New Secondary Schools for Richmond 4

(1001 Posts)
BayJay2 Fri 09-Nov-12 21:26:33

Welcome. This is the fourth (or perhaps fifth) in a series of threads about Richmond Secondary Schools.

The discussion was originally triggered by Richmond council's publication of its Education White Paper in February 2011. It started with two parallel threads here and here.

In November 2011 the most active of the original two threads reached 1000 messages (the maximum allowed) so we continued the conversation here.

That thread filled up in May 2012, and was continued here.

It's now November 2012, and once again we're at the start of a new thread ....

LProsser Tue 29-Jan-13 21:07:02

The redevelopment of Egerton Road to provide all these different things (and housing to help fund it!?) sounds like a huge project that will require money from Central Government, LB Richmond and other sources. I expect they are planning to sell the existing Clarendon site, which is in quite a nice residential location in Hampton, aswell. I'm not very familiar with the current Egerton Road site but presumably they will have to build on the existing playing fields at the front of the site on the main road in order to keep the college open whilst they are re-building?

BayJay2 Tue 29-Jan-13 21:30:17

LP here's a link to the bit about how the Egerton Rd project will be funded.

There's also some info in the FAQ about the potential implications for the playing fields.

Heathclif Wed 30-Jan-13 14:45:47

Bayjay They are talking about work starting work in 2014 though which makes sense in terms of the development of Richmond College. In borough demand is bound to shrink when the sixth forms are all in operation. However that suggests they will need funds ahead of a change of government, certainly the assurance they will materialise, and those will in the main be for the redevelopment of RuTC. Since they anticipate shrinking from 4000+ to just under 3000, the 750 new 11-16s still won't match the former college numbers. The more I look at it the more I wonder if they are going to dress it up as redevelopment of an existing educational establishment to try to evade the free school process, especially as presumably if RuTC ceased to be viable it would create a big hole in arrangements for vocational training of 16-18s in South West London? Hence the involvement of the skills agency. They do emphasise the mutual benefit in terms of facilities and finances in having an 11-16 school on site too. That would be the only explanation I can think of for anticipating having an answer from the D of E by March this year. How that stacks up with Gove's policy and legislation I don't know but then he has conceded ambiguity already, especially for Richmond Council! Providing Twickenham already has it's parent led Free School I am not sure I find a pragmatic way of ensuring the new inclusive school places a problem? I can't see it would set much of a precedent since RuTCs current status, outdated buildings, competition from newly created sixth forms, must be fairly unique. Am I missing something?

As far as planning goes the planning framework has for sometime had the Richmond College grounds earmarked for development along the lines of the development in the Quinns ground. We successfully argued some years ago now, in a planning appeal that it focused on that area for developments of modern blocks of flats, and more traditional styles of development in Central Twickenham. I would have thought local residents will struggle to find substantive objections to delay it.

BayJay2 Wed 30-Jan-13 14:59:55

Hi Heathcliff. I was talking about the funding/model for establishing and running the new 11-16 school, rather than the capital costs of rebuilding the college. Yes you're right the grant for the capital costs will need to be secured earlier as per this timetable, presumably from Basic Need funding.

Heathclif Wed 30-Jan-13 17:36:42

Hi Bayjay

Actually when you read the wording the only references to the school in terms of funding and governance is that they envisage it will be a coed non denominational academy and RuTC will have shared governance with it, and the Council will provide £10m for the school. Presumably the £10m subject to future costings could conceivably be the additional building costs of a school over and above the redevelopment of the college? That could leave the way open to there being a Free School bid for funding if that process is still in place for the timescale leading to the actual opening of the school.

However if it does go through the Free School process we could see parent, or a faith group, or other organisation's bids emerging? Either backed by the Council or in competition with a bid backed by the Council? Obviously it couldn't be exclusive as there is a need, but it could be an organisation like Kunskapsskolan that doesn't originate from the community's "desires"? Or indeed a C of E school with some degree of selection by faith to the 50% limit?

BayJay2 Wed 30-Jan-13 18:47:36

Heathcliff, yes, it sounds like they are planning to put money together from multiple sources to rebuild the college and at the same time, provide accommodation for a school. However, those grants would only cover capital costs.

My understanding is that under current rules, the establishment and running costs of the new school would need to be funded via a Free School bid. For the college to be part-governor, it would logically need to be a member of the non-profit trust proposing the free school, either alone or in partnership with others (e.g. Achieving for Children or perhaps an evolved form of Education Richmond).

There would be nothing to stop rival (e.g. church / parent) free school groups putting in a bid for the same site but I think that would be unlikely.

If we get a different flavour of Government after the next election, then the rules about establishing new schools might change, but at least by then there should be a site in progress.

ChrisSquire2 Wed 06-Feb-13 11:34:39

From today's Guardian: Michael Gove: Labour think poor children should stick to their station:

Labour politicians believe children from disadvantaged backgrounds should "stick to the station in life they were born into", the education secretary,Michael Gove, has said in an outspoken – in parts almost openly rude – speech outlining his philosophy for learning in schools . . .

Full text of his speech at the Social Market Foundation, Feb 05

LProsser Thu 07-Feb-13 10:47:09

Hi, have just started looking at the college consultation and it does raise a lot of questions. Presumably the college will formally reduce its admissions quota so it won't be able to take as many students as it did before even if there was an upturn in the numbers wishing to go there? There seems to be an assumption that many students in Richmond secondary schools will stay there but that is completely untested as yet. Will it give priority to LB Richmond students or is admission all based on academic/other qualifications/predictions/potential rather than distance? Obviously secondary school students in the new secondary and in Clarendon will occupy rather more space than college ones as they have to be in lessons all day Monday - Friday not just drift in and out. It seems to me that proposing to use the existing site for 3 different functions instead of one and selling part of it for housing to help fund the redevelopment is quite a big gamble. Building it up against a busy main road will also make it less attractive to prospective parents. Then there is still the question of a suitable site for the Turing House free school which needs to open more quickly than 2017.

I see Gove has climbed down but only a bit!

muminlondon2 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:29:44

If the Kingston school gets the go-ahead and affects Richmond/Ham, is it likely that two new schools would be approved for Twickenham? Some school expansions won't feed through till 2017. TA and HA are filling up but half of their pupils have until now come from Hounslow where there are more places/schools from this year. If competition is a desirable, does the DfE place sponsored academies on an equal footing with LA maintained schools or academy converters in terms of impact?

An engineering/science specialism would fit in well with the college if there was a possibility of new courses for 14-18 year olds - maybe if Turing House got approved but their preferred premises didn't, the college could be a possibility for a permanent site from 2017?

It's a relief that Gove has listened to the arts lobby and select committee. I'm still a little concerned that his plans for 'rigour' will create a two-tiered system - while he's accepted the importance of Music, Art and Religious Studies, there's no mention of technology subjects. And his plans for a point system putting more emphasis on grades sounds like a bit of spin - you can already find out averages for high attainers/low attainers for state schools. As an overall measure it will just reinforce the divide between what lazy politicians like to call 'good'/'bad' schools (e.g. selective intake/ all the rest). It's unfair that intake information is not given for independent schools - they continue to perpetuate myths about their success being entirely due to teaching rather than due (mostly) to selection by prior attainment and interview.

BayJay2 Thu 07-Feb-13 21:18:00

"If the Kingston school gets the go-ahead and affects Richmond/Ham, is it likely that two new schools would be approved for Twickenham?"

Kingston have always made it clear they needed the North Kingston School to cater for their own bulge, not help to accommodate Richmond's, and of course the current N Kingston proposal is a lot smaller than the school that was originally planned for that area (and which was included in Richmond's forecast). So yes, I do think its reasonable for a N Kingston school, and Twickenham's proposal to be approved.

BayJay2 Thu 07-Feb-13 21:29:30

" maybe if Turing House got approved but their preferred premises didn't, the college could be a possibility for a permanent site from 2017"

The Egerton Rd school will be needed in addition to Turing House. See this link for details.

muminlondon2 Thu 07-Feb-13 23:06:33

North Kingston may not affect Twickenham residents directly, but as an 8-form school the proposal did divide opinion in Kingston itself

Fears over school plan
North Kingston school plans faces parents boycott

LProsser Fri 08-Feb-13 09:09:51

I think the Kingston proposal is now only a 6 forms of entry school and everyone has agreed that the provision is needed for LB Kingston children due to expansions in primary schools, although I seem to remember that we discussed where the areas of actual need were within LB Kingston a few months ago and we weren't sure that North Kingston was one of them because so many children from there live closer to Grey Court than children in LB Richmond and the Ham primary schools are very small. I was talking to a friend who lives in the Tudor Drive area who is worried that her daughter won't get into Grey Court in a couple of years time but that seems unlikely to me. Of course lots of people are annoyed that they are building on an adult education centre as were lots of people annoyed about the loss of Clifden as an adult education centre, although that perspective tended to get slightly drowned by the horror of it becoming an exclusive Catholic school.

LProsser Fri 08-Feb-13 09:53:33

There is a letter in today's RTT objecting to the College proposals on the basis of loss of playing fields. I know that the Grey Court farm planning application has been referred to Sport England because it involves the loss of a small amount of playing fields, although only to grazing rather than concrete!

ChrisSquire2 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:54:52

Today?s RTT has, as well as the letter re playing fields from Alan Winter (p. 24), a long denunciation by David Grice of the DfE’s purchase of the United Reform church in Vernon Rd East Sheen for use by the Thomson House school (p. 23).

The school is happy:

Second site approved - 13 January 2013: We are delighted to announce approval of our second site for Thomson House - the United Reform Chuch on Vernon Road. Together, both the Court House and the United Reform Church will ensure a spacious learning environment for our pupils. See our facebook page and Location tab for photos of the Church - it's a beautiful building! We are working with our contractors and architects on plans for both sites. The seedpoint for admissions from which distance from front-door will be measured for 2013 remains the Court House.

No planning permission is needed, apparently, so there has been no opportunity for debate about problems of noise, access, car parking, etc.

LProsser Fri 08-Feb-13 14:48:01

If no planning consent is needed to turn a church with no outside space into a school why is planning consent needed to turn NPL building 2 into Turing House School?

It seems mad that there is an official route to query losing a little bit of a large playing field to a couple of sheep but no way of querying opening a school in a building with no playing fields at all!

LProsser Fri 08-Feb-13 15:11:59

I notice that the RTT article on page 7 about the cost of the Judicial review says that there were 115 first place preferences for Sir Richard Reynolds but the official LB Richmond admissions table that someone dug up for us in this discussion a couple of months ago said it was 67:

BayJay2 Fri 08-Feb-13 17:20:15

"No planning permission is needed, apparently"

Probably because of this recent relaxation in planning laws for free schools.

muminlondon2 Fri 08-Feb-13 17:32:37

Hi LProsser, you make some interesting points - some inconsistency with planning approaches there!

North Kingston would be more feasible as a smaller school but it still wasn't meant to open until 2015 when 30 more from Fernhill or Latchmere come through as a permanent expansion as well as a bulge class. The link policy consultation document identified that 150 pupils from Kingston could have gained places at Grey Court in 2011 and 16 at Teddington. I'm not so worried about Grey Court as there will chance for Richmond/Kew/Sheen children on the 65/371 bus routes to get places there instead of at Christ's or RPA, but even one half empty school would be a waste of resources. I think there are already two headteacher vacancies in Richmond for 2014 and teachers for St RR to be recruited so perhaps there will be some movement of staff between schools. It is not a cheap area for young teachers to move into (or anyone for that matter). The impact of three new schools in 2014 would certainly be felt in other local schools - it would keep the new governors and academy heads busy on top of new financial responsibilities, sixth forms and exam reform.

The St RR applications figure is either wrong or includes lots of late (or amended?) applications - perhaps also from other boroughs with a later deadline?

BayJay2 Fri 08-Feb-13 18:32:46

"some inconsistency with planning approaches there"

Turing hasn't got to that stage yet, so it's a bit soon to talk about inconsistencies. The recently announced relaxation in planning laws would apply to Turing too.

BayJay2 Fri 08-Feb-13 18:40:50

"The impact of three new schools in 2014"

St RR is opening in 2013, not 2014.

muminlondon2 Fri 08-Feb-13 19:15:05

Bayjay you are correct, St RR opens in 2013 (and headteacher vacancies at Christ's and I think Orleans Park to be filled by September 2013) and two free school applications for opening in 2014.

Heathclif Fri 08-Feb-13 19:49:14

Lottie I noticed that. Out of borough applications? Or the applications received by the diocese? ie 115 first preference of Catholic School not counting any non Catholic Schools applicants may have put further up the preferences in the main form?

On the playing fields issue. The College playing fields have been designated in the Planning Framework for development for a long time, it would be difficult to challenge something already in the framework, that should have been done when the planning framework was being consulted on. All that can be challenged is the nature of the building, height etc. but the framework actually specifies multi storey flats modern in design, like the ones built in the Harlequins ground and there are no neighbours close enough to argue damage to their amenity.

In terms of open space for the college it looks as though they plan to use the open land on Craneford Way, currently a rough football field and a playground in an open field. If you look at the map they cover an area greater than the existing College playing fields. If they make them into smart playing fields there will be a fair few dog owners miffed though!

From the consultation,

"Are you proposing to develop on the open space on Craneford Way?
This land has a planning designation of Metropolitan Open Land (MOL). MOL has a planning policy presumption against inappropriate development and gives it a similar level of protection as the green belt. Essential facilities for appropriate uses may be considered but that must not have an adverse impact on the openness of MOL. We will be considering proposals to improve sports facilities for both RuTC and the Schools and this may include the provision of some all-weather pitches and other outside sports facilities. All proposals are expected to align with the MOL policy."

muminlondon Yes Gove's concessions are welcome, looks as though he may be making some moves in the right direction on the History curriculum too smile

BayJay2 Fri 08-Feb-13 19:52:00

"and I think Orleans Park"

Yep, I didn't know about that, but you're right.

BayJay2 Fri 08-Feb-13 20:23:32

"teachers ... to be recruited"

Of course each of the new schools will only open with a single form of entry, so their staffing profiles will begin quite small and grow gradually as the schools grow.

Turing House will open with 10 - 11 teachers in 2014.

This thread is not accepting new messages.