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Trinity Academy Clapham - proposed new Free School

(43 Posts)
OhDearConfused Mon 17-Dec-12 14:32:54

I was just told of this propose new "free" school by a friend. I found their website, but it doesn't really say who is behind it.

Anyone know any more?

Muminwestlondon Mon 17-Dec-12 15:45:07

Sounds like it is group of catholic parents...

chloe74 Mon 17-Dec-12 19:42:47

I imagine they will be strongly supported bu the church. Whilst I am against faith schools it will probably be a really good school.

Muminwestlondon Tue 18-Dec-12 10:36:57

I am also against faith schools but I happened to sit on an admissions panel for an RC school this year. The appellants (most of whose cases failed on distance) were almost without exception incredibly nice, involved, supportive parents whose kids would I am sure be a credit to any school. It was very striking.

OhDearConfused Tue 18-Dec-12 10:55:45

Which of course is why faith schools are so popular and many "find God" at just the right time: not for religious reasons but for social reasons.

Which is one of the reasons I am against faith schools.

Another reason are the quirky view of science some religious folks have. The Dennis Sewell who seems to behind this initiative (mentioned in the post above) seems to have written a book about Darwin. I assume its the same guy.

They are silent on the website as to whether they are going to teach "creationsism" under the guise of science rather than religion - but I wonder....

chloe74 Tue 18-Dec-12 11:53:15

The Church should be disestablished and religious discrimination in school admissions should be stopped. The teaching of "creationism" should be banned in all forms, save for a footnote in history class.

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts...

OhDearConfused Tue 18-Dec-12 12:13:14

Agree entirely.

Shame Gove doesn't.

Foolhardy Free School policy. Moreover, Clapham does not need another school (one opened only a few years ago - one of the first of the Blair Academies) - its just that the middle classes (tend) not to want to go there ... There is also Bolingbrooke just a mile or two away which opened this year (but the gerrymandering there of course means that Claphamites can't get in), there is another new academy in brixton also.

I see a little bit of a Toby Young in this proposal: lets teach classics, expect the "majority" to go to University (and lets mention Oxbridge (ok only Cambridge, but still) for good measure) and that will keep the plebs away.

Muminwestlondon Tue 18-Dec-12 12:13:51

Yes, I googled Sewell too but I thought I better back off as I was becoming a stalker!

My ex colleague had kids at Sacred Heart and Cardinal Vaughan and they seemed to engage the kids in letter writing campaigns about abortion and what not to the PM which infuriated me.

I went to Cardinal Vaughan once and noticed a very large portrait of the Pope in the lobby near a rather smaller one of the Queen. I am not a royalist but for some reason it really annoyed me!

JoanByers Tue 18-Dec-12 14:19:15

There seems to be a kneejerk reaction to slander any free school by saying they are sekrit kreationists.

This Sewell chap seems sane enough to me:

Clearly he is a conservative.

Which will make a change from all the lefty teachers I should think.

Muminwestlondon Tue 18-Dec-12 14:24:26

I think it is a reasonable enough question to ask, if someone is proposing to set up a school funded by the public purse.

JoanByers Tue 18-Dec-12 14:33:32

It doesn't seem to be a question though, it's just innuendo, which, from what I can see, is slung at every potential free school that has any kind of faith links.

If a free school is teaching creationism, that should be stopped.

But as far as I am aware no free schools are, we have just had lots and lots of hysteria from the Guardian & co saying that they might, as if it was akin to training children to hate black people or something like that.

It's not. It's stupid and not science, but all this foaming and frothing about creationism is misplaced and is obstructing people setting up what will be schools that will provide more, and better, educational opportunities than those already available.

The elephant in the room, is not religion in classrooms, it's poor standards and atrocious behaviour across thousands of state schools.

OhDearConfused Tue 18-Dec-12 16:19:29

You are right of course that we don't know if they are planning to do anything of the "creationist" thing (it was me that started that - but only because I saw Mr Sewell wrote a book about Darwin - so really couldn't resist it).

The local schools all have good behaviour standards - so it can't be that that is motivating this campaign.

They set up a website, are in discussinons with the Government, but they don't really say what is wrong with the local provision (other than most schools in the area - as they quite rightly point out - don't teach classics) that they think means another school is needed.

I find it a little strange .

If classics is really what's missing, should they lobby the local schools to get that on the curriculum for those that want it? Wouldn't that make more sense in terms

(For those that don't know, not many of the lcoal schools are under that dreaded local authority control, they have all become academies now).

OhDearConfused Tue 18-Dec-12 16:21:02

yikes - typing!

Try again:

If classics is really what's missing, shouldn't they lobby the local schools to get that on the curriculum for those that want it? Wouldn't that make more sense in terms of use of scare resources in this day and age.

chloe74 Tue 18-Dec-12 16:37:07

Don't get me wrong I am all for free schools, and I expect most of the parent led ones will be excellent, even this one.

I was making a general point that religious discrimination should be banned. I certainly don't blame it on Gove, cant imagine there is enough votes in it yet for any politician. In time ...

My point about banning Creationism was related to religious schools and not free schools.

StockwellLiving Wed 19-Dec-12 09:48:40

I am also fairly local and curious to know more.

Interesting point about "hysteria from the Guardian" when one of the other people behind this seems to be Guardian journalist Laura Cummings! ! wink

I'm with OP on this. Can't see the local need myself, and can't see why a "parent started" school should be "excellent" or indeed any better than any started by an academy chain or (heaven forbit) the local authority - unless one wants to gerrymander the intake in some way.

chloe74 Wed 19-Dec-12 10:20:27

As far as I am aware local people have to prove a demand for the school before it is allowed.

The amount of effort parents would have to put into starting a school demonstrates their desperation for a good education. That kind of parental pressure and involvement will ensure the school produces results. It would be completely illogical for parents to go to all that effort, then just step back and say "oh well, who cares if its any good".

Its all very well for parents to moan about education but to make a difference you have to stand up and be counted, not just drop the child off at the school gates.

Blu Wed 19-Dec-12 10:45:16

Lambeth schools as a whole outstrip the national average for achievement, even before you factor in the various social factors. Lambeth is in the top 10% of areas in which your child is most likely to attend an ofsted 'Outstanding' school.

There is, I think, an overall shortage of places in Lambeth, but there is a new secondary opening on the S Circular, and my guess is that this will have quite a wide catchment as it is within what is already the catchment for 3 other secondaries (Elmgreen, St Martin's, Dunraven) possibly 4 (I'm not sure how far the Evelyn Grace catchment stretches), and an area where some parents choose Kingsdale, Graveney or the Sutton grammars if they get a place.

If there is an overall shortage of places, I just can't, in principle, support any new school that restricts access to any sector of the community. (I see that if designated by the Diosese they will offer 50% of places on 'non catholic' criteria, and if not designated they will not include faith as a criteria) but I think scaremongering about creationism is a bit much. His book seems to do what many other people (with lazy intellect, IMO) have done, lay mass violence by horrible people and groups of people at the door of religion, where he lays it at the door of people using 'social darwinism' to try and justify their will to opress, denigrate and conquer. There is nothing which suggests that he rejects the Darwinian basis of evolutionary theory.

As an atheist I am as disgusted by people who have used Darwin's 'natural selection' principle to try and excuse eugenics, racism, genocide as I am by sectarian violence, The Crusades, etc etc!

StockwellLiving Wed 19-Dec-12 10:47:15

Lambeth Academy opened up because of just that parental effort (a long running pre-free school campaign) that was successful 8 or so years ago. No-one who sends their DCs there has a bad word to say about it and by all accounts a good school, just too diverse for too inclusive for the middle classes aspirational in the area.....

StockwellLiving Wed 19-Dec-12 10:53:23

Sorry - that all sounds bitter. I know nothing about the motivation of the people behind this here (other than they want a "catholic" ethos school).

It just that there is a lot of local resentment as to how a project like Bollingbrook can take so much public money when schools such as Chestnut Grove had their capital expenditure plans slashed. Rather than these "free" schools which are an expensive way of increasing capacity, if there is a shortage of places, schools can simply be allowed to improve facilities and expand.

Blu Wed 19-Dec-12 11:01:36

StockwellLiving - I agree with you especially your crossed out bit grin. The families I know who have children at Lambeth Academy are really pleased with it. And that includes (diverse) middle class families, at least one which could afford private if they wanted to / had to.

However, I do understand anxiety about the social mix of some schools - parents of black boys are concerned because those are the boys statistically most likely to drawn into or be be victims of the gang problem which does, we can't deny it, exist in Lambeth and other boroughs. Obviously it is only a tiny minority of kids who are involved. But actually whatever their background, most kids in most Lambeth schools get on with leading a constructive life and getting an education. IMO, IME your access to choice in yoru housing makes more of a difference to vulnerability to anti-social behaviour than what goes on in the schools in Lambeth.

JoanByers Wed 19-Dec-12 15:46:39

I see another thread about a proposed free school (in Woking) was deleted.

Presumably reported by someone.

Not sure why.

People seem quite bitter about them.

FWIW, a quick look at the Lambeth Academy Results suggests that those MC parents have good reason not to go there:

Average GCSE for High Achievers is a C+. 29% of them get the EB.

A few miles down the road, St. Philomena's gets A-. 54% of them get the EB.

I think I could learn the Hail Mary for that....

OhDearConfused Wed 19-Dec-12 16:47:27

Wow. That is some difference.

Is this Lambeth Academy being particularly bad at teaching, St P's being particularly good at it, or an indication of motivation of the intake (ie the social selection/correlation with faith schools)?

CecilyP Wed 19-Dec-12 16:56:50

Those few miles down the road represent a significantly different demographic. And St P's is also all girls.

JoanByers Wed 19-Dec-12 17:33:37

I think the main difference is the Catholicism tbh. Or the fact that it successfully excludes the most feckless.

Sacred Heart is also a few miles down the road but in a much rougher part of town (Camberwell) than St Philomenas (Carshalton). 60% ESL. 26% FSM (respectively 37% and 28% at Lambeth and 12% and 4% at St Philomenas). Only 22% high attainers. Average GCSE grade is B+ for them, and a very respectable B- for the middle achievers.

Outside of London there tends to be a lot of snootiness about high ESL numbers, but in London at least there's basically no correlation between ESL and achievement - several of London's grammar schools are dominated by South Asian children.

Obviously there are parts of London that are not ideal for children to grow up in, and in these areas the schools that succeed will have admissions policies that represent a hurdle that the worst parents, and their feral offspring, will fall at.

Muminwestlondon Wed 19-Dec-12 19:50:49

I have a couple of colleagues with daughters at St P. I didn't even realise that they were Catholic until they mentioned it. They are both intelligent, hard working professionals and very pleasant people. They want their daughters to go to a socially (not academically) selective school, to meet the offspring of others similar to themselves, enjoy their time at school hopefully unbothered by disruptive influences and grow up to have successful careers and an ethos similar to themselves- frankly who can blame them?

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