith.Take a look at the congregation of any of the linked churches, holders of the coveted church places. Its full of desperate parents trying very hard to get known, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir , popping up in the photos.Parents have the choice to either jump through these hoops or risk their children missing out on any school anywhere near their house.They all pay council tax.
      The door only swings one way. A non religious State school may not refuse a place to a child of a religious family on the grounds that they can apply for a place in a Church school.
      There are full congregations composed of press ganged furious parents . Do parents protest? Are you kidding? Not until all of their children’s schooling has been sorted.
      Jesus said all children were welcome.Not “especially the ones who belong to a specific religion. And worship in a specific place.”

    • Walkinthepark

      Miles it is true that at the moment a pupil can gain admittance to St RR if their parents do not meet the stringent requirements to demonstrate they qualify for priority in admissions that are part of other faith schools admissions process. If you are not able to demonstrate you are Catholic enough (though of course they are not actually tests of faith but of your ability to go through the necessary hoops to get the necessary boxes ticked) to get into some other schools you could get into St RR . It is however in only it’s second year of admissions and already is exclusively for those pupils who have parents who met the conditions that give them priority on the grounds of faith, with pupils travelling from Hammersmith and Feltham. It is fair to assume the Governors based on practise in other Catholic Schools will seek to further refine them as admissions become more competitive.

      Last year for the first time the number of pupils applying exceeded the number of places in community secondary schools. It really would be more community minded if St RR acknowledged the priviledge of their site and the honourable course of action as it moves to academy status by helping out the local community with 50 /50 inclusive admissions places, as they would have had to do if the school had opened as an academy. Given that the community places at the primary school are undersubscribed, and have had to be filled with the children of parents who did not even include it as a preference, the community may even continue to, deprived of choice by the Council’s “Choice and Diversity” Education Strategy,

    • Walkinthepark

      Sorry, premature posting but the point I was making was that the Council’s Education strategy relies on a significant number of parents feeling deprived of choice and moving or going private.

  10. Pat Pending

    LBRuT have always seemed totally uninterested in Turing House despite it having a lot of local support. I hope they get something sorted soon.

    As for Richard Reynolds. I have absolutely no issue with the school wanting to do these things – they’re just acting in their own best interests like the rest of us – but I do blame the Council for going along with it. It obviously should have been an academy from the start.

    • westwickdad

      Councillor guy at the Turing House open evening said they wanted the school and needed the places ….. Shame they didn’t think about that when they were ring-fencing the places at SRR. At least 50% community places would have relieved some of the pressure. I know several people who’ve moved house because of this, or are tutoring like hell for Tiffin, just to give themselves a sniff of some of that elusive choice Lord T promised everyone.

    • sweeneyted

      What pressure ? There is spare capacity at both Hampton and Twickenham Academies.

    • LocalMum

      What pressure?! Really? There are 42 spare places at Hampton and Twickenham, they are the only spare places in the whole borough! This time last year that number was 194. There are 2 extra bulge classes leaving the primary system next year (that’s and extra 60ish kids), the numbers increase dramatically year on year after that as well. Where are they all supposed to go? Most councils try to operate with a spare capacity of 4-5% to allow for movement in and out of the borough, Richmond operates at 0%. It’s an extremely high risk strategy. One that parents are increasingly fed up with. The council knows that 2 new secondary schools are desperately needed, they need to find a site for TH ASAP.

    • westwickdad

      Both of those schools have consistently failed to win parental confidence. Their Ofsted reports make grim reading and people are crawling over each other to avoid them as a result. They would have been full years ago otherwise. But it has suited the council not to improve them too quickly as a way of managing demand downwards.

    • sweeneyted

      Ask yourself why there is such extra demand for school places, and whose or what policies are responsible. Then think have you ever voted for a party that was committed to building high-density housing developments on every little inch of available land ? There is a connection Lib Dem voters.
      BTW there is no reason why Turing House could not go on the Egerton Road site, but unfortunately the whole REEC debacle is tied up in the chicanery of a property deal to build 214 flats on Teddington riverside.

    • sweeneyted

      Both of ‘those schools’ would improve dramatically if it were not for attitudes like yours keeping the ‘middle classes’ out of them. It seems strange that selection based on faith really angers you, but you are prepared to have your children selected-out of the local academies.
      Faith selection = bad
      Social selection = OK
      Sounds like a Lib Dem voter to me.

    • notconvinced

      sweeneyted, ‘Both of ‘those schools’ would improve dramatically if’… they ditched the sponsor, which has had three schools judged by Ofsted but none of them good and one of them inadequate. Staff turnover is high – do you think 40% turnover in a year is acceptable? Read the Ofsted reports.

      You can blame the LibDems if you like but scoring political points won’t help the children who have a choice between Kunskapsskolan (Requires Improvement) and Kunskapsskolan (Requires Improvement).

    • sweeneyted

      I’m not scoring political points. It’s a fact that when in power the Lib Dems pursued an aggressive housing expansion policy. The result is the current bulge in school places. Irresponsible housing policy is at the core of this mess. In regards to the academies, you and I both know that a schools performance is determined by the social make-up of the intake, and my point to Westwickdad (who is fuming at faith based selection) is that if you believe in universal, non-selective fully comprehensive education, then you should go to the schools the state provides for you. Otherwise you are open to accusations of hypocrisy

  11. Sally

    Its hard to fill in (another) consultation about the REEC, as it seems such a big shambling mess of a proposal.
    The Richard Reynolds’ move to go to Academy status and retain the 100% discrimination rights are beneath contempt. Who in the Council would support such a cynical move to have the funds and keep the discrimination? M’Lord, good to see you.

    • The Consultation is not hard to fill in – what’s more it offers a straight yes or no question. Go the RR site and just follow the links.
      Personally I feel that any organisation – school or otherwise – that discriminates in any way is anathema.

    • nemesis

      Does that mean you think same-sex schools are an anathema?

    • westwickdad

      If Waldegrave opened its admissions to boys it would take off some pressure, but that’s about as likely as St RR opening its doors to anyone who isn’t a regular at church. Twickenham parents of boys have to contend with both, as well as two quirky Swedish academies, and the effects add up to dissatisfaction.

      People just want an ordinary decent school, like Orleans Park or Teddington. What’s so hard about that?

    • There is nothing hard – it just requires an open mind, and a civilised education policy.

    • Anonymous

      Nemesis , can you have a school exclusively for girls? Yes. Can you have a school exclusively for boys? Yes. Can you have a school exclusively for Catholics ? Yes. Can you have a school exclusively for non-Catholics ? No.

      It’s this inequality that is discriminatory. You can be ‘well I’m catholic’ when you don’t like the alternative schools, but ‘hey choosing a school is complex: faith-based? Good teachers? Good facilities? Good exam results? Etc.’ when the alternatives are good e.g. Waldergrave.

    • nemesis

      It is Canon Law that requires children of Catholics to receive a Catholic Education where possible.

    • notconvinced

      ‘It is Canon Law that requires children of Catholics to receive a Catholic Education where possible.’
      There are places in other Catholic schools – St John Bosco in Wandsworth is still only half full – and some in Hounslow may not be the top choice now that St Richard Reynolds has been set up. Catholics read Ofsted reports too.

    • westwickdad

      If its Canon Law for Catholics to go to catholic schools why do so many girls from St James RC primary take up the community places at Waldegrave (as well as the private school places at LEH/ Hampton etc) ? They are allowed a free choice, but non-Catholics can’t make the opposite choice of a place at St RR. I’m seeing kids arriving on trains for St RR, but I live within walking distance and can’t get my kid in there.

    • Autumnal

      There are only two genders, so while gender separation won’t suit everyone, at least it’s simple. So long as you provide an equivalent number of boy and girl places (which Twickenham doesn’t have) then people are generally happy.

      Also, there is no danger of a girl being allocated to a boys’ school because there aren’t enough places at the girls’ school. or vice versa,

      Religious separation is very different. If we’re going to treat people equally then there are a lot of different religions to be accommodated, as well as those who want no religion, and those that want to learn alongside people of all religions and none How do you accommodate all that and keep everyone happy? You can’t!

      Furthermore, unlike with gender, there is nothing to stop, for example, a Jew being allocated a place at a Muslim school, or an atheist being allocated a place at a Catholic School, if it is the only school in the area that has surplus places and their preferences can’t be accommodated, Stories like that are on the increase. There just aren’t enough surplus places for everyone to have their pick of an increasing number of school types.

      We need schools that can accommodate everyone.

    • westwickdad

      Also, you don’t have to go to gender identity classes once a week for two years to prove whether you’re a boy or a girl.

    • nemesis

      I fail to understand that anyone would want to send their child to an institution whose ethos they did not embrace or agree with. Likewise for that institution to embrace people who are antithetical to their ethos. Why?

    • nemesis

      I do agree that there should be as many different types of school as possible to accommodate all the different requirements but only where there is sufficient demand to make the school viable.

    • boanerges

      “in any way”? So, not by academic ability, age or where you live? Come off it

    • Autumnal

      1. Only religious selection requires an opt out from equalities legislation.

      2. Distance criteria make sense from environmental and community perspectives.

    • nemesis

      Good point boanerges. The fairest system would be for the money to follow the student not the institution. That would be Educational vouchers. This would introduce an element of competition between schools improving standards and choice. I suspect the main resistance would be from teachers unions and the State.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9912646/Give-parents-voucher-for-school-of-their-choice-ministers-told.html
      http://www.cmre.org.uk/vouchers

    • notconvinced

      The money does follow the student. Schools get funding per head,. You’re advocating subsidising private schools. There’s already a way of doing this – if there’s a shortage of places – by bringing private schools into the state system. Obviously they play by the same rules – fair admissions with no academic selection, and as new academies/free schools no more than 50% on the basis of faith. They could have done this with St Catherine’s for example, instead of using a prime site in Twickenham. But the private schools that apply to do this are the ones in dire financial straits, and tend to be a drain on local authority resources – most have been rated ‘Needs Improvement’ because they haven’t a clue about professional development, legal requirements, etc.

    • nemesis

      A faith school that is not allowed to discriminate on religious grounds is no longer a faith school in any meaningful way. Fair admissions is thus an attack on the freedom of religious worship which should be central to a Liberal society.

    • Pat Pending

      Fair admissions is an attack on freedom of religious worship? How is that so? Surely people can practice their faith freely at home or in religious buildings or other centres as they wish? There’s no requirement to have faith schools in order to have freedom of worship.

    • westwickdad

      Rubbish. It just means families can choose to go there, rather than be ‘chosen’. That is an increase in freedom, and the ethos of the school stays the same.

    • Sally

      I think you have vanished up your own argument on that one.So: fair admissions run counter to a fair society? Faith schools should receive public funds but be allowed to discriminate to their hearts contents?
      If any church school wants to discriminate against 100% of local children on religious grounds while receiving State funding, they must convince their fellow citizens that this should be paid for.

      This is not Christian. Jesus said all children were welcome to come to him.

    • nemesis

      In reply to notconvinced @ 10.55.
      I wasn’t aware of that but have found this;
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12175480. The pupil premium seems to vary a great deal depending on the LA, area and type of school with parents having little influence in the matter. I would like them to have much more influence and freedom to choose or even start their own school if necessary. If the pupil premium was equal for each child that would give parents more opportunity to do so. The premium could be added to at parents discretion in order to improve the establishment. In fact many schools already raise additional funding by holding fayres etc.
      You say I advocate subsidizing private schools. You are distorting the facts. Parents that pay for private education have already paid in taxes (very often a high proportion of tax and often make personal sacrifices) to subsidise State education from which they derive no benefit.

    • notconvinced

      The pupil premium IS equal for all those who qualify. It’s £1,300 for primary pupils, £935 for secondary school pupils, rising to £1,900 for adopted/looked after children. All schools now have the right to prioritise children on pupil premium just as they usually prioritise adopted or looked after children. St Richard Reynolds currently makes the distinction between Catholic adopted and non-Catholic adopted – hardly the fault of the child, is it?

      But that’s on top of the basic funding. There is some money that is allocated per school, e.g. start-up costs for new academies, London weighting, PFI charges, schools that are smaller than normal, split site or have a sixth form, etc. But the majority of the money comes from funding per pupil of around £5,000 (compare private school fees).

      http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20131216163513/http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/financialmanagement/schoolsrevenuefunding/a00218077/funding-settlement-2013-14

    • Sally

      Catholic adopted vs non Catholic adopted?! That is a low I wasn’t aware of!
      I tremble to look at any other distinctions-Catholic vs non Catholic looked after children? Catholic vs non Catholic disabled children? Its odious how the admission conditions they’ve been permitted discriminate in a way a State school wouldn’t be allowed for a second.And now they want further State funding? Good Heavens.

    • notconvinced

      The admissions criteria has ‘Catholic looked after children and Catholic children who have been adopted … immediately following being looked after’ at priority 1, and ‘other’ looked after children/adopted following being looked after at priority 3. That would put non-Catholics who have spent their childhood in care behind baptised Catholics who are hoping to move from Kensington, or Newcastle, for example.

      If this conversion to Academy status is purely for money, perhaps someone should tell them that the government could give them extra cash if they put all pupil premium children in the same category. I’m not sure what the rules are though. Lord True is involved in approving some of our laws, so he might have discussed an opt-out with the bishops that would allow religious schools to discriminate and still get the money.

  12. westwickdad

    November? How long have they had for this? Get your skates on El Brute. Some of us are relying on Turing House and haven’t forgiven you over Clifden Road. Seething!

    • Sally

      There are some good debates to be had about school selection etc, and I think it would suit RR officials very nicely if the argument is broadened out and so away from their actions-and the council’s support of them. But look at it. They wanted-and got-rights to discriminate against 100% of local children on religious grounds. That’s as far as I know, at least 50% more than any other faith school.Along with this came a gift at a peppercorn rent of an excellent site with good school buildings already in place.What a gift ! And the 100% waved through.

      Even the most enthusiastic council supporter might have some disquiet at the happy coincidence that the religion of the school is that of the Council leader who argued, fought for and pushed through the school proposal.Or they might think that any other religion would have received the same support from him.
      The school, having passed the necessary time period needed now want to be an academy after all with the extra funds etc this involves. Why have they waited? Change of heart? Or wanting to hang onto those 100% rights like grim death?

    • Sally

      (Sorry, I meant-than any other faith school in the Borough.)

    • My understanding is that it is Lord True’s wife Anne-Marie who is RC; he was not educated at an RC school and is probably ‘CofE’.

    • westwickdad

      I heard the Schools Minister was best man at their wedding, so maybe St RR was a belated gift.

    • nemesis

      What’s that got to do with anything?

    • Sally

      It could help explain True’s proven championship of the RR school.

    • nemesis

      Reply to Sally;
      My second cousin married a muslim. I have friends of many different religions and none. It means nothing. Unless you can demonstrate that Lord True benefits directly or has gained a material advantage from his decision (ie His children attend the school) then it is pure speculation – contemptible political point scoring.

    • notconvinced

      And his wife was on the School Admissions Forum when they were making key decisions about admissions criteria. He mentioned her and his charity in a speech in the House of Lords: ‘I have to regret that I did not make the money that we so enthusiastically give away.’

    • westwickdad

      Nemesis, if old-Etonian connections had nothing to do with anything, this would be a very different country!

      IIR, there was some speculation about whether the Clifden Rd judicial review might have had a different outcome if the DfE hadn’t intervened – offering up their timely opinion on how the ambiguous bit of the new Education Act should be interpreted. Perhaps LT’s personal network inflenced that intervention, or perhaps not. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know.

    • Anonymous

      You are right-but she is/was a trustee of a big Catholic charity, holdings I last read thirty million and he was listed as also being a trustee his website.he seems rather keen.