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 Thu 25-Apr-13 09:47:30

I am amused by the idea of Sir RR becoming a bastion of European thought, the study of "the great evil England has wrought over the years" but also combining this with Catholic moral teaching.If this is really what the parents wanted they should have set up a free school rather than signing up for the only secondary school in the Borough that will be forced to teach the Michael Gove 1066-2000 what made Britain great curriculum. Good luck with that retrorobot (curious name by the way) - I wonder why you thought keeping out non-Catholics would help with this intellectual tradition.

I hope the concerns of residents with regard to the planning issues get addressed adequately tonight - it is obviously far from ideal to be opening a school before the adult education centre has moved out and highlights again why rushing into this when the places are not needed this year is daft.

LegoIsMyFriend Thu 25-Apr-13 18:31:23

Wow. I've been following this for a while and can't believe how rude Retro robot is being. Has the standard of debate really fallen so low that he/she thinks a valid point is made simply by insulting others?

ChrisSquire2 Thu 25-Apr-13 18:47:14

Schools in the most affluent parts of England are failing pupils from poor families, who are getting better exam results in deprived areas, the Government warns today [Apr 23]:

. . In an interview with The Independent, the Liberal Democrat minister announced plans to ensure his party’s £2.5bn-a-year pupil premium scheme makes more impact. Until now, Ofsted, the schools inspectorate, has focused mainly on overall exam results rather than the “attainment gap” between pupils from low-income and more affluent families. It will now monitor the gap in every school.

Under the scheme, the 1.8 million pupils on free school meals or who have qualified for them in the past six years, attract £900 a year of funding so their school can give them special help. New Department for Education figures show that 42 % of those eligible got five GCSEs with grades A* to C in 2011-12, compared with 67 % from better-off families – a national “attainment gap” of 25 percentage points. However, the majority of local authorities with the lowest levels of deprivation have . . a big “attainment gap” between them and other children.

. . Mr Laws said his goal was to halve the 25-point “attainment gap” nationally . . [he] has written to about 100 schools in the 15 areas with a big gap to ask them to ensure the pupil premium money is used to close it . . Ofsted will no longer award schools the coveted “outstanding” status if they are failing to close the attainment gap. From September, such schools could be classed as “requiring improvement”. If they do not improve, they will have to bring in a headteacher from a school that has closed the gap to advise them. If they still do not get better, schools could eventually be closed by the Government.

Any view on which if any of our schools might be among the ‘naughty 100’? Bucks, Dorset, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Surrey and Hampshire are mentioned but nowhere in London so it maybe that Richmond’s schools do OK on this measure.

muminlondon2 Thu 25-Apr-13 19:19:55

So David Laws' goal is to 'halve the 25-point “attainment gap” nationally?' What a ridiculously crude measure, with no reference to prior attainment.

Waldegrave exceeds that gap if you look at GCSEs alone for advantaged/disadvantaged. RPA is a star performer and has already halved the gap.

But wait. RPA had 9% of its disadvantaged pupils achieving Ebacc in 2012, yet in general only 10% of all top attainers and 3% of all middle attainers achieve this (probably just one pupil). Meanwhile Waldegrave gets 24% of its disadvantaged pupils through. And at RPA, while disadvantaged pupils make better progress in English than non-disadvantaged, RPA's English progress rates for all pupils were lower than other borough schools on this score.

(To be fair to RPA, the DfE is now obsessed with this raft of new targets and the 'progress' target is harder for those of lower prior attainment to sustain. So that's another flawed measure.)

All the deprived areas cited by David Laws in the article were targeted by the City Challenge programme, BECAUSE there is a high level of deprivation. In fact, it was noted in evaluation reports that the scheme was successful where schools shared a common identity. Perversely, the equality gap is less marked there because there aren't many affluent people in the state schools there. Whereas there's a lot more money in leafy areas so the gaps between richest and poorest are probably wider. Throwing money at schools, not deprived areas, seems pointless to me.

An important observation from the DfE's City Challenge evaluation:

''[after 2008] it was unfortunate that the overall objective of raising attainment for disadvantaged children was translated into a focus on narrowing/closing attainment gaps, because gaps do not necessarily reflect the level of attainment of the disadvantaged pupils.

David Laws is a plonker.

LProsser Thu 25-Apr-13 21:09:51

I'm enjoying the planning meeting on council website webcam - it's quite surreal. Noone seems to understand quite what's going on. Are the canopy and door sneaky spoilers or just temporary?! Who knows?! One hour on and noone seems any the clearer....

Heathclif Thu 25-Apr-13 21:25:18

Lottie I thought the discussion of whether the canopy would wreck the appearance of the shitty old wreck sleek lines of the building is particularly surreal but it does look as if it's a complete snookering of due process

LProsser Thu 25-Apr-13 21:31:24

Yes, Cllr. Chappell was on the point of merry explosion during the discussion of the sleek sixties architecture of Block B (or C?) The belated revelation that the Council itself had made the antisocial application which the councillors were trying to find a way of turning down was also funny. The woman who killed her dog the other side of the acoustic fence was a bit worrying in the context of those 30 small children however.

BayJay2 Thu 25-Apr-13 21:37:50

"Cllr. Chappell was on the point of merry explosion..."

I assumed that was because Cllr Burford kept calling the proposed development a 'canape' rather than a 'canopy' smile

Heathclif Thu 25-Apr-13 21:53:19

It was like an episode of "The Thick Of it" I do hope that the new Head was squirming and felt humiliated about being on the receiving end of being told they were disappointed by the school's behaviour as opposed to telling his pupils the same......

LProsser Thu 25-Apr-13 22:48:19

I thought the Boris-headed Head kicked back with his statement that he had only been in post 9 days and could take no responsibility for any attempts to foist "canapes" on the neighbours. But I would be terrified of putting my little children in a playground next to a house full of people who are probably a bit depressed and volatile and seem to overlook it from their bedrooms. Suppose one of them flipped at the noise and got hold of a gun?

ChrisSquire2 Fri 26-Apr-13 11:12:47

Webcast: starting at 1h 25m.

Heathclif Fri 26-Apr-13 12:14:56

Except that according to the Consultant when he spoke to the neighbours it was the Head who was insisting on that site. Obviously we have no idea what was in the mysterious last minute item that justified the siting. Was it an addendum?was it a letter? another source of mystery for the Committee wink I thought the Chairman challenging Clare Head on what she was brandishing was especially amusing after it had been the cause of the "should we adjourn" furore just 15 mins before. I think I may have shouted at the computer screen at that point so close had it come to pantomime grin

I suppose that the Head could be excused not realising the implications of the siting. It little matters what the true nature of the risk, I didn't know about the woman stabbing the dog but the drug raids don't surprise me, several of the residents always look very "chilled", the opposite of any sort of threat, once parents hear of it they will be extremely concerned.

Also 9 days gives you chance to do the common courtesy of replying to a letter.

muminlondon2 Sat 27-Apr-13 12:22:44

I hope they can resolve this. The residents are clearly upset but I have sympathy for the school - and the primary phase at least has community places. Batley Grammar school was told by Ofsted it needs to improve by 'extending the use of outdoor learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage'.

Interesting to see a list of capital costs for free schools - along with start-up costs secondaries such as Kings Science in Bradford and Bristol Free School have cost about £10-11 million. That's half the cost of Teddington or Twickenham Academy rebuilds - although false economies with facilities or planning compromises would cost more in the long run if the schools can't deliver the curriculum or are undersubscribed. I don't want to see StRR costing more than estimated because that might impact on other Richmond schools.

LProsser Sun 28-Apr-13 22:36:56

I can't really understand why Sir RR has to exactly line up its reception playground with the only two houses that directly adjoin the site. I would have thought they could have agreed that it needn't be in that location after the first year or so anyway. The Teddington rebuild cost over £30 million in the end although there were no sleek sixties buildings that could be recycled with the addition of strategically placed "canapes"! That was all supposed to be down to Lib Dem incompetence of course so will be interesting to know if Twickenham Academy and Hampton Academy came in on budget as it's the same builders I think, They are also building all the new sixth forms.

muminlondon2 Sun 28-Apr-13 23:49:02

Anyone see this?

Roman Catholic Church 'to take over secular schools'

Other religious organisations including the CofE have already become involved as sponsors of academies. The line between 'faith designation' and 'faith ethos' is unclear, as admission policies for either can include faith feeder schools or other criteria. There is little information for parents about which schools are in such an arrangement or what kind of influence parents have over such a decision (applies to all sponsors).

ChrisSquire2 Mon 29-Apr-13 10:38:46

My post ChrisSquire2 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:33:52 on the shortage of school places in London prompted me to look for the latest birth rate stats, which I found at the London Dashboard: Births and Fertility Rates, Borough] published October 2012. Updated annually.

Richmond borough’s 10-year increase [23 %] is relatively modest. Other boroughs have much larger increases. E.g. Hounslow: + 49 %

There is also a London population forecast:

The total population of London on Census day, 27 March 2011 was 8.174 million. The population of London increased by 1,001,800 (14%) between the 2001 and 2011 Censuses, equivalent to over 100,000 per year . . The population is projected to increase by 930,000 by 2021 (an increase of 11% from the 2011 Census).

muminlondon2 Mon 29-Apr-13 14:03:24

The council seems to be on top of demand for primary school places - although it may not be meeting all preferences (and there are currently waiting lists). There are about 110 new places at St RR and the free schools this year, and at least 60 more places in expansions for 2014.

I did see more news for GEMS though. They are the 'preferred education provider' for a new split site primary academy in Wokingham:

This appears to be a new academy that the council is setting up rather than a parent-led free school bid, as these schools are opening in September 2013.

So far there has only been one other profit-making education chain set up an academy or free school (IES in Suffolk). Do you think that if this were to be in Richmond we would see these proposals and the sponsor scrutinised publicly and voted on by councillors? I had a quick look but couldn't see documentation on the 'robust interview and selection process' that happened in Wokingham.

BayJay2 Mon 29-Apr-13 15:30:53

"The council seems to be on top of demand for primary school places"

It certainly looks like Hampton parents are a lot happier this year now that they have their new school. I haven't heard anything from the Sheen area, so hopefully Thomson House is helping there.

From what I've heard there are still children without places in Central Twickenham, and some Teddington families have been assigned places quite a long way from home. RISC have published a list of comments here. It sounds like the catchment of the 10 St. RR community places was less than 400m.

muminlondon2 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:34:04

BayJay by central Twickenam do you mean around the Green? As with StRR, Archdeacon Cambridge only has 30% reserved community places. While last year there were 90 places at Orleans Infants, this year there are 60 places there and 60 at St Stephen's - so although there are more places in general, fewer are at community schools.

The dropping of the link system may have affected preferences. The retention rate in KS2 of previously unlinked community primaries seems to be much higher now, so perhaps conversely application numbers have dropped for church schools. If so, does RISC have any information as to whether the governors at Archdeacon are open to having a more inclusive policy? I don't know how far those filling foundation places are travelling to school.

muminlondon2 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:41:47

Near Sheen Holy Trinity has been rebuilt and seems to have changed its admission policies - before it prioritised all practising Christians then attendance at its nursery over distance, this year it has a limit of 30 foundation places and no nursery criterion. So that may have helped too.

BayJay2 Mon 29-Apr-13 18:32:29

"do you mean around the Green?"

No, children around the Green usually get into either Archdeacon or Trafalgar.

I'm talking about the area between Heath Road bridge and St. RR, (and I think there's also a problem in the area between St. RR and Radnor Gardens). I think (from what I've heard parents say) there's been a problem for community admissions in those areas for a few years. The 10 places at St. RR will certainly have helped (and I assume St. RR was asked to provide them specifically to help with this issue). However, they clearly weren't enough on their own. At least one of those families quoted lives just 400m from St. RR, put it as first choice, and didn't get in (and in fact was one of the 8% of families that didn't get any of their choices).

You're right that more community places at AC would help. RISC are planning to respond to admissions consultations at established church schools so I expect it will be raised when the opportunity arises.

If the GEMS primary is approved, that would also help.

BayJay2 Mon 29-Apr-13 18:38:27

"I don't know how far those filling foundation places are travelling to school."
AC has a 2.5Km limit on both its foundation places and sibling places. However I don't know how far the foundation places usually stretch. Church schools don't routinely publish their catchment distances, so you'd have to phone the school for a definitive answer.

muminlondon2 Mon 29-Apr-13 19:49:41

'If the GEMS primary is approved, that would also help.'

Only if parents actively chose it. The problem with this proposal is that (a) I don't see evidence of parent involvement or backing - unlike e.g. the proposal for Turing House (news, expressions of interest, etc.), (b) there has been no competition between sponsors: it was based on a speculative bid from rival profit-making chain IES which may have had a completely different curriculum and business case, and (c) the site, curriculum, admissions policy, etc. are unknown.

If this were go through as a partnership with the LA, parents and councillors would need to know about its track record in managing other schools. I've made the point before that it is hard to judge when prep schools do not sit SATs or get inspected by Ofsted. Its private secondary exam results (here and here) appear to be lower than most schools in Richmond (50%/56% for GCSEs, 26%/3% for Ebacc) and those schools are undersubscribed according to Edubase and 2012 census (one is only one-third full several years after being taken over).

BayJay2 Mon 29-Apr-13 20:20:52

"Only if parents actively chose it."

Well actually, if it was part of the admissions system, if parents didn't choose it then they could potentially still be allocated to it.

However, I wasn't making a comment on whether GEMs was desirable or not, but only that more community places would be welcomed by families in the central Twickenham area.

ChrisSquire2 Wed 01-May-13 11:27:42

The London Datastore publishes GLA Population Projections 2012 Round, Trend Based, Borough SYA annually in December.

It forecasts that the borough population will rise from 188,000 in 2011 to 225,000 in 2041 [20 %]. Greater London’s population will rise from 8.2 million to 10.5 million [28 %]. Hounslow’s will rise from 255,000 to 335,000 [31 %].

It also publishes GLA 2012 Round Population Projections: Intelligence Update 05-2013 which explains the methodology and the difference between this trend-based forecasts and the one based on a forecast of housing supply, the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment [SHLAA].

The SHLAA-based forecast for Richmond is a lot lower: 203,000 in 2041 [+ 8 %].

They write [p. 11]:

. . The SHLAA is much lower than the trend-based projection for many Outer London boroughs, but higher for a band of Inner and East London boroughs. Comparison of the SHLAA-based projections and the assumed development trajectories confirms the expected correlation between development and projected growth.

Where population growth is significantly higher in the SHLAA-based projection, growth can be thought of as being driven by new development. Conversely, where the trend-based projection is significantly higher, recent trends in population change outstrip the modelled capacity for further population increase. In these cases, it can be argued that increased pressure on housing could lead to increasing household sizes. This, in turn, would suggest that the existing SHLAA projection is excessively conservative and a more likely outcome may lie somewhere between the two projections.

The trend-based forecast of borough births falls from a peak of 3000 in 2010 to 2700 in 2017 and a minimum of 2600 in 2034 rising to 2700 in 2039. Hounslow’s births will peak at 4800 in 2014, then fall to 4600 in 2020 and rise again to 4800 in 2039.

London, which seems over-crowded already, is set to become a lot more crowded year by year - more like a third world capital in fact.

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