Turing House school site?

(139 Posts)
Shooting4themoon Sun 16-Feb-14 18:37:43

Does anyone have any further information on the sale of Imperial College London playing fields to this free school?
Our school use these grounds for all our pitch sports and haven't heard any rumours, has anyone else?

tess73 Sun 16-Feb-14 19:00:10

The headline in this weeks Richmond &Twickenham times suggested it had been finalised as the IC site in teddington, not the NPL site, but then the article didn't say it was finalised. Will see if the article is online. Confusing.

Shootingatpigeons Mon 17-Feb-14 13:35:34

Latest is on their website, which is down at the moment but saying they are in negotiation with a landlord and will post news as soon as they can www.turinghouseschool.org.uk/index.html

It is quite normal as the Dof E don't want speculation interfering with their negotiations / attracting rival bids.

That article struck me as a bit odd since Imperial completely denied it which wouldn't make sense if they were in negotiation, you would expect a bit of prevarication. Non story? RTT just got a new schools reporter and their research/ background knowledge has been a bit iffy hmm, even by RTT standards grin

straggle Mon 17-Feb-14 18:35:51

Agree, shooting, I think it's a non-story.

The research was quite thorough, actually. The reporter got statements from the Education Funding Agency, Richmond council and Imperial College that no site had been acquired yet (and from Imperial, 'nor is it about to'). The head and/or RET were the only ones not to officially comment. You'd think it would be easier to get hold of them wink

I wouldn't be surprised if there were separate plans for a temporary site, though.

Teddingtonmum1 Thu 13-Mar-14 00:11:42

Received an email tonight saying Turing house is now not being allowed to open til sept 2015 . Just wonder what they are going to so with 200 kids who've accepted places ...

Teddingtonmum1 Thu 13-Mar-14 00:12:02

To do with !'

NatashaBee Thu 13-Mar-14 01:23:31

I'm originally from the area and some friends with year 6 kids have been offered places there (at least I'm almost 100% sure they're year 6). How can they be giving out places when they haven't found a site yet?

SandWitch Thu 13-Mar-14 09:12:22

All children have been offered places elsewhere.

Turing House were running their admissions outside of the Pan London arrangements so anyone offered Turing House had that place in addition to one through the normal offers.

I would imagine that the local academies are breathing a sigh of relief given that they are still undersubscribed this year and so would have lost pupils to Turing House.

I hope they get things together for next year though.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 13-Mar-14 09:58:23

This is the information on offers this year. gallery.mailchimp.com/52b4f94950d892e4d89ac6e34/images/LBRUT_secondary_offer_2014.jpg

They are relying on the waiting lists to move enough to accommodate everyone.

Strix Thu 13-Mar-14 10:30:07

Turing house sent an email out last night to say they there opening has been deferred until 2015. WE didn't get a place anyway so won't affect us. But, I wonder how this will impact people who have already declined other offers on the basis they wanted Turing.

Appalling decision, in my view, to postpone the opening after offers were made.

SandWitch Thu 13-Mar-14 13:06:05

Shooting - I can't link as on phone, but the council press release says...
"Every young person who lives in the borough and applied to a secondary school within the borough has received an offer"

This is without Turing House places. Presumably, if Turing House opened this year, it could have meant 150 spare places elsewhere.

lightplay Thu 13-Mar-14 13:51:28

@Strix parents have until 17 March to accept/decline their offer from the Council, so if they already declined based on the Turing offer I'm pretty sure they can go back to the Council and re-accept the place they were originally offered.

I don't think the Turing House team had any say in this deferral, looks like they were forced to do it.

lightplay Thu 13-Mar-14 13:53:18

ps. does anyone know last offered distances for Teddington, Waldegrave, and Grey Court?

Strix Thu 13-Mar-14 14:30:45

I don't know the exact last distance. But, we live in Whitton and did not get into Waldegrave (or Turing for that matter).

So this doesn't really effect us. But, I sypathise with many people (especially boys in Strawberry Hill) who will be effected.

And it seems a bit suspicious to me that this decision was made almost two weeks after offers were made. I wonder if the Twickenham Academy didn't fill its spaces?

Shootingatpigeons Thu 13-Mar-14 15:37:42

Sandwich if you looked at my link they have clearly overoffered on the PAN but with 32% disappearing off the waiting lists last year they clearly feel confidant they will be OK.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 13-Mar-14 15:47:36

And there were 200 additional applications over last year, more than enough to fill a new school without affecting the Academies.

SandWitch Thu 13-Mar-14 16:17:20

I would imagine most people would agree that Turing House would have a negative impact on the academies, at least for the next couple of years.

Friends of mine who have applied did so specifically to try and avoid Twickenham Academy.
Parents are much more likely to pick Turing over TA than say, Waldegrave.

There is of course nothing wrong with having this choice, it's to be welcomed and I'm sure that there will be lots of very disappointed parents.

I guess the question now, is that given TH is not an option, whether everyone who has an offer and wants a place gets one in September, or if over offering (which they do every year) backfires.

mary21 Thu 13-Mar-14 16:22:39

Looks like quite a few were allocated HA and TA that/didn't put it on their CAF . Bet all these were definatly banking on Turing . + looks like Orleans is over Pan by 16 already.
Mind you kids from our road have got Orleans this year and last year they only got in from waiting list.

mary21 Thu 13-Mar-14 16:29:22

Certainly if it was a year we were doing secondary transfer. If I had offers from TA and Turing I would have gone Turing. Knowing if it was awful the would probably be space at TA to bail out too. If I had Orleans and Turing I would go Orleans as a safe bet. Same Waldegrave and Turing. Heard Turing was very popular with Stanley and Trafalgar kids/parents. Most of which will have TA.HA And Teddington + Waldegrave for girls.
Interesting St RR full this year.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 13-Mar-14 17:42:19

sandwitch It all depends on the attraction / deterrance of schools and their offering. It isn't so simple that if parents have no other offer they will go to the Academies, some people will go to any lengths if they think a school isn't right for their child. I have known parents with one child in a school in Isleworth and the other in Clapham. And lots did think Turing would be the right school for their child, not least because it is focused on serving the local community, and are very frustrated.

Lovely post on the local thread quoting the Head of Governors at RPA saying to reply early as they have offered over PAN and they are seeing applicants from the local community in greater numbers than ever before. It is good that all the hard work and positive word of mouth is finally paying off.

ikkenu Thu 13-Mar-14 20:04:39

They always over offer, even the popular schools - every year. And I think it depends on the governors as to how many. But there were still 194 vacancies in the borough last year. RPA seem very eager to fill up with 250 offers though!

lightplay Teddington looks like 2365.
Waldegrave 1828/5545 or something. Can't see Grey Court - 2681?

lightplay Thu 13-Mar-14 20:44:05

thanks, we're definitely in the Teddington catchment area but we're not in Waldegrave. who knows how this is all going to change in a couple of years though... for now I'm watching with interest.

the rumoured site for Turing House is currently the Imperial College sport field near Collis. that's interesting for us as we live very close to it. I hope they get it.

Strix Thu 13-Mar-14 20:47:31

Turing might have a negative impact on the academies, but a positive I be on the students who got to go there. Shame it is not the students who take priority. shock

ikkenu Thu 13-Mar-14 20:53:14

I read that RTT article - but Imperial College denied that it would ever happen. Maybe the legal bods have officially turned it down. I wonder what Waldegrave would have done with the admission point right on top of its school? Increase its proportion from Area B perhaps?

Strix Thu 13-Mar-14 21:08:18

Waldegrave obviously didn't need to widen the catchment as Whitton still not getting in. We put Waldegrave first and didn't get it.

In fact, we got a school in Hounslow (our second choice). So whilst we live in Richmond Borough we will not be taking a Richmond borough place. We certainly won't be going to TA (thank God).

ikkenu Thu 13-Mar-14 21:50:52

Yes but Turing's applications weren't taken into account when Waldegrave offered its places - they had a completely separate process that meant all their successful applicants also had an offer through the LA. So the catchments look more or less the same as last year (although Grey Court's has shrunk the most).

Shootingatpigeons Fri 14-Mar-14 09:07:25

ikkenu the Council over offering has essentially put the catchments at where they would have been at some point in the process of waiting lists moving (net of the effect of late applicants moving into catchment). In previous years they have not overoffered so those getting in on waiting lists would have probably widened the catchments from those currently shown on the maps based on initial allocations on the website, though again there might be some impact from late applicants, certainly a few moved into catchment to get Orleans last year. Certainly with 200 additional applicants then it is counter intuitive that catchments would have stayed the same if they had not over offered.

sandwitch from what I gather some people did want Turing over eg Waldegrave, because they wanted coed, or because they had a younger sibling who was a boy and were thinking ahead. And some were won over by the Head at the parent's evenings to want Turing over Orleans as well. So there are a lot of upset and devastated parents. RTT article www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/11076083.Parents_devastated_as_Turing_House_School_opening_pushed_back_a_year/?ref=var_0.The comments are interesting and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TuringParents2014

SandWitch Fri 14-Mar-14 09:18:52

Shooting - you seem to think I am against the opening of Turing House. I'm not. At all.

Of course there will be really disappointed parents. If course there will be some who may have chosen Turing House over established, popular schools. I think most would agree though that, if the Academies are under subscribed, the opening of Turing House would have most effected them.
Particularly this year.

Despite this, I really wish nothing but success for Turing House.

Teddingtonmum1 Fri 14-Mar-14 09:26:01

We live next to collis and didn't get an place from Turing house.

Shootingatpigeons Fri 14-Mar-14 09:42:10

* sandwitch* wasn't assuming anything, just wanting to represent an accurate picture of the environment faced by the parents I know who are now campaigning to get the decision overturned, or at least for the school to open in 2015 with a Year 8.

Strix Fri 14-Mar-14 09:52:00

According to the Guardian article there is a meeting today between Parents and Vince Cable. I would like to help, if I can. I think it is outrageous that parents and students can be treated this way at the drop of a hat.

Why is the temporary location suddenly a problem?
Why was this decision made after offers went out?

I suspect it has more do with forcing the children into bad schools in order to better serve the borough. However, I believe quite strongly that schools exist to serve the students, and not the LEA.

I think this is a horrible turn of events, and puts into question all future free schools. There is a Green School for Boys being proposed not so far away in Isleworth (Hounslow). If it gets the "go ahead" should parents believe the government? They don't have a site yet either.

And maybe Lord Nash could explain why Turing House wasn't given the Clifden Road site?

Shootingatpigeons Fri 14-Mar-14 10:17:16

Strix I think Nick Whitfield the Education Officer would have been firmly behind Turing because it was going to have a Primary as well which is really desperately needed in Twickenham / Teddington (mind you it was when he allowed St RR to get away with only 10 community places hmm) If you look at the comments on the RTT article there is a more likely explanation. "Stephen Knight is wrong to say the school could not be ready in time. A temporary site was available, and would have accommodated the school until the permanent site was ready. RET have successfully opened 4 other schools on similar timescales, and other groups are doing the same.

The minister's decision was due to just one thing - that the permanent site had not been secured. Financially that is a risk, because if a school is in temporary accommodation, with an obvious deadline, the EFA's experience is that the cost of the permanent site rises. They have recently been criticised by the Audit Commission for overpaying on permanent sites in those circumstances, so there is now a new policy in place which prevents it."

I think part of the problem may have been all the Chinese whispers that were going around on sites which were mobilising opposition /rattling those who were selling and promised confidentiality. Although you can't rule out Lord True whispering in ears etc., he has been very singleminded about which parents get the benefit of the legacy of his administrations Education strategy hmm

If you want to get involved I linked to the Facebook page, I am sure they will welcome all support.

Strix Fri 14-Mar-14 10:43:19

Yes, I followed your link. Thank you.

We aren't going to Turing even if it does open. But, I find myself outraged on behalf of those who have had this promise retracted in the eleventh hour.

My oldest child is in year 6, and so I have just gone through the senior school application process for the first time. I found it such a stressful and emotional roller coaster. I can imagine how all those parents banking on Turing must feel.

So, on principal, I would like to help if I can by adding my voice to opposing this horrendous U-turn.

Perhaps Turing should look for a more welcoming Borough... Hounslow maybe?

lightplay Fri 14-Mar-14 12:10:37

@Teddingtonmum: I think you did not receive an offer because you are far from the admission point - this year Sep 2014 admissions to Turing were based on a 'virtual admisssion point' which is somewhere near Waldegrave. Starting next year it will be a combination between the admission point and the actual site. Well, that was the plan anyway.

Not sure how this is all going to change now.

lightplay Fri 14-Mar-14 12:20:30

here's the link:

http://www.turinghouseschool.org.uk/admissionspoint.php

Shootingatpigeons Fri 14-Mar-14 12:27:18

And I gather that there was/is 200 on the waiting list after the 150 places were allocated.

ikkenu Fri 14-Mar-14 20:29:53

shooting 'In previous years they have not overoffered'

Was trying to find links for this and found: FOI request (c) - mainly at schools operating on distance rather than links. 20 each at Christ's/Grey Court in 2011, even 24 at Waldegrave in 2010. The governors would have to agree. In RPA's case they were so undersubscribed last year that they would have the space and could make up the funding by taking an extra class over their PAN if necessary. Would be good for the school.

Benjy73 Fri 14-Mar-14 21:31:37

Strix, the school is needed to serve the identified area of need which is fast emerging in the central Twickenham, north Teddington and Hampton area and it's inception has been driven by local parents who want a good, mixed, inclusive secondary school - so Houslow would not be an option.

ikkenu Sat 15-Mar-14 07:18:38

Have found another link for 2012 and 2013 - 85 over offered in 2012. Not so many in 2013 - only 7 - and two schools undersubscribed, although still 13 over at Orleans Park for example. But over 200 vacancies by September.

So they do over offer every year. But if some of the RPA offers were to Twickenham pupils that wouldn't be very fair.

ikkenu Sat 15-Mar-14 08:19:01

Going back to the list of over offers this year, there were 34 extra offered at TA/HA and 60 at Waldegrave, Teddington and Orleans. So that is a lot more than usual but mostly at the more popular schools. Which at least shows a willingness of local schools to help out, and in a fair way. They can't withdraw offers but maybe waiting lists may be slower.

I think the Turing parents should shout loudly if they have been offered RPA though because their figures are more unusual.

Shootingatpigeons Sat 15-Mar-14 08:52:54

ikkenu yes I was wrong to say that they have not over offered in the past but they have over offered by 10% more this year, 236 more offers than places. The question is have they done that because they are confidant about the numbers going private/moving /finding other out of borough alternatives (and there is a debate to be had about whether parents do that willingly or because they feel forced or because they didn't want the bad publicity of people having no offers especially given the debate over the Clifden site or because they expected 150 places to be taken up at Turing? www.richmondinclusiveschools.org.uk/files/view/useful-data/2014SecondaryOffers.pdf

Nennypops Sun 16-Mar-14 22:36:49

I think the problem is not so much that the places were withdrawn, but that they were ever offered in the first place. I've never understood how free schools are ever sanctioned when they haven't got premises lined up - there have been a number of cases where similar problems have arisen in other areas. I also wonder about the amount of public money this wastes. They must have recruited staff who will have to be made redundant, which is grossly unfair on them, or else the staff will have virtually nothing to do for a year. More taxpayers' money down the drain which could have been used to fund maintained schools properly.

BayJay Sun 16-Mar-14 22:57:49

Nennypops, the places were offered because at the time everything was on track. Nobody will be made redundant, because the staff recruitment advertisements had not yet been issued.

The free school process has many issues, but it's the only way to set up new schools under current policy. I think its important to separate criticism of the policy from criticism of individual schools, especially in cases where they are very much wanted and needed by their local communities.

ikkenu Mon 17-Mar-14 10:16:37

Where I have most sympathy for the Turing parents is that there isn't a lot of choice - especially with one sponsor running two schools, neither of which are filling up completely. Maybe in the long term they should just put the schools together on one site, build a few more classrooms, and then there would be a site free. I don't know who could make that happen, though.

Strix Mon 17-Mar-14 11:11:47

These parents (and many more) have worked very hard so their children could access quality and affordable education, only to have it ripped away from them unjustly.

The process for all free school is that they get the go ahead, and then they get funding to go find a site. The government is punishing 150 children for a process the government requires. Outrageous. I am convinced this has more to do with filling places at the two failing school than it does the children's education.

It seems to me that the government has lost sight of the fact that the schools exist to serve the children and not the other way around.

Strix Mon 17-Mar-14 11:23:11

We, the undersigned, petition the council to request that the Department of Education reverses its decision so that Turing House School can open in temporary premises this September.

Turing House school was due to open in September 2014 and has secured temporary premises. The school has 362 applications and has issued 150 offers. Very late in the day, the Department for Education has deferred the opening for a year.

Turing House school was started by a group of local parents and will be an 11-18 school with an emphasis on science. Secondary school places are urgently needed in West London. The school is ready to go but needs approval from the Department to take the next step. If this does not happen in March 2014, it will not open in September 2014. The delay and loss of confidence will make it difficult for the school to open next year as well.

www.richmond.gov.uk/home/council_government_and_democracy/petitions/received_petitions.htm?mgl=mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx&ID=82&RPID=16455880&HPID=16455880

lightplay Mon 17-Mar-14 11:48:28

Signed and shared!

Strix Mon 17-Mar-14 13:17:16

They need 1000 signatures. This is a very tall order. I hope people who have not chosen Turing will still sign up.

Nennypops Mon 17-Mar-14 15:09:54

Bayjay, I wasn't criticising Turing, clearly they acted lawfully. What I was criticising is a system which even allows a free school application to get past first base if it doesn't have demonstrably viable premises set up. As I say, this isn't the first disaster and an awful lot of families have been left high and dry.

I would however be astonished if Turning hasn't recruited at least some staff. How, for instance, were they going to answer parents' questions about teaching methods, the curriculum etc without at least senior staff in place? We know, anyway, that they've recruited a head who isn't going to have an awful lot to do for the next year. I would certainly hesitate long and hard before sending my child to a school which was just saying it had no staff but hoped to get some within the next six months or so. Even more so if they were also going to end up in something like office premises on a temporary basis.

BayJay Mon 17-Mar-14 15:44:03

Nennypops, TH has a headteacher designate, which means he has been appointed but isn't in post yet. He still has a day-job.

You might be surprised at how much of the working hours put into setting up a free school is pro-bono. Just like Governors in open schools, most of the people involved in groups like this are working for free.

Nevertheless, the team have done a very good job at answering parents' questions about teaching methods, the curriculum etc, by email, at open evenings and through visits to local primaries. If you take the time to look you'll find the website very informative.

I'm guessing you're not local?

BayJay Mon 17-Mar-14 15:47:31

... but hoped to get some within the next six months or so

This is the time of year that all schools recruit new staff. The adverts were due to go out shortly.

Strix Mon 17-Mar-14 15:54:50

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

BayJay Mon 17-Mar-14 16:08:20

Strix, TH has always been clear about the need for people to support all of our local schools, because all of the places are needed, so I don't think some of those comments are particularly helpful.

Strix Mon 17-Mar-14 16:23:12

Parents are supporting Turing because it keeps them out of the school places they don't want. And why not? Why should some children be subject to a lesser education because they have a substandard post code?

What we need is more QUALITY school places. If a school cannot perform, it should be shut down and not propped up, destroying children's futures along the way. The council/government should be ashamed of themselves. Putting schools before the children they are there to serve... seriously?

BayJay Mon 17-Mar-14 16:32:50

Strix, some parents may think that way, but many others are well aware of the bulge of students coming through the system, and the need for all of our schools to provide quality school places to accommodate them. The addition of TH doesn't change that, it just takes some of the pressure off temporarily. Another new school is still needed in 2017.

Strix Mon 17-Mar-14 16:41:32

But, children in Twickenham are free to go to Twickenham Academy. It is not oversubscribed. And it's not hard to get to. Just hop on the H22. Or the 481 from Teddington. Yet, no one wants to go there. The loss of Turing will force them. The school will benefit and the children will suffer.

BayJay Mon 17-Mar-14 17:08:25

Strix, it may not be oversubscribed at the moment, but there is a bulge coming through that is so big that it is forecast to be soon full, even with TH.

mary21 Mon 17-Mar-14 17:10:21

Going back a few years parents from Archdeacon, Trafalger and Stanley knew their children would get Orleans or Teddington under the link school system . Indeed when the current year 6,s stated primary they would have done. Over the last few years with shrinking catchments more didn't and indeed quite a few from Trafalgar got TA. Many fro Archdeacon and Trafalgar sat private exams as back up. Once the link school system went even more from these primaries didn't get Orleans or Teddington. No doubt more went private. This year though they would have thought they were safe. They had a good exciting alternative. No doubt less people sat private exams for schools they couldn't really afford as back up. Many of these from say Stained road will be very upset. They started a primary thinking they would get a particular secondary. That option went and now hey have lost Turing.
BTW I do think the link system was wrong. And I am not damping the academies but I can understand the disapointment. Should read damimg!

Nennypops Mon 17-Mar-14 17:18:41

Bayjay, I am local. I know this is the time all schools recruit staff. However, all schools are not recruiting their entire staffing body at once! I just wouldn't fancy putting my child into a school with no track record, where I haven't met any of the staff and they haven't even been recruited yet, and I have no idea where it is even going to be located. I would be happier about it if the school had been thought through to the extent that there was a commitment in terms of the premises, and if at least senior staff, including heads of each subject department, had been identified and put in place. Again, I know that is how free schools work, I just think it is a ridiculous way to set up any school and is symptomatic of a clearly defective system which has led directly to disasters like Al Madinah.

As a side issue, I would be really unhappy if TH ends up on the Imperial College field, because that is valuable open space which shouldn't be lost.

BayJay Mon 17-Mar-14 17:29:39

Nennypops, all new schools recruit in the same way. SRR did the same last year.

Don't forget its only a single year group, so only around 10 staff would be recruited at first. Large secondaries recruit similar numbers each year.

lightplay Mon 17-Mar-14 17:38:10

Regarding the

lightplay Mon 17-Mar-14 17:42:07

Regarding the Imperial College site, that is a rumour for now. And it's not a public open space... and Teddington has plenty of sports fields and green open spaces, public and private. I live next to that site and my impression is that it's underused.

Nennypops Mon 17-Mar-14 22:26:41

10 staff? Including all subject teachers, headteacher, SENCO, administrators, welfare staff, teaching assistants, IT assistants?

And whether it's two teachers, 10, or 100, the fact remains that they have not apparently recruited any of the staff who they planned would help to run the school in September, so parents have to take it 100% on trust. Of course, as a free school they don't have to recruit qualified staff. That wouldn't exactly reassure me.

Nennypops Mon 17-Mar-14 22:33:09

Lightplay, I never said the Imperial ground was public open space. The fact is that it's open space, and I can't really see why it should be sacrificed to an independent school. Amongst other matters, it's overlooked by sheltered housing the residents of which aren't exactly going to prefer spending their last years looking at construction works and a large building or buildings instead of green fields. The access arrangements are also hardly conducive.

BayJay Mon 17-Mar-14 22:39:51

Nenny, you haven't been to any of the meetings. If you had, then you would be more likely to feel reassured, and it would have at least given you the opportunity to ask questions. Nevertheless there is a lot of information on the website if you're interested in finding out more, e.g. here.

lightplay Mon 17-Mar-14 22:41:40

TH is not a fee-paying independent school, not sure what you meant by independent.

As for the site I have nothing to add.

lightplay Mon 17-Mar-14 22:43:06

Ps. My last message was for nennypops.

BayJay Mon 17-Mar-14 22:45:07

Nennypops, whichever site is used, proper planning consultations will take place.

TH isn't an independent school. It is an academy, like all the other community secondaries in the borough, which have all either been converted or transformed into academies in recent years. Free schools are just new academies. It is the only way to set up new community schools under current policy, and it is a much wanted and needed new school.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 18-Mar-14 01:15:16

Nennypops Unlike St RR? It was also an "independent school" by your definition, certainly independent of the local community in terms of exclusivity. It opened at short notice as a result of real question over it's legality and then was criticised by the planning committee for developing it's plans without any dialogue with local residents, resulting in the siting the Reception all day outdoor play area,in the face of opposition from the Church Housing Trust, adjacent to a house they run for vulnerable people emerging from various sorts of institutional care. Turing House , whatever site, will certainly have to work within sensible planning guidelines, and would want to because it is an important part of our community, in relation to it's neighbours in a way St RR has not had to, and has taken full advantage of. It has even put aside sensible measures that the College had in place in consideration of it's neighbours.

I have no wish to awaken old political divides, St RR is open now and educating children whose positive educational experience should be at the centre of this debate, but opening new schools in a crowded suburb is always going to be difficult. Turing House is needed even more now by our community, this year the Council have had to make 236 more offers than there are places and this is just the start of the pupil bulge. What exactly do you propose to meet that need?

vickylu1 Tue 18-Mar-14 07:52:26

Hi everyone,

Read through the thread.

My daughter was offered places at both Turing House and Waldegrave.

Weirdly, you may think, we had our hearts set on Turing House.

Lord Nash and the DfE allowed Turing House School to make 150 offers to the 362 children that applied on Monday 3rd March.

Just over a week later (Wednesday 12th March), without any consultation with parents, Lord Nash goes ahead with a decision to postpone Turing House School over a lack of permanent site, despite a temporary site that is/was viable for 3-4 years!

I, personally, applied on my daughter's behalf, fully aware that the school would start on a temporary site and remain there for at least 2-3 years. I saw from other Russell Education Trust Schools that this model had worked for them in the past and felt confident that all would be well.

I have written to local councillors, Lord Nash, Vince Cable and Michael Gove regarding my concern over the postponement of the school.

I have also signed the e-petition on the Richmond borough website. I am concerned that 1,000 signatures is a rather big ask when 362 families applied but 150 were offered places. I ask anyone who agrees that the school should be allowed to open as planned, this September, take the time to sign their support on this.

This will ensure the school opens and will hopefully kick some academies into gear with the competition.

Link to the Turing Parents 2014 Facebook campaign:

https://touch.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1413078015617609&refid=0

Also search #Turing14 on Twitter.

Even if you aren't interested in Turing House, I've got a Waldegrave place up for grabs if you do help Turing House open! ;)

Nennypops Tue 18-Mar-14 12:51:08

Turing House, if it opens, will undoubtedly be an independent school. That is the legal definition of both academies and free schools - they aren't a separate entity along with maintained schools and independent schools. Have a look at this

Obviously if TH finds a site it will have to go through the planning process: I did not say otherwise. I simply expressed my view that the Imperial College fields should not be that site.

Shooting: my view is that the need for school places in the areas should be met through maintained provision. I am well aware that that is not legally possible at the moment, but that is as a result of the political choices that the government has made. We are already seeing some pretty disastrous consequences resulting from the pursuit of that agenda, both in terms of the schools that have failed and the fact that a number of academies and free schools are blatantly breaking the law on a daily basis (for example in imposing unlawful exclusions in relation to pupils with SEN). I am appalled at the amounts of public money being poured into this whilst current maintained schools are allowed to crumble away for lack of basic maintenance - look at what was wasted on the ludicrous Phoenix proposal, for instance.

As I say, I have no doubt of the good intentions of those behind the Turing proposal and that they intend to follow the law. But the fact is that the defective political thinking that lies behind the whole free school/academy agenda is a direct cause of the current situation where 150 children who thought they were going to one school in September suddenly find, 6 months beforehand, that that is not possible, and I am sure no-one thinks that is desirable.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 18-Mar-14 13:02:42

nennypops Like it or loathe it though the Free School process is the only way to gain community places for our children. And they are desperately needed which is why the community should get behind a group of parents who have made a considerable sacrifice to work through a challenging process to deliver what our community needs. The Council will not deliver any school places ahead of the additional school needed on the Egerton site in 2017, partly because they included a Free School starting in 2013 in the forecasts. The Free School application for that put in by their partnership is not approved yet. So with over 200 additional applicants this year and 35% more by 2017 it really is essential Turing is delivered now, whatever anyone's principles are on the matter.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 18-Mar-14 13:13:45

Also pragmatically whatever the theoretical advantages and disadvantages of LA versus D of E control many parents feel that LBRUT have consistently for decades let parents down in terms of providing sufficient secondary places in good schools. Whatever the drawbacks of the Free School process at least it provided a prospect of a new school that actually met the needs and desires of parents for an inclusive coed school on the model of the oversubscribed academies so that fewer parents felt the need to move, go private or find out of borough schools. Many of us who have lived in the black holes of good school provision experienced the way in which the communities that we have became part of during anti natal, nursery and primary years break up as a result, really welcomed a proposal, whatever the politics behind the process, that would prevent that happening to parents in Teddington, Twickenham and Fulwell in future.

Strix Tue 18-Mar-14 13:40:03

Free schools / academies provide a mechanism for the funding to go directly to the school and stop the wasteful beaurocracy that is the LEA from creaming off the top. That, in my view is a good thing. Waldegrave, Orleans Park, Turing, and The Green School are all academies. They do an excellent job and it is right that the money go to them directly.

Strix Tue 18-Mar-14 13:46:51

What concerns me most about this is that peoples trust has been abused here. What will happen when the "go ahead" is announced next year for Turing or other free schools? Can parents really sign up to a school in confidence, or might the powers that be just stop it dead in it's tracks when the doors are due to open.

I would like to understand what information could have possibly come to light for this decision to be made after the offers went out? Th eonly thing I can think of is that the borough/lea would have had time to guage which schools were going to be full.

I would be interested to know what people who had offers for Turing are going to have to do now?

Take a Waldegrave place? A Teddington place? Go private? Settle for a school they don't want. Move.

Nennypops Tue 18-Mar-14 18:56:13

hmm at the suggestion that the LA creams money for wasteful bureaucracy from maintained schools. Have you been swallowing Gove's propaganda? As a primary school governor I see no evidence of that; but I have seen considerable economies of scale in terms of central provision of things like SEN support, or I did before the cuts took effect. If every school in the area becomes an academy all of that is likely to disappear and, as all the evidence is that academies don't want to put their hands in their pockets for that sort of thing, the most vulnerable pupils will be adversely affected - as is already happening in other areas.

What is interesting is that the admissions process is still being run by the council, and the academies are all presumably paying for that. If the council has any sense, it is pricing this at a profit-making rate. What is the point of just adding an extra layer of bureaucracy?

The DfE has had to release figures showing that it has had to pay millions to various private businesses in relation to the academies programme, for instance for legal advice from private firms charging in the region of �400 an hour. How is that not creaming money from the system?

Waldegrave, Orleans and The Green School were doing an excellent job long before they became academies.

I agree that this entire mess is another reason why I would never sign up to a school which is not already up and running.

BayJay Tue 18-Mar-14 19:06:07

Nenny, you're a little out of date. Richmond has been a commissioning council for quite some time, with its school services (including admissions, SEN services, etc) being bought in by schools via a Service Catalogue. It is in the process of going further, with the creation of Achieving for Children, a joint social enterprise with Kingston Borough.

Maintained schools and academies, and free schools can, and do, purchase services from the council in this way.

Academies, including free schools, have the freedom to purchase services elsewhere if they want to.

Richmond is trailblazing on this, and may end up selling services to schools in neighbouring boroughs too.

ikkenu Tue 18-Mar-14 20:45:13

I thought RPA had to buy its services through AET's central services company so it may not have the choice of going for whatever the council offers? Academies finances have been under the spotlight recently:

www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10567498/Academies-paying-millions-to-businesses-linked-to-their-directors.html

BayJay Tue 18-Mar-14 21:27:15

They will get some services from AET and some from the LA.

TuringParents2014 Tue 18-Mar-14 22:18:12

Hello
We are a group of parents who are campaigning for the opening of Turing House School in Sept 2014. There are lots of views and thoughts about this school, Free Schools, Academies etc. For us it is just about the school that we were promised, opening in September this year. We would welcome your support. Sign our petition: http://www.richmond.gov.uk/received_petitions.

Nennypops Wed 19-Mar-14 06:54:39

Bayjay, I was talking about the pre-commissioning era.

BayJay Wed 19-Mar-14 07:15:13

Yes, well, in the circumstances local people have put pragmatism, and children, and community, over politics, put their heads together and got on with creating a school that is much wanted and needed, and which will be popular with parents, while trying to keep as many people as possible happy. It hasn't been easy, but, until this latest issue with the deferral, it has been very successful.

Strix Wed 19-Mar-14 17:31:00

Turing has lots of great plans. And plenty of parents signed up to them. Even if you don't want your children to go to Turing it may help you child get into the school you do want by relieve a bit of the overcrowding.

We applied to Turing, didn't get in. But still I would like to see Touring open this year because:
1. This best for the children who do want to go there
2. Pulling the approval so very late in the day is plain unfair and so far unjustified
3. The RET has a proven track record
4. A schools location is somewhat important but less important than some other factors which Turing is well on top of (engineering, science, music focus, enthusiastic and overwhelming support from the community, etc.)

The alternatives for the children who don't get into one of the good senior schools in the area are indeed going to leave them at a significant disadvantage for their next step in education. I won't name names. But do have a look round the OFSTED reports and league tables.

I cannot think of a single benefit to the children of not allowing Turing to open.

Again, we didn't get in. But, still, I want to see them open for the sake of those who be able to go there in 2014.

bluestars Wed 19-Mar-14 19:13:56

I'm hearing rumours that a permanent site possibility is the open land on Uxbridge Road near Twickenham Golf Course. It's designated as Metropolitan Open Land and owned by the LA. This would have some significant planning issues but in principle could be used for Turing House. Sounds like a decent option...

wannaBanana Wed 19-Mar-14 20:23:13

Is that the bit behind Amida? I heard that too. There's definitely a school in Islington that was built on MOL. I think they said that it was the only site available and managed to get it through.

Benjy73 Wed 19-Mar-14 21:19:21

That would be a great location, would be good to know more about it, anyone got any other details on the Hampton site?

wannaBanana Wed 19-Mar-14 23:32:06

If it's owned by the council, would it still need to be kept confidential? It seems to be spreading pretty rapidly - 3 people have said it to me now.

wannaBanana Thu 20-Mar-14 06:01:18

I was right about the Islington School.... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashmount_Primary_School. Not ideal, but not surprising when there's so much pressure for land for schools. Councils are going to have to make some difficult decisions. Pretty sure Christs is building its new 6th form block on MOL too.

Strix Thu 20-Mar-14 08:07:17

Well let's hope it need not be confidential. It's certainly not now.

But, if it is true, that would be a really good location, right in the hearts of where it is needed, especially for boys. But it would also be good for girls who either don't get into Waldegrave, or actually prefer Turing.

Fingers crossed we can this school open in 2014. It will harm no one. Please sign the petition if you live in the borough! 150 year 6 children out there need you.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 20-Mar-14 08:38:51

As it is owned by the Council then the problems with publicity increasing the price or awaking sensitivities won't apply. The only thing is that Councillor Samuels who seems to be able to swing a lot of weight in the administration, got behind a campaign by local dogwalkers after the Amida tried to close the gates at night and stood by a Council undertaking that leasing the land (to Amida) would not lead to further development / the land being closed to the public. I hope he recognises that the dogwalkers were focused on the golf course. I am sure everyone would welcome something useful being done for the community with that scrubland, providing there was still access to walk through it to the golf course.

ikkenu Thu 20-Mar-14 14:25:37

The Islington school was rebuilt because the old one was falling to pieces. It wasn't a new school but a council-run one, and Islington was going to use the old site for social housing. But a free school provider wants to take over the old building:

www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/the-middleclass-parents-dream-school-and-a-battle-for-an-asbestosriddled-site-9149092.html

nlondondad Thu 20-Mar-14 16:39:43

@ wannabanan and Ikkenu.

The Islington School "built on Metropolitan Open Land" is Ashmount Primary School, which was moved from its old building on Hornsey Lane a distance of half a mile to the new site at Crouch Hill Park, this just moved the school it did not create any additional provision for the area. It is not a "new school" but a new building.

Getting permission to build on Metropolitan Open Land was extremely difficult. It had to get planning consent from the Islington planning process, AND from the Mayor of London, AND from the Secretary of State for Local Government.

It could only be obtained because:-

1. No Metropolitan Open Land was lost. This was possible because there were two existing buildings on the site, dating back to before it was MOL, both in poor condition - a nursery that was wearing out, and a community centre actually derelict and in very poor repair. The new buildings COULD NOT occupy a "footprint" larger than the old, otherwise the project would have failed at that point.

2. Having passed the first hurdle - the project would not cause the loss of a single square metre of MOL - it then had to demonstrate that it was of exceptional quality, which it did by being the first "carbon zero" primary school in the UK. in fact to make success in the application more likely some extra land adjoining Crouch Hill Park was added to it, so the amount of open land has actually increased slightly over what it was. There were also planning conditions inserted to ensure, for example, that the school building is available for community use outside school hours.

In party political terms the planning application was put forward by a Liberal Democrat Council, with the (then) Labour opposition in support, agreed by a Conservative Mayor of London , Boris Johnston, and further approved by a Labour Secretary of State.

The whole thing took AGES.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 20-Mar-14 17:41:32

They have ages, they have a temporary site that will be suitable for a few years. The site itself is adjacent to extensive open land on a landscaped golf course, but it is scrubland that is used for nothing but anti social behaviour and access to the golf course and a David Lloyd Health Club which leases the MOL land (and could potentially share complimentary sports facilities), and who have already been granted planning permission for an extension and open air swimming pool on some of that land.

Doubtless there would be a lengthy planning process but that is true for any site for the school, and it is desperately needed. There is absolutely no argument that Richmond needs two new secondary school for a pupil cohort that will have increased by 35% in the next five years. Something has to give somewhere.

wannaBanana Thu 20-Mar-14 17:41:50

Well if it takes ages, our lot better start getting on with it!

wannaBanana Thu 20-Mar-14 17:52:48
mary21 Thu 20-Mar-14 17:55:52

In many ways it sounds like a great location. My big concern about locating it there would be its very close to the borough boundary and the borough could loose lots of the vital places on distance as soon as they get them.
But we'll wait and see. So far I have heard NPL. Fulwell golf course , Gregg's bakery, imperial sports ground now back of Amid a!

wannaBanana Thu 20-Mar-14 18:02:27

But isn't that where the admissions point comes in? I thought the plan was to keep that, and split the admissions between that and the school site.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 20-Mar-14 18:04:09

mary It has a notional admissions point agreed with the LA and DofE just off the Green. Whilst it is foreseen there would be a shift to some places being on distance from the final site, there is no reason why that cannot be set in a way that makes sure it continues to serve the areas of greatest in-borough need.

wannaBanana Thu 20-Mar-14 18:04:39

Just checked the website -
"For 2015 admissions and beyond we expect to split places between the Admissions Point and the school site itself. The split will be determined once we know the school's permanent location, and we will publish full details of that for consultation at the appropriate time."

Strix Thu 20-Mar-14 18:31:03

I think back of Amida (now David Lloyd) and fullwell golf course are the same location. And, David Lloyd has already built its (very small) open air pool.

If the school goes in Hampton I think it will get a lot of Sunbury applications. I don't actually have a problem with this. Why does Turing have to be for Richmond only?

JaneKnight33 Thu 20-Mar-14 19:44:41

There is still a permanent site that is a viable option: the Fulwell/Amida site. The council own it so they should be able to smooth the way in terms of selling and planning.
Think local councillors need to be made aware that there is something that they can do to help their constituents just before an election.

wannaBanana Thu 20-Mar-14 20:34:38

Shooting, wasn't it Cllr Samuels who was trying to get the Waldegrave catchment extended into Hampton a few years back? I'd have thought he'd be right on the case with something like this. Anyone know which ward it's in?

Shootingatpigeons Thu 20-Mar-14 21:12:45

But then it was Councillor Samuels who rode to the rescue of dogwalkers and persuaded Amida to reopen the gates to the golf course at night. www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/9595197.Golf_club_draws_criticism_after_it_shuts_gates_after_vandalism/r/?ref=rss I think he invoked some undertaking that public access would be preserved? So may feel he should stand by his word. A mistake given the balance between the need for school places and the reality that most dog walkers would be perfectly happy as long as they still had access to the golf course.

Strix Fri 21-Mar-14 12:18:20

If there are any David Lloyd members who wish to support this petition, I think a couple of us will be at David Lloyd Hampton on Saturday afternoon. Feel free to come along and help us get some signatures.

wannaBanana Sat 22-Mar-14 07:06:32

Managed to find the planning docs for when Amida built their outdoor swimming pool on the MOL. There were some objections, but they managed to get it through: www2.richmond.gov.uk/plandata2/ShowCaseFile.aspx?appNumber=11/1677/FUL.

Seems to me that if private sports centres can build on MOL, schools should have a good case too, especially schools that have good community outreach.

I know people who send their kids to RET's school in Bristol, and they were using a nearby David Lloyd centre for sports before they got their own facilities. I think they might still use the swimming pool too.

Strix Sat 22-Mar-14 09:39:23

Is all of Amida (now David Lloyd) built on MOL? The new outdoor swimming pool at Amida is adjacent to the building and a tennis court was removed to put the swimming pool in. So that land was already in use by David Lloyd.

Could some help me understand what part of this land is being proposed for Turing? Is it the bit by Fulwell, of across from the Hampton Sainsbury's. If the latter, I would think it will attract a lot of hanwell/feltham students in later years (not 2014).

wannaBanana Sat 22-Mar-14 09:57:31

I think it's the triangle directly behind Amida. It would be opposite Sainsbury's, but behind the trees. It's the only bit that's not part of the golf course.

I expect the catchment would be where the school entrance is, because that's usually where distance is measured from. See my [Thu 20-Mar-14 18:04:39] post above about the admissions policy though. The admissions point is going to stay as part of the policy, but we don't know what the weighting will be between that and the site itself. I suppose it depends on where the site is, and whether more places are needed there than at the admissions point. Sounds like its something that would be consulted on.

Strix Sat 22-Mar-14 11:46:03

Yes, while the school is in temporary accommodation I suspect it will be that entrance, and then use the permanent one when it moves there. But I think that will be at least a couple of years away. So for 2014 entrants.

Where is the temporary accommodation? Is that known?

wannaBanana Sat 22-Mar-14 12:15:43

But Strix, according to the website, even when the school is at the permanent site, one of its admissions points will be where it is now, in Fulwell. The only unknown is whether the second point at the school gate will count for 10%, 20%, 50%, 75% or something else. It think that's what they're planning to consult on.

mombasagirl Tue 25-Mar-14 22:05:35

I am astounded by the snobbery and bigotry towards TA that I've read on this thread, perhaps by some people who've never set foot inside the school. If you choose to live in an area, why aren't you happy for your children to go to the LOCAL school and mix with others from your LOCAL area. It is called 'Real Life'. Go Twickenham Academy! We're with you!

BayJay Wed 26-Mar-14 06:12:06

I agree we all need to support all of our local schools. All of the places are needed, so they all need to be good places, or supported to become good places. Schools live or die by their word-of-mouth reputation, so any criticism needs to be constructive, not destructive.

Mombasa, there have been some positive threads about TA recently, e.g. this one, and this one. If you're a TA parent yourself then its worth taking the time to say what is great about the school. Parents are always looking for peer-reviews to help with difficult decision making.

RPA has seen a huge surge in its applications this year and that's no surprise to those of us who have been seeing it getting positive word-of-mouth here on Mumsnet for a while. For example, see here and here.

ikkenu Wed 26-Mar-14 07:39:57

As long as Turing House doesn't open a Y8 in 2015 - that could be chaotic for other schools (and for Turing House if they don't all transfer at the same time).

BayJay Wed 26-Mar-14 08:31:41

Ikkenu, I think everyone is very aware of the awkwardness of that suggestion. Looks like Harperbury are facing similar calls.. Its new territory for the DfE.

Strix Wed 26-Mar-14 10:53:18

okay, let's just review the facts on Twickenham Academy.

League tables here: www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/education/school_tables/secondary/11/html/eng_maths_318.stm?compare=

Recent Ofsted report here: www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/136104

This is a school which was rated by Ofsted in 2013 as "Requires Improvement", and in 2014 was found by Ofsted not to be doing much about it.

The Whitton children deserve the same access to "Outstanding" education offered to girls in the Twickenham Green (Waldegrave) and boys and girls in the Marble Hill / Heathfield areas (Orleans Park).

This is about academic rigour; and has nothing to do with snobbery or bigotry.

tess73 Wed 26-Mar-14 11:06:59

Why would they start with a yr8?

BayJay Wed 26-Mar-14 11:09:34

Strix, I think we all know that schools are about more than league tables and Ofsted reports. Those of us who went along to recent open evenings, and who have many friends whose children are at those schools, know that there is a much broader picture to be considered. Many children are happy and thriving there. My own DS was certainly impressed by his visit.

The school may not be right for you, and that's fine, but in the interests of good community relations I suggest you use a bit more diplomacy on a public forum.

Strix Wed 26-Mar-14 11:50:18

I understand there will be people out there who don't like my view of Twickenham Academy. And I was going to leave it alone. But, since reading the accusations of bigotry and snobbery, I though it appropriate to put forward the credible reasons upon which I (and many other like me) have formed that view.

There is also more to the performance of the school than a full on bells and whistles open evening.

Together the league tables and Ofsted reports say quite a lot about a school .

BayJay Wed 26-Mar-14 12:15:56

Yes, I know, you were responding to an accusation, so defended your position. But people are understandably sensitive, and you need to be careful not to knock down other people's sandcastles just because you think yours is bigger.

ikkenu Wed 26-Mar-14 12:58:22

Be careful with Ofsted reports - Teddington has been consistently 'Good' and the most popular school in the borough for years. Grey Court was 'Satisfactory' (i.e. requires improvement' until last year but upgraded to 'Outstanding after a single Ofsted report. Twickenham Academy has a new head starting in September which could give it a shot of energy.

Shootingatpigeons Wed 26-Mar-14 13:17:22

Perhaps mombassagirl is unaware of the background. For many parents this is all about wanting a place for their child in a "traditional" inclusive coed comprehensive local community school. Plenty of parents in the borough send their children happily to such local schools and all bar one are oversubscribed. That one, Richmond Park Academy, as bayjay highlights, has recovered from a disgraceful period of underinvestment and poor leadership which saw it lose local and OFSTED confidence, and saw a 46% increase in applications this year, with an even greater increase in applications from the local community.

However in the face of a huge increase in the pupil cohort, it will have increased by 35% between 2013 and 2017, the Council decided to embrace an educational strategy they titled "choice and diversity". The two other academies including Twickenham Academy were handed to a Swedish education provider who makes use of an educational approach based on targeted individualised learning via their own computer based systems that was previously untried in the UK. And the site of a former community school was given to the Catholic Church to set up an controversially voluntary aided school so that it could select exclusively on faith criteria. As bayjay says many parents are happy at the two academies and everyone wants them to succeed but many parents do not think that somewhat idiosyncratic educational approach and the ethos and aims of the school are right for their child. And OFSTED clearly have reservations too, and feel that there is further fine tuning of the approach needed to make it effective for the cohorts of the schools. Parental demand for those schools is stagnant, down 5% at Hampton and up 5% at Twickenham. Choice is only choice if there are enough places for there to be a real choice.

Turing was established by parents to establish the sort of inclusive local school that there is huge demand for, and that, already this year with over 200 more applications than places, is needed too.

Strix Wed 26-Mar-14 13:29:56

I think that on a thread about the need for new school in the area, it is valid to point out that the reason parents want that school is because they don't like their other choice(s).

If all of the schools in the Richmond Borough were lovely, there would not be so much support for Turing.

I have bent over backwards to support Turing, even though we weren't offered a place because I think the tragedy here belongs to the children who will not be able to go there. I have no self interest. My DD was not offered a place. And I think your sandcastle comment is a tad unwarranted.

I feel the children who have had their preferred school place at Turing ripped away in the 11th hour have been wronged; and I wish I could do something more (and not less) to support them. I am lucky to have gotten a school place I am happy with for my DD. But, I don't want to say "I'm alright, Jack" and walk away.

When did education start being about political diplomacy and stop being about the children's education?

What a crying shame.

BayJay Wed 26-Mar-14 13:44:06

Strix, sorry, the sandcastle comment was meant as lighthearted. I just forgot the smiley. I'm just trying trying to keep the peace.

At the end of the day, all of the local schools, and TH too, are or will be part of the same family of schools and we'll all know people who will send their children to all of the schools, and people who work there, and people who are governors there. Their experience is important too.

All our schools work together to support each other, through initiatives such as Education Richmond. TH will be part of that too. It isn't separate. All the places are needed because of the bulge of children coming through the system.

ikkenu Wed 26-Mar-14 16:42:37

If mombassagirl is defending her local school against new threats, whoever runs it, that's fine. The quality argument from Strix is separate from the capacity argument from shootingatpigeons but the council has a legal duty to make sure it has places to offer. Even the capacity argument gets spun sometimes when you are counting increases in a different part of the borough, e.g. North Sheen or Barnes, or the Catholic school bulge classes, to justify a co-ed school near Whitton which may soon be followed up by another co-ed school near St Margaret's.

There's a lot of politics and spin from all sides - the politicians, RISC, the Catholic diocese, the academies and free school groups - we all know that.

Strix Thu 27-Mar-14 07:54:33

What is the co-ed school near St. Margarets?

ikkenu Thu 27-Mar-14 08:08:37

The Richmond College one. Maybe that's too. If you live in Barnes there seem to be new schools springing up every year, but not one of them handy for Barnes!

BayJay Thu 27-Mar-14 08:08:55

Stix, I think she meant the REEC partnersip free school proposed for Egerton Rd for 2017. It is needed in adfition to TH.

The council's forecasts don't distinguish explicitly by area. We're a small borough, long and thin, carved up by rivers and roads, so its a significant complication. However, the site options are so few that it would be disingenuous to suggest there is much choice in where new schools are located.

The TH admissions point was devised in consultation with the council for that reason, to cater for an area of projected future need.

Strix Thu 27-Mar-14 09:38:59

Ah right. Yes, we got a letter round on that one. But, as the planned opening is for the year after DS goes to senior school I haven't given it much thought. But I do know that people in the Heathfields area worry about the Orleans Park "catchment" shrinking. Their next likely school allocation is not something they want, so again this school will have great local support.

It is a shame that Turing has been unable to secure a permanent site, and it does very much appear the Richmond council does not actually want the school in the Richmond Borough. I can't understand why. But, I suspect RET will have to look at a new borough for their school. Can this be done? Or is the "go-ahead" conditional on putting the school in the borough in which the original application was made?

BayJay Thu 27-Mar-14 10:18:00

Strix, you have misinterpreted Richmond Council's position on TH. They very much want it and need it. They assumed it would happen as much as everyone else.

They have helped to coordinate the REEC partnership because it is a much more complex project, involving rebuilding of the college, relocation of Clarendon school, and relocation of Haymarket.

Both schools are needed so LBRuT are helping to secure an additional site for TH within the borough.

Sites have been identified. One of them just needs to get to the point of sufficient security to enable the school to open in temp accommodation. Its a tick-box exercise, but its important, because the risks of opening in temp accommodation need to be managed.

reddidi Thu 27-Mar-14 10:50:59

BayJay it sounds like you are involved as more than just a bystander here, what is your interest?

Securing (i.e. signing contracts for) a permanent site is NOT a tick box exercise, it is a vital commercial hurdle for any school to achieve before committing to opening on a temporary site. Whatever the obstacles in the way of a permanent site are, they would cost a lot more to overcome if the school can be held to ransom because it is already open.

Strix Thu 27-Mar-14 10:57:39

I know what their official "position" is. But actions speak louder than words and they seem rather complacent at best. For starters, if they hadn't given the Clifden Road site away (not sold, but given) then there would be a permanent home for Turing. And, having done that, they don't seem particularly proactive in helping Turing to secure another permanent site. Perhaps I'm wrong. You are certainly closer to them than I am. But, then, I have no vested interest in not offending them.

I would like to see everyone put the politics aside and get on with the business of educating these 11 year olds, who are far too young to be used as political pawns.

BayJay Thu 27-Mar-14 11:03:02

Reddidi, I'm one of the parents on the TH Steering Group.

I didn't mean securing a site was a tick box exercise. Clearly not. I meant the decision to open the school in temporary accommodation is a tick box exercise. That isn't intended to trivialise the decision. As in many important business decisions there are certain conditions that need to be met to mitigate risk and in this case they have not yet been met.

Shootingatpigeons Thu 27-Mar-14 11:45:55

reddidi there are suggestions of various site options in the public sphere, some are discussed here. Not all would be vulnerable to the risks of commercial negotiation, and the risk analysis is more concerned with whether when and how planning obstacles could be overcome. This is fundamentally about getting the DofE to understand the risks better and it is very political because in this borough school place provision has become extremely political as a result of the Catholic school issue strix has mentioned. However it is reassuring that the Council do seem to have finally understood the strength of parental feeling on the issue.

I am not as involved as bayjay as my children are now older but I do understand why this school is so badly wanted and needed.

tess73 Fri 28-Mar-14 10:57:38

What i'd like to understand is how the council can sit by and watch underperforming schools (nb TA) which lack parental demand, yet a school which only exists in principle is massively oversubscribed and completely full. Doesn't that tell them something?
If a school isn't supported, or you have to force kids into it by offering no other option, then surely it should close and the facilities be handed over to the team which can show massive support?
Or am i missing something in my oversimplistic view?
As much as people are/were up in arms re St RR it is shown to have full support of the 6 outstanding catholic primaries.

bluestars Fri 28-Mar-14 11:26:03

tess73 - The local council has no say in closing any acadamy. This can only be done by the Acadamy Trust itself or the Secretary of State.
According to council forecasts, to provide for the primary bulge coming through the system, we need all the existing secondary schools (all academies) as well as 2 new schools by 2017.

Shootingatpigeons Sat 29-Mar-14 13:01:46

tess I think you have to be a little careful. Both TA and HA are almost full, there is demand for what they offer. They are also improving, if not fast enough for OFSTED.

I totally agree that in the face of the huge pupil increase Turing for which there is huge parent demand should be given every support, and it appears that the Council are doing that.

The issue of what is to be done about TA and HA is I think separate. I do not agree with the argument that Turing should be put on the back burner, or sites given to exclusive faith schools, because a new school that meets parental demand threatens TA and HA, parents won't be shepherded into schools they don't think are right for their children. Those allocated to Turing are now planning to move, go private or home school rather than allow that to happen, as parents have done in this borough for years. There are already more than enough pupils to fill all the academies, Turing and a couple of other state schools beside if schools were meeting the demands of parents (if the proportion of Year 6s going into the borough's state schools were just the average of the ten most affluent London boroughs there would be 300 more pupils for whom spaces would have to be found, two new 5 form entry schools, quite aside from the projected increase in the cohort size). The current education strategy manages down demand through deterring parents who feel they have no choice. So TA and HA have to win the confidence of parents to succeed. They need time to do that clearly, OFSTED feel there is fine tuning needed to the approach but how much time, and at what point the Secretary of State calls time I am not sure.

I thought ikkenus earlier post was interesting, the suggestion that if TA/HA cannot attract OFSTED approval and parental demand in the next ?years that perhaps they should accept that there is not demand for two schools offering that educational model, and consolodate on one site, perhaps with further expansion on that site. That sounds a more rational use of valuable sites.

Strix Sat 29-Mar-14 18:27:14

I agree that it is time to debate (publicly) whether parents in West London are interested is a Swedish style education. They could consolidate onto one site and give TA to Turing. That would be a great idea. But it won't happen.

I am sorry to say that I think Turing will not happen in Twickenham at all. The recent events have shattered public support. It will be very very hard to now secure a site in Twickenham. I think people who want a non faith based co-ed education will now put their efforts behind REEC. They've got a site.

And I think RET will have to take its Turing plans to another borough and start over with a new set of parents who will be just as hungry for this school as the Twickenham parents were.

ikkenu Sat 29-Mar-14 18:59:35

I think it's a setback but not the end. If there was room at one of the HA or TA sites to expand to say 250 pupils plus a school for 180 at the other (Turing?), and another 150 at Egerton Road, you'd get lots of extra capacity in that side of the borough (if not for Barnes...). The question of sixth forms when the schools are operated by different sponsors makes things much more complicated - maybe the Swedish group would throw in the towel and let the pupils get a decent selection of courses at Richmond College while taking on more 11-16 aged pupils. Or Turing House could do the same at Egerton Road if it came to it! There could be some creative staff sharing arrangement.

I just can't see at what point schools get to change sponsor. But we have a general election in a year so maybe the rules will all change.

BayJay Sat 29-Mar-14 21:08:44

Strix, council forecasts indicate two 150 PAN schools are needed by 2017. TH has already been pre-approved by the DfE, so is first in the queue. The REEC school can't overtake it in the queue, and would only be pre-approved on the basis that more places are definitely needed beyond the ones that TH will provide.

Even then, as the REEC school isn't proposed to open until 2017, current Y5 and Y4 would have no incentive to 'switch' their support to it.

Shootingatpigeons Sun 30-Mar-14 09:07:03

strix TH is a school proposal that started with Twickenham parents who did not want their community to break up in the way they do all over the borough when faced with living in a black hole of good school places. They could see that with the Catholic School proposal being given priority it was the only way to get new school places. The Egerton road proposal didn't emerge until later and then proposing far too few places, too late (2017) to meet the need. I don't think that need has in any way gone away, indeed the 2014 application figures are showing that the risks to the Council forecasts are materialising.

RET are not a sponsor like GEMS or Belleview who are looking for opportunities to exploit the education market created by the desperate need for school places with proposals that are rooted in their self interest. It is assisting a parent body to achieve their aims which are rooted in the community's needs and desires. I think most parents understand that and will not stop supporting the group of parents who have worked so hard to get this far. It is not for want of trying that they have encountered this hurdle which is of the politician's making.

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