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 ....

ChrisSquire2 Tue 13-Nov-12 17:47:11

RISC write: The Judicial Review of Richmond Council's decision to go ahead with the Catholic Voluntary Aided schools at Clifden Road will be heard at the Administrative Court in the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand on Thursday and Friday this week (15th and 16th). In principle we could get a judgement there and then, but in practice that's unlikely and we'll have to wait.

ChrisSquire2 Tue 13-Nov-12 18:10:55

Accord have asked the public about selection by religion: Nearly three quarters of the British public disagrees with religious selection in admissions at state funded schools (Accord Nov 12). Telegraph report: Selection by religion ?should be banned in state schools?.

BHA have published a useful background article: High Court agrees to hear first ever legal challenge to new 'faith' schools because of religious discrimination, Government applies to intervene against BHA (Oct 04).

muminlondon2 Tue 13-Nov-12 23:03:19

LProsser, I saw a report about academy funding per pupil not being shown in the performance tables even though that data has been published for community schools. And that information is not available via the Charity Commission either as they have now all become 'exempt charities'. Maybe this is also true of the type of trust proposed by/for IES.

BayJay2 Wed 14-Nov-12 09:35:50

"Maybe this is also true of the type of trust proposed by/for IES"

Yes, Free School trusts have exactly the same status and obligations as Academy Trusts and are funded by Government in exactly the same way, using the same funding formula.

ChrisSquire2 Wed 14-Nov-12 13:46:18

Tough exams and learning by rote are the keys to success, says Michael Gove (Guardian):

"Exams matter because motivation matters," Gove will say, according to extracts of the speech provided by his department. "Humans are hard-wired to seek out challenges. And our self-belief grows as we clear challenges we once thought beyond us. If we know tests are rigorous, and they require application to pass, then the experience of clearing a hurdle we once considered too high spurs us on to further endeavours and deeper learning."

Gove professes himself a great fan of Daniel Willingham, a US cognitive psychologist who has sought to use scientific research to show pupils learn best through the use of memory and routine, arguments outlined in a book, Why Don't Students Like School?, also popular with free schools guru Toby Young . .

Heathclif Wed 14-Nov-12 14:34:32

Chris I saw that article. He goes from bad to worse. Words fail me but then it doesn't matter what anyone in the world of education says. It couldn't be going further in the wrong direction from the system of learning and assessment we have in universities now.

The Historical Association are doing a consultation based on an interesting paper. I particularly agree that (apologies in advance for any random spacing from cut and pasting) I will argue that society is in need of individuals who are capable of innovation and forward thinking: individuals who need to be resilient and flexible to meet the demands of a complex economic environment. They also need to be social beings able to collaborate and work effectively in teams. Sixth formers need much more than good exam grades to be successful. I am not sure that an A level, certainly in its present form, or even its suggested new form, prepare students for the harsh realities of life. If we are hoping to improve students’ prospects then we need to offer them something else. Learning of quality should not only deliver them the qualifications they deserve but also offer them life skills with which they can negotiate a complex existence. Learning of quality therefore becomes much more than the ability to perform well in exams. The current A level exams measure important skills of memory, analysis and evaluation but these skills are only a small part of a human being’s ability.

She goes on to argue that teaching based on encouraging students in oral debate and assessing them on effort and effectiveness, as well as attainment, rather than merely assimilating and regurgitating facts in a structured essay in exams conditions actually gives them skills in learning to learn and helps them to assimilate facts and knowledge in a historical context they really understand and to develop persuasive arguments that they can use to write more effective essays.

That is what actually happens at university, that and producing the essays in the real world using research skills.

muminlondon2 Wed 14-Nov-12 23:02:49

Good post Heathclif. Universities are also workplaces and I'm sure most lecturers and teachers would agree with this description of the essential skills our society needs. While politicians live in a bubble of their own.

ChrisSquire2 Thu 15-Nov-12 00:32:22

(No 14) Secretary of State gives speech to IAA:

. . So - having come out - through the medium of French lesbian poetry - as an unapologetically romantic believer in liberal learning - education for its own sake - let me now explain why the best way to advance this liberating doctrine is through… regular, demanding, rigorous examinations . .

gmsing2 Thu 15-Nov-12 07:12:36

Judicial review hearing starts today in around 3 hrs!
Thursday 15 November, 2012
At half past 10
CO/7182/2012 The Queen on the application of British Humanist Association v London Borough Of Richmond Upon Thames
Coverage on the Richmond court case today on National media.
Interviews with Claire, Natalie and Andrew Copson was on LBC this morning at 645am
Press release from BHA

ChrisSquire2 Thu 15-Nov-12 10:20:55

Mr Justice Sales on video: he seems a sensible chap - not at all like my idea of High Court judge.

ChrisSquire2 Thu 15-Nov-12 13:48:12

The Guardian reports: Humanists attempt to halt 'back-door' spread of state-funded religious schools:

A potentially landmark high court case begins today, which could halt what campaigners call the "back-door" spread of new state religious schools through England, approved by councils without residents being given a choice of alternative . .

ChrisSquire2 Thu 15-Nov-12 14:57:47

The RTT reports: Richmond Park Academy rated good in tough new Ofsted regime (Nov 15).

Richmond Park Academy has received a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted after being the first secondary school in the borough to be examined under the new system. Ofsted has toughened its criteria and removed satisfactory from its marking categories, meaning good is the lowest acceptable benchmark for a school to achieve. Headteacher Lesley Kirby said: I am most proud of the judgement made about the high quality of teaching because this has been our central focus for some time and our hard work has clearly born fruit.

ChrisSquire2 Thu 15-Nov-12 22:27:55

RISC report: This was day 1 of the hearing of our Judicial Review at the High Court . . the lawyer representing RISC and the British Humanist Association (BHA) presented our case and responding to queries and challenges from the judge, Mr Justice Sales. This was a painstaking business as the law in the area is complex, involving several Acts of Parliament, the most recent of which (the Education Act 2011) was not complete in itself, but amended the Education Act 2006.

Towards the end of the day, the lawyer acting for Richmond Council, Clive Lewis, began his arguments . . much of the discussion centred around the new rule, effective from 1 Feb this year, that says simply: "If a local authority in England think a new school needs to be established in their area, they must seek proposals for the establishment of an Academy" . . The core Council argument was that there is no "need" for a Catholic school . . merely a "desire" for one, so they were not obliged to seek proposals for academies, and needed only to consider the proposal from the Catholic Diocese of Westminster for the VA schools.

To underline this point, their lawyer even went so far as saying that, even for Catholic children "matters are progressing perfectly satisfactorily" as they are all able to find places outside the borough. He also caused a collective intake of breath when he contrasted "Catholic children" with "ordinary children"!! A lot will hinge on what "need" means.

. . Tomorrow we will hear the intervention by the Secretary of State’s lawyer. And our lawyer will be able to reply.

ChrisSquire2 Fri 16-Nov-12 12:04:26

Today's RTT has (p.3): Going head-to-head in court over new school.

ChrisSquire2 Fri 16-Nov-12 13:52:24

College and Council move forward with new school plans (Press release Nov 15):

Residents, staff and students at Richmond upon Thames College will be asked to have their say on proposals to establish a new centre of educational excellence on the Egerton Road site, including a new secondary school.

This announcement follows agreement in principle from the College governors and Council on initial proposals considering the future shape of the college provision, a new secondary school, new improved community resources and exploring the possibility of new purpose built accommodation for Clarendon School.

Earlier this year, a feasibility study was commissioned to consider options available for the Egerton Road site, including future improvements to college buildings and the investigation of a new school which will meet future increases in demand for secondary school places. The aim would be to have the new secondary school by 2017.

David Ansell, Richmond upon Thames College Principal, said:

We shall be consulting with students, parents, staff and the local community over the development of the Egerton Road site and the future vision for the College. We are commencing a consultation process where we will be presenting initial plans for the site over the next few weeks. We expect that the consultation period will continue to March 2013 with a final decision being made by Easter . .

gmsing2 Fri 16-Nov-12 17:56:58

Judicial Review Decision:

Unfortunately Justice Sales has passed his judgement in the high court and decided against RISC and the BHA. The full details of the decision will not be available for about 2 weeks. The legal system is a complex one and the RISC core team will meet shortly to determine where we go from here after having received the full judgement and discussed it with our lawyers.

RISC would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to everyone who has given their time and resources to assist us throughout this long campaign. We are a local group who have always maintained the highest level of respect for the Catholic parents seeking adequate school places for their children living alongside us and that has not changed.

The leader of RISC, Jeremy Rodell, said "Obviously there will be a lot of people in Richmond who will be disappointed with this judgement. Our key point all along has been that it's simply wrong to set up a new state school in the borough that will discriminate against most local children simply because of their parents' beliefs. That remains just as wrong now as it was before. Clearly we respect the outcome on these legal points, and I would like to wish the school well. But this is not a good result for inclusivity and fairness."

RISC will get in touch with our supporters with further details as soon as possible.See more

Heathclif Fri 16-Nov-12 18:10:24

Disappointing, but then it was a decision that could go either way. It will now be interesting to see how admissions to St RRs pan out. From what I have heard people are putting it down the preferences but naturally preferring, even without the uncertainty of JR, the established options in spite of the journey / being out of borough etc. I do hope non Catholic parents aren't going to find themselves forced there with no other option as happened with the extra class at Sacred Heart. just to establish and preserve this "desired" school for such time as Catholic parents are unable to get in elsewhere / decide it is actually desirable.

Plus whether they are Catholic or non Catholic I hope they walk to and from school and don't throw any litter in my garden! I'm going to install a webcan, and speed dial to Andy Cole wink

Heathclif Fri 16-Nov-12 18:28:29

Press release by Catholic church So this was a case bought by the BHA and it's "acolyte" to further it's secular agenda nationally whilst Lord True nobly defended his actions on behalf of "localism" and not at all "a victory not just for Richmond Council and the Diocese of Westminster, but more importantly, for all those seeking to send their children to a church school. The Diocese of Westminster would like to thank Richmond Council for its support over the last few months"

NorthSheenisNice Fri 16-Nov-12 18:31:39

very disappointing.

One more vote for the lib dems in this house over the whole debacle

muminlondon2 Fri 16-Nov-12 18:44:29

Disappointing but it's clarified the law. It does highlight that there are different routes for establishing religious schools while it's now impossible to get a mainstream LA maintained school set up without a sponsor and without competition. Catholics are very fortunate to have had support from the council. I expect that the Hounslow schools will need to change their admission policies now to attract Catholic pupils from other boroughs.

ChrisSquire2 Sat 17-Nov-12 01:20:54

High Court rules Council decision on Catholic Schools Lawful (council press release):

Richmond Council is today delighted that the High Court of Justice has ruled that the Council’s decision on the future of the Clifden Site is lawful.

In May the Council’s Cabinet agreed to a proposal by the RC Dioceses of Westminster and Southwark that the Council-owned Clifden Site should be leased as the site for a new Catholic voluntary-aided secondary school and a Catholic primary school. This decision followed a lengthy period of consultations, which went well beyond statutory requirements. In the final consultation sixty seven per cent of parents and residents who responded agreed that the site should be used to establish a new, five-form entry Catholic Secondary School with fifty seven percent in favour of the primary school proposal.

Since this decision was made the British Humanist Association (BHA), which is opposed to faith schools, has, with support from Mr Jeremy Rodell, of the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (RISC), taken legal action to have the democratic decision overturned, taking their case to the High Court of Justice.

In a one and a half day hearing at the Court, the Judge reviewed all the evidence submitted by both parties and concluded that Richmond Council did act within the law when it considered and approved the Diocese of Westminster’s proposals for the schools.

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“I am delighted with today’s outcome which supports the clear, democratic decision that was taken locally in pursuit of the previously longstanding policy of both parties on the Council. It will come as an enormous relief to the hundreds of families whose hopes for their children’s education has been threatened by this hostile legal maneuvering.

“This Council set out a full programme of genuinely inclusive educational improvement in its Schools White Paper in 2010. Working in partnership with our schools and Colleges, we have acted, and will continue to act, to create further capacity and to sustain and raise quality, and choice across our secondary system. This programme includes working with schools on standards, facilitating sixth forms and providing new secondary and primary schools and places. It also includes honouring the Council’s longstanding promise to seek to enable a Catholic secondary in the borough and so give local Catholic families what almost every other Borough in London already does.

“Over the past year, the British Humanist Association has elbowed its way into Richmond upon Thames with their clear national agenda of hostility to faith schools – their action has been uncaring and unsympathetic to the many people within the Richmond Catholic community who have worked hard to bring their dream of a dedicated secondary school to fruition. It has also totally ignored the parallel action being taken by this Council to provide more places for all. Hundreds of local families have been left uncertain about the future of the school and thousands of pounds of Council Tax payers money has been spent on lawyers. I trust that the BHA will now accept the verdict that they themselves sought and let Richmond get on with building an even better education system for all. A period of silence from certain all too well ventilated local voices would also be welcome.

“I am glad that this uncertainty has come to an end and we look forward to moving forward, working with the Diocese of Westminster to develop plans for the schools.”

LProsser Sat 17-Nov-12 08:40:06

Words really fail me when it comes to Lord True which seems to be what he wants! He is one of the least democratic politicians I've ever come across: he seems to find it acceptable to deny the existence of thousands of the people he is supposed to serve just because they disagree with him - not only on this but also on other issues such as Twickenham station. If there had really been "parallel action" to provide more secondary school places for everyone else there might have been less concern about a Catholic school but we still have the inclusive Turing House School proposal facing considerable uncertainty about whether it can find a site, and only the vague prospect of another school being squeezed onto the same site as the sixth form college in another 5 years time from the Council. Whether or not RISC are able to afford to appeal the decision, there still seems to be a lot of lobbying to do to get enough inclusive secondary school places for all. I hope more parents of younger children will now wake up to the issue and get involved.

minglemingle Sat 17-Nov-12 11:52:32

What a sad decision for our localc hildren. In fact for all UK children.
I did not think my opinion of Lord True could got any lower but that bit he said about "silence from all too well ventilated local voices" is particularly low and discurteous even for him.
I feel very proud of the huge effort and dedication of those involved in RISC. The one good thing from this sad issue is how there has been excellently run opposition, always with integrity. I am grateful for all the hard work down truly with local people's best interest at heart. Thank you so much

As to the ruling, we need to see the details but at the risk of covering old ground, there is clearly a MASSIVE logic gap here !!
If a totally excluding school is justified in our so-called democracy then all aspects of the school admission process should fit in with this divisive ethos.
I.E. there should be clearly 2 separate admission forms for parents to apply to Secondary school.
One: for those who believe in inclusive schooling (with the options of Orleans, Academies,Waldegrave). And a separate form....Two: for those who believe in excluding schools and division based on a parents beliefs ( with only excluding schools listed, new st Richards, Oratory, Gumley etc)

Actually it is not a logic gap, it a logic Abyss. One set of parents who want division as an option but also still access to our lovely inclusive schools too. You could argue a principal is right but then still keep both options open, when it suits you but only give one option to the rest of parents. Wow, its so unjust its utterly depressing.

On a more positive note is there any any hope in the future that were a reasonable bunch to take over Richmond Council that this unjust school decision could ever be reversed?? Once such a school is formed is it ever possible to re-claim it?
Why should us taxpayers fund a school for eternity that excludes our own chidren and gives higher priority to a catholic family living in Scotland, over us??

ChrisSquire2 Sat 17-Nov-12 12:23:25

minglemingle: The site is to be leased to the Catholics for 125 years, so at the end of that term it could be used for another purpose, provided they have not been able to buy the freehold - I don't know what rules apply to this.

As to why, I can only recommend a study of the tangled history of publicly funded schooling in this country: a long series of compromises have bought us to where we are now, rather than any single act of intent and design:

‘ . . It was with Forster’s Education Act of 1870 that we have the real birth of the modern system of education in England . . (it) assured the existence of a dual system - voluntary denominational schools and nondenominational state schools.

The act required the establishment of elementary schools nationwide. These were not to replace or duplicate what already existed but supplement those already run by the churches, private individuals and guilds . . (they) were often called " board schools" (and) had to be non-denominational . . (nondenominational ) Religious instruction was an integral part of the school curriculum but was not compulsory. Since 1870 Voluntary Schools declined except Roman Catholic Schools because Boards Schools provided better buildings and higher pay for teachers . . ‘

BayJay2 Sat 17-Nov-12 13:36:03

Like so many other people I'm saddened by this decision, which seems very much against the zeitgeist. It's frustrating that we will have to wait another 2 weeks for the judge's reasoning, because by then the media attention will have moved on, and a lot of victory flags will have been waved.

On a positive note, if it wasn't for RISC, and the many local people who have supported their campaign, and continue to support it, the issue of inclusive admissions would not have been raised so prominently. The RISC committee can be very proud of themselves for uniting people from so many backgrounds over this one common theme, and I still think the day will come before too much longer when all of our schools, whatever their denomination, are open to everyone from all faiths and none.

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