New Secondary Schools for Richmond 3

(1000 Posts)
BayJay Wed 02-May-12 19:40:24

Hello and welcome to the Mumsnet thread about Richmond Borough Secondary Schools. The discussion started in February 2011 in two parallel locations here and here.

In November 2011 the most active of those two threads, in Mumsnet Local, reached 1000 messages (the maximum allowed) so we continued the conversation here.

Now its May 2012 and that thread has also filled up, so the conversation will continue here ......

JoTwick Thu 10-May-12 18:30:00

TheMagic - there is 1 site avaialable now . How can we have 2 schools on that to keep everyone happy

TheMagicFarawayTree Thu 10-May-12 18:34:13

Because, a Free School does not have to have a site already identified to be approved. The Govt can help with the identification (and indeed, purchase) of a site!

From BayJay's earlier link...
"Do I need to secure a site before I apply?
You don't have to enter into any negotiations for sites and must not do so if you expect the Government to fund the acquisition of your site.

It would be helpful if, in your application, you were able to identify up to two potentially feasible sites for your school to give us some idea of where you would prefer your school to be located. "

BayJay has already indicated in the other thread that her group are looking at more than one location...

BayJay Thu 10-May-12 18:37:47

Why would they need to stay 'diplomatically silent?'
None of the local political parties, on either side, have publicly endorsed particular Free School proposals. They're all officially supportive in principle, but they're not (publicly) expressing opinions on individual schools as they don't know which ones are going to be approved.

TheMagicFarawayTree Thu 10-May-12 18:55:44

But their comments on the use of the Clifden Road site say "We therefore propose that the Clifden Road site should be reserved for a new 5 form entry community school to be opened in 2016"

They would not have to be supportive of your school to say that a community school is needed on the site in 2013 as it could be an academy couldn't it? So I still don't understand your 'diplomatically silent' coment in response to my earlier post about over provision of places.

I really do wish your school luck, but continue to believe that the creation of a Free School does not need to be at the expense of the Catholic school.

BayJay Thu 10-May-12 19:07:28

They would not have to be supportive of your school to say that a community school is needed on the site in 2013 as it could be an academy couldn't it?
Not really, no. The Free School process is designed to be quick. If the council wanted to invite proposals for an academy that would inevitably be slower.

Anyway, whether they think we need a new school there in 2013 isn't really the issue. It would be daft for either political party to turn their noses up at a free school (and I mean free in the no-capital-outlay sense) in 2013 if they thought they would need it in 2015.

As I've said before, the free school funding is front loaded. Who knows whether there will still be any money left in the pot by 2015.

gmsing Thu 10-May-12 19:20:29

Bayjay valid point that free schools can be opened where there is demand as it gives parents choice and diversity

I don't buy council poor value for money argument it seems its not poor value to open catholic school but it is for all other types.

Why is not poor to open cathlic school when there are open spaces in academies . Surely academies were invested for everyone inc catholics.
Some catholic school supporters argue that they want consistency and continuity of education but so do others - do the sweedish style education in TA and HA does not give continuity?

Council seems to be showing double standards.

TheMagicFarawayTree Thu 10-May-12 19:25:38

I guess they might not support it though if they thought that it was going to be to the detriment of schools that already exist and are not full.
I guess when the DforE speak to the council they will then take a view.

But, my point remains if funding, sites and willpower is there for both schools is it not a win-win situation?

I am delighted that there seems to be a very real possiblity of a good outcome for all.

JoTwick Thu 10-May-12 19:26:45

Cmon guys how on earth can it be fair to expect free school to assume a site will be found - leap of faith in current climate , yet allow the Diocese to get away with lying and claiming in their application they have been offered clifden road by the council.
Utter shame !

Jeev Thu 10-May-12 19:35:28

Council is in bed with Diocese . It would not shock me if they did " Everything in their power" as claimed by Cllr Samuels to safeguard Clifden road for Catholic school. So yes they could speak to Dfe and tell them to reject Twickenham Free school. Secures Catholic votes for generations !

TheMagicFarawayTree Thu 10-May-12 19:36:47

JoTwick - BayJay has already stated in an earlier thread that other possible sites had been identified - she just did not feel at liberty to say where they were.

The shame would be to deny the possiblity of both schools - when gmsing talks about 'choice and diversity' that goes for Catholic families too.

muminlondon Thu 10-May-12 19:41:50

In the short term Catholics in ths borough still have up to 150 places reserved for them in Hounslow schools (including extra places at Gumley). This may well change in the long term in favour of e.g. Ealing but not before 2014. So it would be sensible to wait for news on other developments such as the Kingston school finance and free school bids.

TheMagicFarawayTree Thu 10-May-12 19:51:00

I don't agree - but you know that smile

I honestly think that it is a no-brainer to open a Catholic school on the Clifden Road site given that:
a) it has been promised for years
b) it's opening would not be to the detriment of any existing borough school c) Catholic children are struggling to get places in Catholic schools now, and when they do get in, their journeys are often long and difficult
d) there will, no doubt, be another school, on the Edgerton Road site, or another one
e) a Catholic school would add to, not take away from, the diversity of schools available in the borough
f) Catholic children deserve the opportunity to remain in a Catholic school in-borough, not be forced to leave it.

I hand on heart welcome the opportunity for (at least) two new secondary schools in our borough. I would have hoped that most other people would too.

muminlondon Thu 10-May-12 20:09:08

We don't know how the sixth form will impact on other schools or colleges. I honestly think there is too much for the council to scrutinise fully in one meeting, given the number of members of the public who will be there. There will be lots of speeches but how much debate and analysis? But the decisions have huge ramifications for education and jobs.

TheMagicFarawayTree Thu 10-May-12 20:29:12

I do agree with that - I am surprised that they are going to try and deal with both matters in one evening. I think that people need to be prepared for a late night!

JoTwick Thu 10-May-12 21:29:13

Magic - catholics have equal access to all in borough schools so they have same choice and diversity as everyone else . Plus they have access to out of borough catholic schools . So they have more choice and diversity than any other group

And now you want more choice and diversity at the expense of others whose choice and diversity will reduce !

You are entitled to your opinion but how can this be fair

BayJay Thu 10-May-12 22:03:35

I think that people need to be prepared for a late night!

From part 4, paragraph 9.1 of the council's constitution, "If the business of the meeting has not been concluded within 3 hours, the [Chair] will interrupt the meeting and call for a vote immediately on the item under discussion."

Jeev Thu 10-May-12 22:41:07

So 3 hr seems to be the maximum everyone has to endure. Will it be webcast? I suspect two big items have been crammed into 1 meeting as the Tories who are following the whip just want to get done and kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

Jeev Thu 10-May-12 22:49:54

muminlondon - It does seem sensible to wait till outcome of Kingston and free school applications are know. Then a well informed decision can be made on the use of Clifden Road site.

muminlondon Thu 10-May-12 23:05:57

Rather than a rushed decision in the presence of many anxious parents and sixth form teachers. How much money is at stake here for just one meeting? We don't even know how much Clifden has cost.

Jeev Thu 10-May-12 23:23:15

In previous thread it was estimated that cliden was bought for 10m plus . So along with 25m for 6th forms its 35m plus being decided in 3 hrs - so every minute is worth around 200k smile

BayJay Fri 11-May-12 06:22:03

To be clear, the Scrutiny Committee meeting on May 15th can make recommendations, but the Cabinet meeting on the 24th is where the decisions will be made.

The Cabinet can reject recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee but would need to give reasons.

Cat2405 Fri 11-May-12 10:59:23

Will the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee be available to the public before the 24th May meeting, for those not attending in person?

BayJay Fri 11-May-12 12:58:48

Cat2405, normally it takes a few weeks for the minutes of scrutiny meetings to be published, but this one is an extraordinary meeting, so it may be different. They may even decide to webcast it if there is enough interest from the public.

Cat2405 Fri 11-May-12 13:19:55

Many thanks BayJay. Webcasting both meetings sound like a great idea. I'm sure there'd be enough interest. I'm very interested. It could help with any potential capacity issues at York House if people are able to view the meeting online from home.

Jeev Fri 11-May-12 13:51:32

I understand there are plans to only webcast Council meeting. How can one get them to webcast the SC meeting as well.

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