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 ....

muminlondon2 Sat 29-Jun-13 00:08:58

The Guardian reports on the number of applications for faith schools to open 2014.

I have found the FOI request on impact assessments. Not read them through but they include the Maharishi school and RET school in Bristol with mixed impact especially the risk of taking non-FSM pupils from other schools while leaving them with surplus places until 2017.

I'm sure the media will pick over some of this.

muminlondon2 Sat 29-Jun-13 10:53:55

List of 2014 applications is here including lst of all applications (still no details on names of sponsors if you look at the Twickenham and Teddington Free School (primary).

ChrisSquire2 Sat 29-Jun-13 12:29:54

ThisIsLocalLondon has Plans to empty North Kingston Centre to make room for new school "at advanced stage":

. . [however] it [is] unlikely the school [will] open in time for the September 2014 intake, as had originally been planned . .

LProsser Sun 30-Jun-13 11:51:56

Mum in London - Do you know if any other info has been requested? The Guardian article mentions financial data about the costs of each school/proposal and have the impact assessments of schools granted approval in the second and third wave been requested?

Whilst looking at the Guardian website I saw this article about the Discovery primary Free School being given an inadequate rating by Ofsted:

Interesting to compare it with the impact assessment of the same school just released. This is apparently a primary school with a Montessori approach and only 48 children (presumably aged 4 -6) as it is only in its second year. Ofsted are worried that it is failing and says the children are in danger of not learning to read, but are presumably judging it by the same standards as other primary schools rather than allowing for a difference of approach which may mean that the school doesn't believe in doing any formal teaching to children of that age? Interesting and makes me wonder whether "parental choice" as clearly expressed in the impact assessment is only going to go so far if you are a Montessori/"they don't even start until they're seven in Scandanavia" fan! On the other hand maybe they really are a useless bunch but if so how did they get approved in the first place?

muminlondon2 Sun 30-Jun-13 12:39:53

The school census 2013 data has been published (zip file). The number of pupils in current Years 6, 5 and 4 in Richmond primary schools are (by my calculation):

Y6 - 1,681
Y5 - 1,846
Y4 - 1,911

Table 12 is 'to follow later', which would give percentage attending from other boroughs - some may be attending faith primary schools. Last year's figures were found (in Additional Tables 1) had Y5 (this year's Y6?) - 15.4%, Y4 - 11.2%, Y3 - 12.2%. So rough estimate of Richmond resident pupils at primaries applying for secondary schools is:

Y6 (2013 entry) - 1,422
Y5 (2014 entry) - 1,639
Y4 (2015 entry) - 1,677

(The figure of 1,458 applications this year suggests a few applicatons from residents at private prep schools: the fact that some were allocated StRR suggests most were having a pop at Waldegrave and/or Tiffin and didn't qualify.)

muminlondon2 Sun 30-Jun-13 12:48:44

The numbers in Richmond primary schools by denomination (includes all out-borough residents) reflect the proportionately higher increase in numbers at community primaries. The pressure of numbers alone would therefore not fill places at St RR until there is a change in attraction of/admission policies in RC schools in Hounslow, H&F, K&C, etc.:

Y6 - RC: 251; CofE: 418; community: 1,012
Y5 - RC: 263; CofE: 485; community: 1,098
Y4 - RC: 260; CofE: 485; community: 1,166

(Does that add up right?!)

In this year's Y7 Twickenham Academy and RPA are most undersubscribed. Last year there were 120 allocations to those schools last year which may align with number of unfilled places, but this year (see RISC's FOI request) there were only 75.

In Kingston there are just over 200 pupils in north Kingston primaries Latchmere, Fern Hill and St Paul's in Y6 and Y5, but 265 pupils in Y4 (2015 entry). So the timing of the north Kingston school would not be critical for 2014 to Kingston pupils but it will still be hard for some Richmond pupils to get into Grey Court.

muminlondon2 Sun 30-Jun-13 13:01:04

LProsser was looking at pupil data stats and missed your post but the FOI request for impact assessments dates back to October 2011 and I remember seeing it reported last year that the Informational Commissioner overruled the Dfe yet Gove didn't publish them. It might have come from the NUT. So no doubt he is sticking to the letter of the request as of October 2011.

The impact assessment on the Discovery school specifically mentions the risk of unqualified teachers and that's clearly a problem in the Ofsted report (especially the headteacher) . Interesting that few Montessori free schools have been approved since.

muminlondon2 Sun 30-Jun-13 14:30:19

My 2013 school census link didn't work - it's here:

muminlondon2 Mon 01-Jul-13 15:05:31

Some interesting news about for-profit provider GEMS. The background is of course that GEMS had taken over a bid to run a split site three-form entry primary school in Twickenham/Teddington (originally prepared by Swedish chain IES by their UK manager) that was rejected in May.

It recently bid to run a split site primary academy in Wokingham after apparently being selected as a preferred academy provider in a competition with other (undisclosed) applicants. Michael Gove has instead decided that a trust formed by two converter academies in Surrey should run the school.

GEMS had also put forward proposals for free school secondaries in Reading and Marylebone but all proposals were rejected.

The company had begun talks under the Labour government as far back as 2005 to be an academy sponsor but pulled out after bad publicity regarding one of its local UK fee-paying schools.

ChrisSquire2 Mon 01-Jul-13 21:10:21

The Independent has: Cash for classrooms: Michael Gove plans to let firms run schools for profit. Exclusive: Details leaked by Department for Education insiders concerned that he is going too fast and too far . .

They are worried that the new setup will divert cash from classrooms, limit the availability of "expensive" subjects such as music and science and end the public service vocation of teachers. They want to see an end to the secrecy over the proposed reforms, which have not been publicly announced.

Mr Gove, according to senior DfE sources, is considering the controversial financial revamp of his academy schools programme after advisers predicted the growth of his reforms will stall unless operators and sponsors are given new financial incentives.

In a further radical measure aimed at boosting the economic attraction of academies, the Education Secretary is also examining proposals for academy schools who control large sites to be able to sell off or sub-let former council-owned land, with the money used to rebuild or improve schools . .

muminlondon2 Wed 03-Jul-13 07:37:19

Interesting that it mentions GEMS - they don't seem to need encouragement to try to enter the market but as Michael Gove has turned them down so far perhaps they are not the private providers he would favour.

The most successful independent schools are run by charitable trusts, e.g. GSDT - not those run by venture-capital backed profit-making companies which risk going bankrupt.

muminlondon2 Wed 03-Jul-13 07:57:26

Although the value of the real estate is the main motivating factor for venture capital groups - Lord Nash was part of Sovereign group which made a profit on the Falcons Prep chain of schools when it was sold on to a propert investment company.

BayJay2 Wed 03-Jul-13 14:33:20

Before you all get too worked up smile... from the BBC: Profit-making academies ruled out by government

muminlondon2 Wed 03-Jul-13 19:50:41

The headline is reassuring but the detail is not. Why was the reclassification of academies and change of legal status previously described as a 'radical step', a 'risk' and an interim stage to a 'longer term direction of travel'?

But knowing the latest on GEMS made me wonder if it was a recycled news story that hadn't moved further.

Heathclif Fri 05-Jul-13 10:16:15

I'm not sure you can hold out GEMS as representative or proof a private company can't bring something positive to running a school. I certainly wouldn't be sending my daughters to a GEMS school, here or overseas, but I would consider Radnor House who with the venture capital firm that invested in them are not going to go bankrupt any time soon. They have clearly looked at where there is parental dissatisfaction with the academic schools run by charitable trusts and seems, from what I have heard, to be delivering to parents on pastoral care and a closer relationship with them. It majors on that point on it's website

"We have created an environment in which our students are nurtured and cared for. Class sizes are small and parents always have a warm welcome, being made to feel at ease to discuss the progress of their sons and daughters. We aim for Radnor House to be amongst the leading independent schools, not just in London butalso nationally. A dedicated team of professionals ensures that there is a perfect mix of experience and dynamism to bring out the best in our students whilst ensuring that we are constantly celebrating every individual."

The point for me about private sector involvement is that we have to be cynical, and on the look out for the profiteering and the unscrupulous but also acknowledge some business models might put the education of children first and have something to offer, then the issue is surely value for money and quality versus other organisations. I think I would rather my local academy was taken over by the same venture capitalists as Radnor House (who have a business model that empowers the staff of it's schools) than the Catholic Church for instance .

muminlondon2 Fri 05-Jul-13 17:54:11

I'd like to be cynical and say that any building housing Pope's grotto is an attractive property investment, but as a school it sounds fine. Parents are free to send their children to Radnor House or not. Paying school fees is a risk, choosing a school backed by venture capital is a risk, but if it all goes pear-shaped you have other options, including state schools. The parent is the customer. The customer is king.

But for a sponsored academy, the Government is the customer, not the parent - the school itself does not have a legal status and the parents have no representation.

Private companies should not control state services, but they can supply them (for school improvement projects, for instance, as in the London Challenge). The Government is often not an intelligent customer and the little people with no voice are the ones who suffer.

Heathclif Sat 06-Jul-13 11:45:30

mum I agree in principal but sadly as we know in this borough LAs are often not very good at meeting parent's needs either. Given where we are as a result of two governments I wouldn't dismiss private business involvement in schools as always a bad thing, ideally new schools will be like Turing and parent led but not all parents have the willingness and capability to pull that off and we also need other possible organisations with something to offer, otherwise the way is left clear for a massive expansion of schools controlled by faith organisations. Clearly LBRUT feel that vacuum enough to be turning to GEMS, having already of course fully utilised the faith route as far as public opinion would barely allow, so it is a relief that the D of E have made it clear they are not considered to have something positive to offer. The problem is of course the opaqueness of the process.

muminlondon2 Sat 06-Jul-13 16:21:54

Heathclif, there is no evidence whatsoever that LBRuT council invited GEMS to propose a free school bid. We know it was advertised speculatively by IES and the manager who worked on it took it with her to GEMS and did not withdraw it. She lived in the area.

It was Wokingham council that invited bids for a primary - by law an academy - that it was already building. Two of the members of the GEMS Learning Trust (all senior managers of GEMS) would have contacts in Reading/Wokingham through their last employer CfBT which was also based in Reading and had established new schools there. Again, opportunistic.

The council has done as much as it can to expand schools and parents have accepted the inconvenience of bulge classes and expansions in the interests of the wider community. The academies policy is absurdly mistimed in limiting the power of councils to establish new community schools - which have generally been both popular and successful in the borough (LA oversight has been light-touch - management is down to heads and governors). But that is no justification for profit-making in schools any more than encouraging an expansion of faith schools. Neither was a Tory party manifesto pledge and profit-making is not in the coalition agreement nor supported by a majority of voters. However much I agree with you that the Catholic school was unnecessary, it was in the local Tory manifesto.

muminlondon2 Sat 06-Jul-13 16:30:34

Profit-making has failed to deliver significant results in the US after twenty years of charter schools (where, unlike here, they can make a profit). And they have often destabilised local schools.

Heathclif Sun 07-Jul-13 13:20:23

I totally disagree with you that parents have accepted the Councils just in time strategy on school places, it has been a remarkably effective deterrent strategy, making parents feel forced to move or go private in greater numbers than in any other borough of equivalent affluence. It has caused immense stress to families. I can assure you it is a source of immense frustration and dissatisfaction, and there are several families inCentral Twickenham who find themselves with twenty or more parents ahead of them in all waiting lists for a school place in the Autumn. This when they agreed to the creation of 20 exclusive Catholic primary places they agreed were not needed or desired in the centre of Twickenham. They force parents to bear the consequences of their failure to accurately forecast demand, instead cobbling together reactively classes in church halls at a distance from the school etc. quite possibly running foul of the audit commissions required policies on having sufficient spare capacity to meet the needs of parents. They also allowed three secondary schools to descend into failure. Not a record I regard as exemplary.

I among talking about schools run for profit, I am talking about private organisations stepping in to sponsor schools, at a time when we are stuck with government policy determining that new schools require sponsors. I am making the point that whilst we may have concerns about a company like GEMS that doesn't mean all private businesses should be tarred with the same brush, there may well be other private businesses that would have something to offer our children.

Heathclif Sun 07-Jul-13 13:21:41

Sorry wayward ipad I am NOT talking about schools being run for profit.

muminlondon2 Sun 07-Jul-13 13:41:34

I think Radnor House knows how to manage its money. But if it had been interested in creating a charitable trust to run academy schools perhaps we would have heard about it by now. It will get three times as much revenue in school fees as it would in state funding and has an attractive property investment so I don't blame it for sticking to its own business model.

The inconvenience is for those of us with children in primary schools that have had their arms twisted to take bulge classes and expand permanently. 12 months of living in a building site is a sacrifice. Meanwhile we have less than two years to run of this government - but the sposor has control for at least seven years and assets are transferred for 125 years at a peppercorn rent. It's not a short-term proposition.

chris the financial figures are here: start-up funding up to and including first year and (incomplete) capital costs.

The most expensive school locally is the Reach Academy which has received over £2 million pre-opening and in its first year for its 90 pupils.

The most expensive school per places have been at a Jewish free primary, e.g. ten times the average spend per pupil in an established school (it has 15 pupils). Bulge classes are much better value for the taxpayer, and more inclusive.

muminlondon2 Sun 07-Jul-13 14:10:57

when they agreed to the creation of 20 exclusive Catholic primary places they agreed were not needed or desired in the centre of Twickenham ... They also allowed three secondary schools to descend into failure

You are talking about two different administrations over 10-15 years but I agree with a lot of this. Both parties have done good and bad things. The chidren services staff have merely followed the agenda set by politicians but they have come a long way since being in special measures under the LibDems 10 years ago. And we we did get two new primaries which are successful and popular and lots of new buildings. But also controversial choices of academy sponsor in Twickenham and Teddington. Both parties in power have been hamstrung by central government but obsessed with their own 'parishes' and/or vanity projects.

LProsser Mon 08-Jul-13 12:30:07

It now seems as if the Egerton Road site may be going to contain Haymarket Media aswell as a sixth form college, a new secondary school and part of a special school. Even more crowded but Lord True seems keen! The Village green application is being heard on 15th July which, if granted, would limit the scope to build or put a multi use games area on that part of Craneford Way fields.

The proposal to build 250 residential units on the current Teddington studios site also has big implications for school places in Teddington. The houses would be much closer to Teddington School than many of those who currently attend so would displace even more central and north Teddington children. The site is in one of the many current blackspots for primary places. I know of children living down by Teddington Lock who are already having to go to Stanley, but this year now Stanley has not been an option even for families living closer to it in central Teddington who are now being offered Buckingham in Hampton.

ChrisSquire2 Mon 08-Jul-13 12:45:12

The Guardian has: New national curriculum to introduce fractions to five-year-olds: According to final versions, pupils will also be expected to study computer programming in their first year of school . .

The article summarises the changes by subject area. The details are in The national curriculum in England Framework document July 2013. 223 pages = 59,541 words = something light to read on the beach!

This thread is not accepting new messages.