The Leader of Waltham Forest Council expresses concern over how some free schools are run

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Cllr Chris Robbins and cabinet member for young people Clare Coghill at Newport School in Leyton Cllr Chris Robbins and cabinet member for young people Clare Coghill at Newport School in Leyton

A predicted shortage in the number of secondary school places should not be addressed by the establishment of free schools in Waltham Forest, the council leader has said.

Cllr Chris Robbins said he does not anticipate a need for a new secondary school until September 2017, but acknowledged a pressing need for new facilities.

However, he is at odds with the coalition government who suggest demand can be met with independent schools, which he believes undermine accountability.

He said: "The government feel the concept of free schools is a way of filling the gap of shortages in mainstream schools, we don't.

"The important thing is what the school’s relationship is with the authority, if it’s a good one and constructive one then it really doesn’t matter.

"It’s when they feel they can go off and do whatever they want, like having their own entrance criteria.

"Anybody can set them up in their back room by people with no qualifications.

"It is a faith-based opportunity for them to feed their young people into a narrower line of education."

While Cllr Robbins said he believes high-quality mobile classrooms would have been a "dreadful" decision 20 years ago, there use is now justified as they are built to a high standard, providing an "extremely good learning experience".

He ruled out a "major influx or explosion" in free or faith-based schools in Waltham Forest over the coming years, and said of 83 per cent of pupils are given a place at their first choice school, compared to the London average of 80 per cent.

Comments (19)

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10:37am Tue 10 Jun 14

mdj says...

'While Cllr Robbins said he believes high-quality mobile classrooms would have been a "dreadful" decision 20 years ago, their use is now justified'.

Twenty-odd years ago the Council closed four schools - possibly more I'm unaware of . Only one site, which became a small park off Capworth St, is still available for reuse.
It did seem odd at the time that nobody thought that what had come down might go up again.

Relocatable buildings of good quality are the answer to a host of questions to do with public service provision, as needs, demography and technology change.
Hospitals, for example, are in constant flux and could justifiably be entirely provided in this way, facilities moving to where need was greatest.
'While Cllr Robbins said he believes high-quality mobile classrooms would have been a "dreadful" decision 20 years ago, their use is now justified'. Twenty-odd years ago the Council closed four schools - possibly more I'm unaware of . Only one site, which became a small park off Capworth St, is still available for reuse. It did seem odd at the time that nobody thought that what had come down might go up again. Relocatable buildings of good quality are the answer to a host of questions to do with public service provision, as needs, demography and technology change. Hospitals, for example, are in constant flux and could justifiably be entirely provided in this way, facilities moving to where need was greatest. mdj
  • Score: 8

12:39pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Sam Hain says...

A very interesting suggestion, mdj. I think building technology has caught up and we're a long way away from the cold, draughty, leaky portacabins, and, before them, wartime Hawser (sp?) Huts in which I and my peers endured some of our school lessons.
A very interesting suggestion, mdj. I think building technology has caught up and we're a long way away from the cold, draughty, leaky portacabins, and, before them, wartime Hawser (sp?) Huts in which I and my peers endured some of our school lessons. Sam Hain
  • Score: 3

2:14pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Garrow says...

"The important thing is what the school’s relationship is with the authority, if it’s a good one and constructive one then it really doesn’t matter.'

No, the important thing is that we stop building hundreds and hundreds of flats without considering that they will be occupied by people with children, and those children will have to be educated. There are nearly 800 flats being built within walking distance of my house, how many children is that? I haven't seen one new school being built this seems to have been the Labour strategy both locally and nationally, create a problem and then complain at any possible solution.

"Anybody can set them up in their back room by people with no qualifications."

Er! I think OFSTED might have something to say about that.

"It is a faith-based opportunity for them to feed their young people into a narrower line of education."

This is the biggest hypocrisy of all. And who are these faith-based groups Chris? The same faith groups whose votes you have been taking for granted all these years? The same faith groups who have put you where you are? So this is how you repay them? What a class act (excuse the pun).
"The important thing is what the school’s relationship is with the authority, if it’s a good one and constructive one then it really doesn’t matter.' No, the important thing is that we stop building hundreds and hundreds of flats without considering that they will be occupied by people with children, and those children will have to be educated. There are nearly 800 flats being built within walking distance of my house, how many children is that? I haven't seen one new school being built this seems to have been the Labour strategy both locally and nationally, create a problem and then complain at any possible solution. "Anybody can set them up in their back room by people with no qualifications." Er! I think OFSTED might have something to say about that. "It is a faith-based opportunity for them to feed their young people into a narrower line of education." This is the biggest hypocrisy of all. And who are these faith-based groups Chris? The same faith groups whose votes you have been taking for granted all these years? The same faith groups who have put you where you are? So this is how you repay them? What a class act (excuse the pun). Garrow
  • Score: 9

2:27pm Tue 10 Jun 14

PsiMonk says...

Garrow, some of what you say is true - but not all.

It's not Labour who've stopped the local council from building new schools. The coalition did that one - they scrapped Building Schools for the Future and now the only way to build new schools anywhere is via free schools or academies.
At the same time, housing targets for Waltham Forest are set by the GLA and London Plan - the council has to build loads of housing because the GLA says it must. So the local council is between a rock and a hard place on that one.

Ofsted also seem under political pressure to fix, rather than fail, free schools that are running into serious problems. So it's not necessarily the case about Ofsted saying anything about free school setups.
Garrow, some of what you say is true - but not all. It's not Labour who've stopped the local council from building new schools. The coalition did that one - they scrapped Building Schools for the Future and now the only way to build new schools anywhere is via free schools or academies. At the same time, housing targets for Waltham Forest are set by the GLA and London Plan - the council has to build loads of housing because the GLA says it must. So the local council is between a rock and a hard place on that one. Ofsted also seem under political pressure to fix, rather than fail, free schools that are running into serious problems. So it's not necessarily the case about Ofsted saying anything about free school setups. PsiMonk
  • Score: 3

3:18pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Garrow says...

Thank you PsiMonk, that has made me look into it a bit more. The "building schools for the future" program does seem to still exist although it seems more active in the North of England at the moment. It also seems to concentrate more on refurbishing or rebuilding schools, presumably this is because the land is already owned. I recall, in Waltham Forest, that there was a lot of talk about the scheme being scrapped here, but that what actually happened was that the council took so long over getting it bids in, it lost the chance. Although some of the programme is still going on, referring to the last planning committee again, Thorpe Hall School was given some land, previously a public footpath, to add to its site. It is true that the GLA require all London authorities to build a certain number of properties each year, this council has failed to reach its target in successive years. Interestingly, from that same planning report there is a requirement for affordable homes set out by the GLA and for how those affordable homes should be provided, shared ownership, socially rented etc. this policy is ignored. It seems the Labour council will only use those policies it finds most convenient and then will only use them in a way that suits it's agenda.

I don't really know much about Ofsted, but I am pretty sure that to set up free school, you would have to have qualified teachers and the building would have to be adequate.

There is no doubt in my mind that funding is a major issue but unfortunately we are now, I believe, reaping the rewards of various PFI schemes and a massive national debt at a time when demand on school places is growing ever higher. If Cllr Robbins thinks we will need a new school by September 2017 what is it doing about it now? Do we have the money or is this going to be another situation where we lose the opportunity to bid for money?

I'm afraid I can only see this story as an attempt to divert attention away from this council is miserable performance in education and the way it serves our children.
Thank you PsiMonk, that has made me look into it a bit more. The "building schools for the future" program does seem to still exist although it seems more active in the North of England at the moment. It also seems to concentrate more on refurbishing or rebuilding schools, presumably this is because the land is already owned. I recall, in Waltham Forest, that there was a lot of talk about the scheme being scrapped here, but that what actually happened was that the council took so long over getting it bids in, it lost the chance. Although some of the programme is still going on, referring to the last planning committee again, Thorpe Hall School was given some land, previously a public footpath, to add to its site. It is true that the GLA require all London authorities to build a certain number of properties each year, this council has failed to reach its target in successive years. Interestingly, from that same planning report there is a requirement for affordable homes set out by the GLA and for how those affordable homes should be provided, shared ownership, socially rented etc. this policy is ignored. It seems the Labour council will only use those policies it finds most convenient and then will only use them in a way that suits it's agenda. I don't really know much about Ofsted, but I am pretty sure that to set up free school, you would have to have qualified teachers and the building would have to be adequate. There is no doubt in my mind that funding is a major issue but unfortunately we are now, I believe, reaping the rewards of various PFI schemes and a massive national debt at a time when demand on school places is growing ever higher. If Cllr Robbins thinks we will need a new school by September 2017 what is it doing about it now? Do we have the money or is this going to be another situation where we lose the opportunity to bid for money? I'm afraid I can only see this story as an attempt to divert attention away from this council is miserable performance in education and the way it serves our children. Garrow
  • Score: 6

8:12pm Tue 10 Jun 14

myopinioncounts says...

Edward Redhead school was rebuilt (at a huge cost )and renamed Hillyfield back in 2005. Already it is too small and has taken over at least a part of a previous secondary school. Now we hear there will be a shortage of secondary school places!
Anyone with open eyes could see the trend in this Borough, immigration has seen the numbers of pupils rocket in the last few years.
Edward Redhead school was rebuilt (at a huge cost )and renamed Hillyfield back in 2005. Already it is too small and has taken over at least a part of a previous secondary school. Now we hear there will be a shortage of secondary school places! Anyone with open eyes could see the trend in this Borough, immigration has seen the numbers of pupils rocket in the last few years. myopinioncounts
  • Score: 5

9:56pm Tue 10 Jun 14

mdj says...

'the council has to build loads of housing because the GLA says it must. So the local council is between a rock and a hard place on that one.'

Councils that truly represent the people who vote for them stand up to diktats from central government, rather than meekly implementing them without protest.
Back in the 80s and 90s this council refused to cooperate with the building of the dual carriageway through Leytonstone. Whether you agree with that stance or not, it was taken from the viewpoint of defending local needs and interests, in defiance of national policy.

Now we have emasculated councils, many of whose members work elsewhere in local government. As a result too many see being a councillor as just another local government job, rather than fighting their corner for the needs of their ward or borough.

As long as party lists of careerists dominate local government, this will continue. Now we have a one-party state in this borough, nobody will rock the boat and imperil their allowances.
'the council has to build loads of housing because the GLA says it must. So the local council is between a rock and a hard place on that one.' Councils that truly represent the people who vote for them stand up to diktats from central government, rather than meekly implementing them without protest. Back in the 80s and 90s this council refused to cooperate with the building of the dual carriageway through Leytonstone. Whether you agree with that stance or not, it was taken from the viewpoint of defending local needs and interests, in defiance of national policy. Now we have emasculated councils, many of whose members work elsewhere in local government. As a result too many see being a councillor as just another local government job, rather than fighting their corner for the needs of their ward or borough. As long as party lists of careerists dominate local government, this will continue. Now we have a one-party state in this borough, nobody will rock the boat and imperil their allowances. mdj
  • Score: 6

11:24pm Tue 10 Jun 14

PsiMonk says...

MDJ, as far as I know, the GLA can levy heavy fines against the council for not building enough houses. I have no idea how likely they are to, that said.
MDJ, as far as I know, the GLA can levy heavy fines against the council for not building enough houses. I have no idea how likely they are to, that said. PsiMonk
  • Score: 1

12:56am Wed 11 Jun 14

mdj says...

' the GLA can levy heavy fines against the council..'

Only if they dare; surely the whole point of organisations such as the Local Government Association, with which our revered Mr Loakes prominently associated, is to coordinate local reactions to damaging central government diktat.
But I cannot recall him ever making a stand against a central government policy, even though he is very willing to regard obedience to court judgments as discretionary.
Being of civil service background himself, it's no doubt in the culture.
Our leaders defer to those who can impact on their careers, not to the people who vote for them.
' the GLA can levy heavy fines against the council..' Only if they dare; surely the whole point of organisations such as the Local Government Association, with which our revered Mr Loakes prominently associated, is to coordinate local reactions to damaging central government diktat. But I cannot recall him ever making a stand against a central government policy, even though he is very willing to regard obedience to court judgments as discretionary. Being of civil service background himself, it's no doubt in the culture. Our leaders defer to those who can impact on their careers, not to the people who vote for them. mdj
  • Score: 3

6:35am Wed 11 Jun 14

stickmanny says...

" I cannot recall him ever making a stand against a central government policy"

It's not hard to think of examples. Your council bashing has its uses but this is just wrong!
" I cannot recall him ever making a stand against a central government policy" It's not hard to think of examples. Your council bashing has its uses but this is just wrong! stickmanny
  • Score: 0

10:10am Wed 11 Jun 14

Garrow says...

We seem to have a proper debate going even if we have strayed from the original story.

I admit to not liking this Labour Council, having a village built at the bottom of your garden will do that to you. I have looked through a series of articles stretching back many years and can find no instance of councillor Loakes making a stand against central government policy. There are stories about financial mismanagement, political U-turns, bandwagon jumping and some dirty dealing around his 's self-nomination as leader of the council, but no principled stands. however, you have to remember that for his leadership, there was a Labour Government.

I have looked through the London plan and can find no reference to fines being levied on councils who missed their housing targets. This council has never managed to hit its targets for housing provision or affordable housing provision, but has never been fined.

The question still remains about how we will accommodate a growing school population and about how the teachers will cope with overcrowded classrooms. My husband pointed out that Heathcote School has got much bigger as has Thorpe Hall School and there is a new school at the end of Fulbourne Road, so there is still funding available. Perhaps Cllr Robbins doesn't want to ask the Coalition Government because he would have to admit whether money came from?
We seem to have a proper debate going even if we have strayed from the original story. I admit to not liking this Labour Council, having a village built at the bottom of your garden will do that to you. I have looked through a series of articles stretching back many years and can find no instance of councillor Loakes making a stand against central government policy. There are stories about financial mismanagement, political U-turns, bandwagon jumping and some dirty dealing around his 's self-nomination as leader of the council, but no principled stands. however, you have to remember that for his leadership, there was a Labour Government. I have looked through the London plan and can find no reference to fines being levied on councils who missed their housing targets. This council has never managed to hit its targets for housing provision or affordable housing provision, but has never been fined. The question still remains about how we will accommodate a growing school population and about how the teachers will cope with overcrowded classrooms. My husband pointed out that Heathcote School has got much bigger as has Thorpe Hall School and there is a new school at the end of Fulbourne Road, so there is still funding available. Perhaps Cllr Robbins doesn't want to ask the Coalition Government because he would have to admit whether money came from? Garrow
  • Score: 6

11:41am Wed 11 Jun 14

PsiMonk says...

Garrow, I'm no fan of this Labour council - but that's not to say the Tories or Lib Dems would have been better. Given the way both parties behave locally, I'd be inclined to believe they'd be far worse. And I have seen (as a local community and cycling activist) individual councillors, including Cllr Loakes, take brave stands on particular issues - but certainly not on the issue of housing, schools etc.

On that subject, school expansion is a very different beast from school building. The reasons why nearly all the schools across the borough are expanding is because the council has clearly made a decision to try and retain schools in local council control, and resist further academies and free schools. They're also, to be fair to them, haven't got a queue of credible free school and academy offers that have been approved by central government for the area. So they don't have much choice again - they have a statutory duty to provide school places and can't build new schools - ergo they must increase size of existing one.

The central issues in all of this to my mind are:
1. Why did the council and/or local schools fail to capitalise appropriately on the Building Schools for the Future funding when it was available? In essence, it seems to me the organised schools got their bids in in time (Frederick Bremer and others), the disorganised ones didn't. Not good enough.

2. Should they be more strongly resisting London Plan targets for housing in the borough? I suspect they can get away with falling short of targets, but not ignoring them - but the question is how much more should they be pushing back.

3. Is the council bargaining/ using its resources as well as possible to ensure new housing is matched with new community resources - schools, GPs etc.?
Garrow, I'm no fan of this Labour council - but that's not to say the Tories or Lib Dems would have been better. Given the way both parties behave locally, I'd be inclined to believe they'd be far worse. And I have seen (as a local community and cycling activist) individual councillors, including Cllr Loakes, take brave stands on particular issues - but certainly not on the issue of housing, schools etc. On that subject, school expansion is a very different beast from school building. The reasons why nearly all the schools across the borough are expanding is because the council has clearly made a decision to try and retain schools in local council control, and resist further academies and free schools. They're also, to be fair to them, haven't got a queue of credible free school and academy offers that have been approved by central government for the area. So they don't have much choice again - they have a statutory duty to provide school places and can't build new schools - ergo they must increase size of existing one. The central issues in all of this to my mind are: 1. Why did the council and/or local schools fail to capitalise appropriately on the Building Schools for the Future funding when it was available? In essence, it seems to me the organised schools got their bids in in time (Frederick Bremer and others), the disorganised ones didn't. Not good enough. 2. Should they be more strongly resisting London Plan targets for housing in the borough? I suspect they can get away with falling short of targets, but not ignoring them - but the question is how much more should they be pushing back. 3. Is the council bargaining/ using its resources as well as possible to ensure new housing is matched with new community resources - schools, GPs etc.? PsiMonk
  • Score: 3

11:45am Wed 11 Jun 14

mdj says...

'It's not hard to think of examples'.

I'm talking about actions of substance, not attention-seeking stunts and hot air.

Time and again one sees Mr Loakes noisily seeking praise for some 'initiative' which turns out to have emerged from the LGA consensus, central government diktat or more frequently EU legislation.

Grandstanding outside bookies with helpless children in tow when his own government created the problem is a universe away from the stark courage of the Poplar councillors of the 20s, or the Clay Cross councillors of the 70s - or even the simple loyalty to its voters of this council a couple of decades ago.

Can one imagine him taking a stand for others which threatened his lucrative career as a quango-groupie?
'It's not hard to think of examples'. I'm talking about actions of substance, not attention-seeking stunts and hot air. Time and again one sees Mr Loakes noisily seeking praise for some 'initiative' which turns out to have emerged from the LGA consensus, central government diktat or more frequently EU legislation. Grandstanding outside bookies with helpless children in tow when his own government created the problem is a universe away from the stark courage of the Poplar councillors of the 20s, or the Clay Cross councillors of the 70s - or even the simple loyalty to its voters of this council a couple of decades ago. Can one imagine him taking a stand for others which threatened his lucrative career as a quango-groupie? mdj
  • Score: 2

4:59pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Garrow says...

I'd like to add one more question to PsiMonk's list:

4. Is the council regularly monitoring rising school places, factoring in projected immigration, birth rates and children progressing through the school years. If so, what provisions are they making?
I'd like to add one more question to PsiMonk's list: 4. Is the council regularly monitoring rising school places, factoring in projected immigration, birth rates and children progressing through the school years. If so, what provisions are they making? Garrow
  • Score: 4

9:19am Thu 12 Jun 14

everoptimistic says...

PsiMonk asks
'The central issues in all of this to my mind are:
1. Why did the council and/or local schools fail to capitalise appropriately on the Building Schools for the Future funding when it was available? In essence, it seems to me the organised schools got their bids in in time (Frederick Bremer and others), the disorganised ones didn't. Not good enough.'

One of the main reasons why so many schools missed out on BSF money is that the council were trying to push through a scheme to build a new school on the Leyton Cricket Ground site, which land was later found to have been a charitable bequest and was held in trust for the community. This delayed the BSF bids for George Mitchell, Leytonstone, Buxton etc. I believe the scheme was being pushed through by Chris Robbins, Loakes and the Head of Children's services whose name, if I remember rightly, was Chris Kiernan. So phase 2 of the BSF bid was delayed, along came the General Election and that was that.
PsiMonk asks 'The central issues in all of this to my mind are: 1. Why did the council and/or local schools fail to capitalise appropriately on the Building Schools for the Future funding when it was available? In essence, it seems to me the organised schools got their bids in in time (Frederick Bremer and others), the disorganised ones didn't. Not good enough.' One of the main reasons why so many schools missed out on BSF money is that the council were trying to push through a scheme to build a new school on the Leyton Cricket Ground site, which land was later found to have been a charitable bequest and was held in trust for the community. This delayed the BSF bids for George Mitchell, Leytonstone, Buxton etc. I believe the scheme was being pushed through by Chris Robbins, Loakes and the Head of Children's services whose name, if I remember rightly, was Chris Kiernan. So phase 2 of the BSF bid was delayed, along came the General Election and that was that. everoptimistic
  • Score: 2

3:21pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Robert19 says...

everoptimistic wrote:
PsiMonk asks
'The central issues in all of this to my mind are:
1. Why did the council and/or local schools fail to capitalise appropriately on the Building Schools for the Future funding when it was available? In essence, it seems to me the organised schools got their bids in in time (Frederick Bremer and others), the disorganised ones didn't. Not good enough.'

One of the main reasons why so many schools missed out on BSF money is that the council were trying to push through a scheme to build a new school on the Leyton Cricket Ground site, which land was later found to have been a charitable bequest and was held in trust for the community. This delayed the BSF bids for George Mitchell, Leytonstone, Buxton etc. I believe the scheme was being pushed through by Chris Robbins, Loakes and the Head of Children's services whose name, if I remember rightly, was Chris Kiernan. So phase 2 of the BSF bid was delayed, along came the General Election and that was that.
Not quite true. There was a number of phases of BSF which started with certain Walthamstow schools. The next phase was to be Leytonstone and I think Willowfield. These were a week away from contractors coming on site when Gove pulled the plug on BSF. Millions of pounds had been spent on the design phase. Teachers had already packed up ready to be decanted. They had to unpack. Waltham Forest was one of four LAs who sued the Department for Education and won some funding to refurbish a number of schools after Gove was found to act unreasonably (not the first not the last time). I believe there was some delay in putting schools forward for rebuilding but it was the dogmatic stance by Gove which was the real culprit..
As has been already stated local authorities cannot open new schools only academies and free schools can. They are free of local authority control and support but when things go wrong it is the Dept for Education which is responsible for dealing with it as there is no intermediary body. This ends up with the mess that is created in Birmingham, Bradford and possibly Tower Hamlets. I'm not sure what has happened in some of these schools. I suspect OFSTED found some worrying practices by individual teachers and have inflated it a bit to pander to Gove's obsession with extremism. Better to take religion out of education totally then you will not get a mess like we have in these cities. Oh and creationists are in charge of other academies and free schools.
[quote][p][bold]everoptimistic[/bold] wrote: PsiMonk asks 'The central issues in all of this to my mind are: 1. Why did the council and/or local schools fail to capitalise appropriately on the Building Schools for the Future funding when it was available? In essence, it seems to me the organised schools got their bids in in time (Frederick Bremer and others), the disorganised ones didn't. Not good enough.' One of the main reasons why so many schools missed out on BSF money is that the council were trying to push through a scheme to build a new school on the Leyton Cricket Ground site, which land was later found to have been a charitable bequest and was held in trust for the community. This delayed the BSF bids for George Mitchell, Leytonstone, Buxton etc. I believe the scheme was being pushed through by Chris Robbins, Loakes and the Head of Children's services whose name, if I remember rightly, was Chris Kiernan. So phase 2 of the BSF bid was delayed, along came the General Election and that was that.[/p][/quote]Not quite true. There was a number of phases of BSF which started with certain Walthamstow schools. The next phase was to be Leytonstone and I think Willowfield. These were a week away from contractors coming on site when Gove pulled the plug on BSF. Millions of pounds had been spent on the design phase. Teachers had already packed up ready to be decanted. They had to unpack. Waltham Forest was one of four LAs who sued the Department for Education and won some funding to refurbish a number of schools after Gove was found to act unreasonably (not the first not the last time). I believe there was some delay in putting schools forward for rebuilding but it was the dogmatic stance by Gove which was the real culprit.. As has been already stated local authorities cannot open new schools only academies and free schools can. They are free of local authority control and support but when things go wrong it is the Dept for Education which is responsible for dealing with it as there is no intermediary body. This ends up with the mess that is created in Birmingham, Bradford and possibly Tower Hamlets. I'm not sure what has happened in some of these schools. I suspect OFSTED found some worrying practices by individual teachers and have inflated it a bit to pander to Gove's obsession with extremism. Better to take religion out of education totally then you will not get a mess like we have in these cities. Oh and creationists are in charge of other academies and free schools. Robert19
  • Score: 5

5:17pm Thu 12 Jun 14

mdj says...

'These were a week away from contractors coming on site when Gove pulled the plug on BSF. Millions of pounds had been spent on the design phase. '

The building is now going ahead, hopefully under a sane method of funding, so the design work was not wasted.
PFI has been compared to buying a house on a credit card, and is a giant financial iceberg threatening our public finances for decades to come.
Agreed that the disruption must have been appalling, and your points about the bigger picture.
The delay which enabled this last-minute switch has been put down to inertia within the Council. Who knows, who might comment? It's easier to find out what's happening in central government, scrutinised as it is by many able, well-paid people with axes to grind, than about what's happening around the corner
'These were a week away from contractors coming on site when Gove pulled the plug on BSF. Millions of pounds had been spent on the design phase. ' The building is now going ahead, hopefully under a sane method of funding, so the design work was not wasted. PFI has been compared to buying a house on a credit card, and is a giant financial iceberg threatening our public finances for decades to come. Agreed that the disruption must have been appalling, and your points about the bigger picture. The delay which enabled this last-minute switch has been put down to inertia within the Council. Who knows, who might comment? It's easier to find out what's happening in central government, scrutinised as it is by many able, well-paid people with axes to grind, than about what's happening around the corner mdj
  • Score: 3

11:39am Fri 13 Jun 14

mdj says...

'As has been already stated local authorities cannot open new schools only academies and free schools can'

This is presumably why the new building going up in Hoe St next to Chestnuts house is described as the intake year for Barclay, an awkward half-mile away.
How parents are going to cope with dropping children off at two sites at once, and how the Council will fight off admission claims based on the greatly enlarged catchment, is so far unclear.
'As has been already stated local authorities cannot open new schools only academies and free schools can' This is presumably why the new building going up in Hoe St next to Chestnuts house is described as the intake year for Barclay, an awkward half-mile away. How parents are going to cope with dropping children off at two sites at once, and how the Council will fight off admission claims based on the greatly enlarged catchment, is so far unclear. mdj
  • Score: 1

8:51pm Sat 14 Jun 14

Robert19 says...

mdj wrote:
'As has been already stated local authorities cannot open new schools only academies and free schools can'

This is presumably why the new building going up in Hoe St next to Chestnuts house is described as the intake year for Barclay, an awkward half-mile away.
How parents are going to cope with dropping children off at two sites at once, and how the Council will fight off admission claims based on the greatly enlarged catchment, is so far unclear.
Barclay is not part of the local authority being an academy. So the rules do not apply.
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: 'As has been already stated local authorities cannot open new schools only academies and free schools can' This is presumably why the new building going up in Hoe St next to Chestnuts house is described as the intake year for Barclay, an awkward half-mile away. How parents are going to cope with dropping children off at two sites at once, and how the Council will fight off admission claims based on the greatly enlarged catchment, is so far unclear.[/p][/quote]Barclay is not part of the local authority being an academy. So the rules do not apply. Robert19
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