Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Schools Out for Summer

It has just been announced that the Schools Adjudicator has selected the I-Foundation to open a new primary school on the Ilford Jewish Primary School site in Carlton Drive, Barkingside. This will be much larger than the existing school at 840 places with 75% going to any local children and the remaining 25% for local Hindu children. It is intended that the new school will open in September 2012 but is dependent on the Council [that’s the Council] acquiring the site and upgrading the buildings with a £2.75million expansion.

Meanwhile, a well-known retired local Headmistress is not impressed. Below is the part of her letter to the Ilford Recorder last week that was not deemed suitable for publication.

At present, more than the voting system, I am concerned with the ever increasing grasp of central government from local hands. The Referendum did nothing about it and even distracts attention from it.

Our councillors, freely elected by those of us who bother to turn out and vote, have to spend too much time in coping with government demands that hinder efforts to serve local needs as well as most of them wish to do. The latest is that the government is weakening their hold on education with dubious statements about more democracy and promises that parents will get their choice of schools free of local authority control.

They say that education will improve in spite of the fact that free schools can open in unsuitable premises, in unsuitable places, even with unsuitable staffing and with freedom to ignore the National Curriculum.

They will be inspected by OFSTED and some may be good, but there does not seem to be much of a guarantee. They will be academically unselective. There is no mention of other ways of being selective, so that leaves quite a loop-hole and there has obviously been a massive shifting of goal-posts perhaps to make it worth the while of private finance to foot the bill.

I am told that local authorities may not be allowed to open council schools in future because the government wants all to be free schools or academies. On the whole, Redbridge council schools have a proud record and there are many people working in them with dedication and vision that go far beyond mere league tables. I see no valid reason for undermining them or our council and it seems that the government is out of touch with us, the people, however the electoral system is organised.

Margaret Evans

1 comment:

  1. Margaret Evans3:48 pm, May 25, 2011

    Thank you for printing my comment on the accelerated weakening of the local authorities. However, I think that it needs a small correction. I wrote that the referendum was distracting from a bigger problem than the method of voting. In my comments on side-tracking the local authority on school provision, I did have E-ACT in mind which being allowed to open in cramped premises right opposite the new Downshall Primary School. In the blog, it looks as if I was responding to the plan to open a Hindu school on the well-chosen Jewish Primary site. In this particular context, I was not referring to the Hindu plan, but the undermining of local decision-making. From what Bob Littlewood said at Agenda 21, it seems that I am not the only one that thinks that.