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Turing House school site?

(149 Posts)
Shooting4themoon Sun 16-Feb-14 18:37:43

Does anyone have any further information on the sale of Imperial College London playing fields to this free school?
Our school use these grounds for all our pitch sports and haven't heard any rumours, has anyone else?

ikkenu Thu 13-Mar-14 21:50:52

Yes but Turing's applications weren't taken into account when Waldegrave offered its places - they had a completely separate process that meant all their successful applicants also had an offer through the LA. So the catchments look more or less the same as last year (although Grey Court's has shrunk the most).

Shootingatpigeons Fri 14-Mar-14 09:07:25

ikkenu the Council over offering has essentially put the catchments at where they would have been at some point in the process of waiting lists moving (net of the effect of late applicants moving into catchment). In previous years they have not overoffered so those getting in on waiting lists would have probably widened the catchments from those currently shown on the maps based on initial allocations on the website, though again there might be some impact from late applicants, certainly a few moved into catchment to get Orleans last year. Certainly with 200 additional applicants then it is counter intuitive that catchments would have stayed the same if they had not over offered.

sandwitch from what I gather some people did want Turing over eg Waldegrave, because they wanted coed, or because they had a younger sibling who was a boy and were thinking ahead. And some were won over by the Head at the parent's evenings to want Turing over Orleans as well. So there are a lot of upset and devastated parents. RTT article comments are interesting and Facebook page

SandWitch Fri 14-Mar-14 09:18:52

Shooting - you seem to think I am against the opening of Turing House. I'm not. At all.

Of course there will be really disappointed parents. If course there will be some who may have chosen Turing House over established, popular schools. I think most would agree though that, if the Academies are under subscribed, the opening of Turing House would have most effected them.
Particularly this year.

Despite this, I really wish nothing but success for Turing House.

Teddingtonmum1 Fri 14-Mar-14 09:26:01

We live next to collis and didn't get an place from Turing house.

Shootingatpigeons Fri 14-Mar-14 09:42:10

* sandwitch* wasn't assuming anything, just wanting to represent an accurate picture of the environment faced by the parents I know who are now campaigning to get the decision overturned, or at least for the school to open in 2015 with a Year 8.

Strix Fri 14-Mar-14 09:52:00

According to the Guardian article there is a meeting today between Parents and Vince Cable. I would like to help, if I can. I think it is outrageous that parents and students can be treated this way at the drop of a hat.

Why is the temporary location suddenly a problem?
Why was this decision made after offers went out?

I suspect it has more do with forcing the children into bad schools in order to better serve the borough. However, I believe quite strongly that schools exist to serve the students, and not the LEA.

I think this is a horrible turn of events, and puts into question all future free schools. There is a Green School for Boys being proposed not so far away in Isleworth (Hounslow). If it gets the "go ahead" should parents believe the government? They don't have a site yet either.

And maybe Lord Nash could explain why Turing House wasn't given the Clifden Road site?

Shootingatpigeons Fri 14-Mar-14 10:17:16

Strix I think Nick Whitfield the Education Officer would have been firmly behind Turing because it was going to have a Primary as well which is really desperately needed in Twickenham / Teddington (mind you it was when he allowed St RR to get away with only 10 community places hmm) If you look at the comments on the RTT article there is a more likely explanation. "Stephen Knight is wrong to say the school could not be ready in time. A temporary site was available, and would have accommodated the school until the permanent site was ready. RET have successfully opened 4 other schools on similar timescales, and other groups are doing the same.

The minister's decision was due to just one thing - that the permanent site had not been secured. Financially that is a risk, because if a school is in temporary accommodation, with an obvious deadline, the EFA's experience is that the cost of the permanent site rises. They have recently been criticised by the Audit Commission for overpaying on permanent sites in those circumstances, so there is now a new policy in place which prevents it."

I think part of the problem may have been all the Chinese whispers that were going around on sites which were mobilising opposition /rattling those who were selling and promised confidentiality. Although you can't rule out Lord True whispering in ears etc., he has been very singleminded about which parents get the benefit of the legacy of his administrations Education strategy hmm

If you want to get involved I linked to the Facebook page, I am sure they will welcome all support.

Strix Fri 14-Mar-14 10:43:19

Yes, I followed your link. Thank you.

We aren't going to Turing even if it does open. But, I find myself outraged on behalf of those who have had this promise retracted in the eleventh hour.

My oldest child is in year 6, and so I have just gone through the senior school application process for the first time. I found it such a stressful and emotional roller coaster. I can imagine how all those parents banking on Turing must feel.

So, on principal, I would like to help if I can by adding my voice to opposing this horrendous U-turn.

Perhaps Turing should look for a more welcoming Borough... Hounslow maybe?

lightplay Fri 14-Mar-14 12:10:37

@Teddingtonmum: I think you did not receive an offer because you are far from the admission point - this year Sep 2014 admissions to Turing were based on a 'virtual admisssion point' which is somewhere near Waldegrave. Starting next year it will be a combination between the admission point and the actual site. Well, that was the plan anyway.

Not sure how this is all going to change now.

lightplay Fri 14-Mar-14 12:20:30

here's the link:

Shootingatpigeons Fri 14-Mar-14 12:27:18

And I gather that there was/is 200 on the waiting list after the 150 places were allocated.

ikkenu Fri 14-Mar-14 20:29:53

shooting 'In previous years they have not overoffered'

Was trying to find links for this and found: FOI request (c) - mainly at schools operating on distance rather than links. 20 each at Christ's/Grey Court in 2011, even 24 at Waldegrave in 2010. The governors would have to agree. In RPA's case they were so undersubscribed last year that they would have the space and could make up the funding by taking an extra class over their PAN if necessary. Would be good for the school.

Benjy73 Fri 14-Mar-14 21:31:37

Strix, the school is needed to serve the identified area of need which is fast emerging in the central Twickenham, north Teddington and Hampton area and it's inception has been driven by local parents who want a good, mixed, inclusive secondary school - so Houslow would not be an option.

ikkenu Sat 15-Mar-14 07:18:38

Have found another link for 2012 and 2013 - 85 over offered in 2012. Not so many in 2013 - only 7 - and two schools undersubscribed, although still 13 over at Orleans Park for example. But over 200 vacancies by September.

So they do over offer every year. But if some of the RPA offers were to Twickenham pupils that wouldn't be very fair.

ikkenu Sat 15-Mar-14 08:19:01

Going back to the list of over offers this year, there were 34 extra offered at TA/HA and 60 at Waldegrave, Teddington and Orleans. So that is a lot more than usual but mostly at the more popular schools. Which at least shows a willingness of local schools to help out, and in a fair way. They can't withdraw offers but maybe waiting lists may be slower.

I think the Turing parents should shout loudly if they have been offered RPA though because their figures are more unusual.

Shootingatpigeons Sat 15-Mar-14 08:52:54

ikkenu yes I was wrong to say that they have not over offered in the past but they have over offered by 10% more this year, 236 more offers than places. The question is have they done that because they are confidant about the numbers going private/moving /finding other out of borough alternatives (and there is a debate to be had about whether parents do that willingly or because they feel forced or because they didn't want the bad publicity of people having no offers especially given the debate over the Clifden site or because they expected 150 places to be taken up at Turing?

Nennypops Sun 16-Mar-14 22:36:49

I think the problem is not so much that the places were withdrawn, but that they were ever offered in the first place. I've never understood how free schools are ever sanctioned when they haven't got premises lined up - there have been a number of cases where similar problems have arisen in other areas. I also wonder about the amount of public money this wastes. They must have recruited staff who will have to be made redundant, which is grossly unfair on them, or else the staff will have virtually nothing to do for a year. More taxpayers' money down the drain which could have been used to fund maintained schools properly.

BayJay Sun 16-Mar-14 22:57:49

Nennypops, the places were offered because at the time everything was on track. Nobody will be made redundant, because the staff recruitment advertisements had not yet been issued.

The free school process has many issues, but it's the only way to set up new schools under current policy. I think its important to separate criticism of the policy from criticism of individual schools, especially in cases where they are very much wanted and needed by their local communities.

ikkenu Mon 17-Mar-14 10:16:37

Where I have most sympathy for the Turing parents is that there isn't a lot of choice - especially with one sponsor running two schools, neither of which are filling up completely. Maybe in the long term they should just put the schools together on one site, build a few more classrooms, and then there would be a site free. I don't know who could make that happen, though.

Strix Mon 17-Mar-14 11:11:47

These parents (and many more) have worked very hard so their children could access quality and affordable education, only to have it ripped away from them unjustly.

The process for all free school is that they get the go ahead, and then they get funding to go find a site. The government is punishing 150 children for a process the government requires. Outrageous. I am convinced this has more to do with filling places at the two failing school than it does the children's education.

It seems to me that the government has lost sight of the fact that the schools exist to serve the children and not the other way around.

Strix Mon 17-Mar-14 11:23:11

We, the undersigned, petition the council to request that the Department of Education reverses its decision so that Turing House School can open in temporary premises this September.

Turing House school was due to open in September 2014 and has secured temporary premises. The school has 362 applications and has issued 150 offers. Very late in the day, the Department for Education has deferred the opening for a year.

Turing House school was started by a group of local parents and will be an 11-18 school with an emphasis on science. Secondary school places are urgently needed in West London. The school is ready to go but needs approval from the Department to take the next step. If this does not happen in March 2014, it will not open in September 2014. The delay and loss of confidence will make it difficult for the school to open next year as well.

lightplay Mon 17-Mar-14 11:48:28

Signed and shared!

Strix Mon 17-Mar-14 13:17:16

They need 1000 signatures. This is a very tall order. I hope people who have not chosen Turing will still sign up.

Nennypops Mon 17-Mar-14 15:09:54

Bayjay, I wasn't criticising Turing, clearly they acted lawfully. What I was criticising is a system which even allows a free school application to get past first base if it doesn't have demonstrably viable premises set up. As I say, this isn't the first disaster and an awful lot of families have been left high and dry.

I would however be astonished if Turning hasn't recruited at least some staff. How, for instance, were they going to answer parents' questions about teaching methods, the curriculum etc without at least senior staff in place? We know, anyway, that they've recruited a head who isn't going to have an awful lot to do for the next year. I would certainly hesitate long and hard before sending my child to a school which was just saying it had no staff but hoped to get some within the next six months or so. Even more so if they were also going to end up in something like office premises on a temporary basis.

BayJay Mon 17-Mar-14 15:44:03

Nennypops, TH has a headteacher designate, which means he has been appointed but isn't in post yet. He still has a day-job.

You might be surprised at how much of the working hours put into setting up a free school is pro-bono. Just like Governors in open schools, most of the people involved in groups like this are working for free.

Nevertheless, the team have done a very good job at answering parents' questions about teaching methods, the curriculum etc, by email, at open evenings and through visits to local primaries. If you take the time to look you'll find the website very informative.

I'm guessing you're not local?

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