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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

Live chat with London Mayoral candidates Jenny Jones (Green), Siobhan Benita (Independent) and Lawrence Webb (UKIP), Tuesday 1st May, 12pm-1pm

(146 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 27-Apr-12 14:14:44

Following on from Ken and Boris's webchats you said you would like us to invite the remaining mayoral candidates (excluding the BNP) in for live webchats.

So far, the Independent candidate Siobhan Benita, Green party candidate Jenny Jones and UKIP candidate Lawrence Webb have accepted, we're very pleased to announce that they will be joining us at MNHQ on Tuesday 1 May, 12:00pm-1pm.

Siobhan joined the Civil Service in 1996 and worked at the very heart of Government for over 15 years. She lives with her husband and two daughters in New Malden, Kingston.

Jenny Jones is the Green Partys Mayoral candidate and has been a London Assembly Member since its start in 2000. Before entering politics, Jones worked as an archaeologist, studying carbonised plant remains, mostly in the Middle East.

Lawrence Webb, has lived and worked in London for most his life except for a brief stint spent working overseas. Before entering politics, Webb was a self-employed electrician. He was also in the Territorial Army for eight years.

Join us for the webchat and make your voice heard about what you want to see from the capital's next Mayor. Siobhan, Jenny and Lawrence are keen to hear your views and answer your questions. As ever, if you can't make it, please post up your advance questions here.



smiffy21 Mon 21-May-12 13:12:42

The school places / planning debate is getting further discussion with some Lib Dem councillors at the bottom of this thread here:

jifnotcif Thu 03-May-12 14:41:48

In fact I'm going to vote for her (much as I love Boris and really don't want Ken anywhere near County Hall despite being a labour supporter).

jifnotcif Thu 03-May-12 14:39:44

I think building more, smaller schools can only be a good thing. And if Siobahn can encourage that, so much the better. It will reduce overcrowding as well, while people squeeze into flats to get near to the school of their choice.

Betelguese Wed 02-May-12 23:00:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsMicawber Wed 02-May-12 20:55:48

Yes - vol aided schools are (almost?) always faith schools. She has to be vague as all she can technically do is lobby. It is essentially a council issue.

Having said that, I bloody well hope she gets her lobbying hat on and gets us some more schools!!

AgentSmith Wed 02-May-12 15:37:11

MrsMicawber nice one for writing to her on school expansion.

It's good that she got back to you quickly.

Her response seems pretty vague to me. She doesn't address the 'voluntary aided schools' (this means church schools, right?) issue at all, or the issue of how to deal with NIMBYs which some others raised in the chat.

(She probably gets my vote though, as none of the others seem to care at all about the school places crisis)

MrsMicawber Wed 02-May-12 14:03:40

I emailed Siobhan last night.

Dear Siobhan,

Many thanks for taking the time to reply for me on Mumsnet. I wonder if you would be willing to clarify what you said.

I hope that means that post election, whoever wins, more schools will be built.

I also firmly believe that any voluntary aided schools with the physical capacity to do so should be creating bumper classes when necessary. At the moment the law allows for them not to use catchment areas when deciding who to accept, and some are specifying catchment areas where the wealthiest guvnors live nowhere near their schools. This cannot go on - local children should go to local schools.

Where do you stand on this issue, and how much of what you are saying will translate into real school places, for my very real children?

Yours sincerely,


Siobhan For Mayor

10:10 PM (15 hours ago)
to me

I’m afraid I can’t speak for other candidates on this issue – I’m the only one who has pledged to make education a priority so I would be lobbying central government to build the new schools that are required.

I also agree with you that local children should go to local schools – my proposed education strategy looks at those issues specifically – improving the selection criteria needs to be addressed urgently which is why I would appoint an education commissioner to oversee the work.


I think she has my vote

bringmesunshine2009 Wed 02-May-12 00:24:43

I am so pro Siobhan, I missed the web chat to my disappointment. I want to know (having already read her manifesto), is she a MNer and what is her name grin

jifnotcif Tue 01-May-12 18:58:57

I do think that Siobhan's idea of limiting schools to two forms will help with the social exclusion issue, as more, smaller schools will mean a lower concentration of impact on the area - so an area that's rough, right by an area that's naice would normally have the naice school expanded. Adding a smaller school in between the two will allow at least one third of the demographic (adding the 3 schools together) to be integrated.

This approach of smaller schools may help, but it won't solve the problem completely.

Betelguese Tue 01-May-12 17:05:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Tue 01-May-12 16:38:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

piji Tue 01-May-12 16:38:40

Betelguese yeah, it's just the same story.

So long as their own kids get an education, they're happy to deny education to other people's kids. It's an "I'm all right, f* you" attitude.

At least your Council had the guts to go ahead - Merton Council has just sacked the Head of Education to appease the NIMBYs, so it looks like they're bending under the pressure.

There's a kind of possibly-racist undertone as well, as you can see from the mumsnet thread

In our case, the NIMBYism is being disguised as concern for the recreation ground - which is the space that the school is expanding onto - but as the whole thing only affects 0.6% (that's not 6% but rather 0.6%) of the recreation ground, it's difficult to see what other motivation (other than their own house prices) the NIMBYs have for opposing school expansion.

The head-teacher and the governers of the school itself are in favour of it.
(repeating the link because I screwed it up last time)

Betelguese Tue 01-May-12 16:23:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

piji Tue 01-May-12 14:59:12


Yes, you're right. It's on the planning issue, rather than the funding issue, that the Mayor's office needs to push through school building and expansion.

The situation - for our area at least - is that the money is there, but there's vocal opposition to school expansion from wealthy residents living right next to the school, who want to keep their house prices high by keeping the school catchment area small (about 200m).

So that's already delayed the school expansion and could affect planning permission - they're lobbying the council and the GLA - they have plenty of money and time to push their views.

- we should have asked them for their favourite yacht... mine is the Oceanus 50, of course! (what else?)

jifnotcif Tue 01-May-12 14:58:32

The mayor does have a lot of power regarding the planning of school places and admissions. It is the mayor that makes the assessment of where more places arae needed, for instance. The mayor might decide that admissions have to be adapted in order to ensure admissions are available on an equal basis.

We're not talking 'education' we are talking 'school places' which comes under strategic planning etc.

Taken from Siobahn's website

By 2015 London will be short of 70,000 primary school places.

I will ensure that 167 new primary schools are built by 2015 and limit new schools to two classes of entry each year to ensure a focus on individual children.

There has been a collapse in faith in the admissions system for Secondary Schools. I will overhaul access to Secondary Schools to make it fairer and more transparent for parents.

You are saying she's not got the power to do this?

Betelguese Tue 01-May-12 14:56:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Betelguese Tue 01-May-12 14:36:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mortlake64 Tue 01-May-12 14:31:26

London Fashion Week: all the candidates skipped my question on that despite direct control of the regional development money which funds it. You'd think that with rediculous levels of youth unemployment, and riots, it would be on the agenda. They would ask themselves: "why are we paying to put people out of work?" No. We sell invisible clothes now and don't you dare question it.

Pay-or-pray was the other big ducked issue I think.

Is there a yacht theme emerging?

jifnotcif Tue 01-May-12 13:37:31

Oh bit late for that isn't it!

jifnotcif Tue 01-May-12 13:36:47

How are you going to address inequality in schools in terms of the social segregation that the current system induces?

piji Tue 01-May-12 13:25:01

slug yes, I noticed that. It's "Pay or Pray" in many areas.

MrsMicawber Tue 01-May-12 13:13:12

and yachts. He likes yachts.

slug Tue 01-May-12 13:11:32

And don't I know it. However, it was worth a punt pointing out that the majority of the population aren't religious.

<<glares evilly at Govey>>

MrsMicawber Tue 01-May-12 13:10:31

slug Michael Gove is pro faith schools. I think that is the be all and end all of that situation.

MrsMicawber Tue 01-May-12 13:09:42

Ha. Bitter laugh.

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