Monday, July 01, 2013

Gove’s Law - New Seven Kings Primary School Consultation

via twitpic
Here we have a prime example of how local councils are having to deal with the present government’s interference in education. Under Gove’s Law local councils are no longer able to provide “new” schools despite still being legally obliged to provide education for all those children within their boundaries, and here in Redbridge (as well as in London as a whole) the numbers of children vastly exceed the number of places available. In short, we have an education crisis and the Redbridge Cabinet member for Children’s Services, Cllr Weinberg, is treading water (metaphorically speaking, we’ve only got one swimming pool) trying to keep up. The big idea is that all “new” schools are to be so-called “Free Schools” provided by the private sector which will instantly and magically appear whenever demand exceeds supply because the private sector is so much better at doing this sort of thing, innit!

Well, it seems the private sector is not coming to Redbridge or Cllr Weinberg’s rescue. Despite not being able to provide “new” schools the loophole in Gove’s Law is that existing schools can be expanded. Back in April I asked the Deputy Leader, Cllr Ian Bond, if existing schools could be expanded on more than one site? To get round the problem of providing education facilities where they are actually needed, ie in the south of the borough, with the by-product of reducing car use and air pollution. His reply was “Yes (although creating a new school on the sly obviously risks a challenge)”. See here.

And that is exactly what Cllr Weinberg is doing, bless him. Seven Kings High School is to be expanded from 11-19 years to 3-19 years. That is, a Primary School is going to be bolted on to the existing Secondary school and on a different site, if only across the road, Ley Street to be precise. The new site will be that of the Ley Street Trolley Bus Depot and will accommodate 840 primary pupils.

Local resident, Caroline Mullen says, “I don't have a problem with this, particularly, in educational terms. Where I do have a problem is that they are proposing to build the new primary block on a badly polluted and congested corner. It can already take twenty minutes to get from Perth Road onto the nearby A12 at peak times, even without the extra traffic that will be generated on the nearby (mostly residential) roads at those times by this proposal. And I assume the air pollution monitoring station on Perth Road will remain to record the increased levels of diesel particulates and Nitrogen Dioxide we can expect."

Well, yes. Although this new primary school is technically in the south of the borough I’m not at all sure that it is located far enough to the south where the demand is and the location is not exactly amenable to short stay parking.

We did know of this proposal but we didn’t know there was a consultation, for which we are indebted to Caroline. It closes on 19th July 2013.

Further Reading:
Gove now forcing non-failing schools to become academies

2 comments:

  1. I do fear for the next generation.there will be so/too many of them....

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  2. This borough is essentially a victim of its own success. Having regularly appeared in the top 10 or 12 authorities nationally for educational achievement, it has attracted people from neighbouring boroughs, particlularly Newham, where the stats are much poorer. Added to this. the existence of the two grammar schools draws in pupils from surrounding boroughs and creates an unhealthy climate of competition in the incomer comminity, where education is the holy grail.

    The only solution to this is for the achievement levels in Redbridge to sink in the national scale or for a neighbouring borough to outrival Redbridge in the league tables. Mass migration, legal or otherwise, to the rival borough will ensue,solving the places problem for Redbridge.

    The issue doesn't end there. The relentless pursuit of exam results has brought about s change in what is expected of schools. Music, sport, drama - all the activities which we regard as life-enhancing and mind-broadening - have little or no vslue in this score-driven culture.

    We are in danger of rearing a generation of people who value only what can be demonstrated with a certificate.

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