Lib Dems and Conservatives take aim on Richmond school places

Concerned: Paula Muncey with son Alex, Karen Macwhinney, Rosie Hyde, Sharon Powell

Concerned: Paula Muncey with son Alex, Karen Macwhinney, Rosie Hyde, Sharon Powell

First published in News by

The leader of Richmond Council has hit back at claims it is not doing enough to supply secondary school places to children in the borough.

The comments come after the schools minister decided to defer the opening of Turing House School until 2015 over uncertainty of a permanent site.

Free schools are set up by independent groups and are not the responsibility of the council.

Critics said the council needs to urgently to address the current crisis facing school site planning within the borough and should set up a task force chaired by the chief executive.

Councillor Gareth Roberts, Liberal Democrat spokesman for education, said: “It was established some years ago that there would be a need for a new, community secondary school by 2015 at the latest.

“The fact that this administration was aware of the need for two new school sites with few obvious candidates for their locations suggests that perhaps too much reliance was placed on something turning up.

“I’m afraid that lack of planning has led to a situation which is so desperate that at the Turing House parents’ meeting the Tory administration was forced to admit that it is actively negotiating secondary bulge classes for 2015 as a contingency plan.”

The Lib Dems said they would set up a task group identify sites which would be suitable for school use is they are elected in May.

A new free secondary school is planned on the Richmond College site in Twickenham and should open in 2017.

Lord True, leader of the council, said it identified possible permanent and temporary sites the school could use.

Lord True said: “What this needs is serious people sorting this out now, not a task group in the distant future.

“We have already met with ministers, we have already met with the Turing House people, we have already identified a list of potential sites and given that to the school’s sponsors and the Government.

“The Lib Dems are frankly just playing politics when all people want are practical solutions.”

Comments (6)

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9:11am Thu 3 Apr 14

Sophrosyne says...

Why do Lib Dems have to wait to be elected to set up a task group to find suitable space? The Turing House parents weren't elected.

Come on Lib Dems play nicely with the others.
Why do Lib Dems have to wait to be elected to set up a task group to find suitable space? The Turing House parents weren't elected. Come on Lib Dems play nicely with the others. Sophrosyne
  • Score: 6

1:21pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Dan Hampton Hill says...

Sophrosyne wrote:
Why do Lib Dems have to wait to be elected to set up a task group to find suitable space? The Turing House parents weren't elected.

Come on Lib Dems play nicely with the others.
The Lib Dems have called on the council to set this up asap, but will take action if this hasn't been done before the 22nd May and are in control.

http://www.trlibdems
.org.uk/lib-dems-dem
and-action-school-pl
aces/
[quote][p][bold]Sophrosyne[/bold] wrote: Why do Lib Dems have to wait to be elected to set up a task group to find suitable space? The Turing House parents weren't elected. Come on Lib Dems play nicely with the others.[/p][/quote]The Lib Dems have called on the council to set this up asap, but will take action if this hasn't been done before the 22nd May and are in control. http://www.trlibdems .org.uk/lib-dems-dem and-action-school-pl aces/ Dan Hampton Hill
  • Score: -9

2:10pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Stevenmuncey says...

Come on then Lord True, put your money where your mouth is and come up with some practical solutions... it's what most of the parents of children who lost their Turing House places for this year have been banging on about for the past couple of weeks – and it's been falling on deaf ears!
Come on then Lord True, put your money where your mouth is and come up with some practical solutions... it's what most of the parents of children who lost their Turing House places for this year have been banging on about for the past couple of weeks – and it's been falling on deaf ears! Stevenmuncey
  • Score: -7

9:38pm Thu 3 Apr 14

MachThree says...

So the new free secondary school planned for the Richmond College site in Twickenham is now only 'hoped' for in 2017. (See the Council's glossy which landed on the mat this week.)

The college still doesn’t have the capital it needs. Assuming planning permission goes through, the opening of the new school is certainly not guaranteed in 2017 - or whenever.

Any more than Turing House School was guaranteed to open this year.

Someone needs to come clean about it.
So the new free secondary school planned for the Richmond College site in Twickenham is now only 'hoped' for in 2017. (See the Council's glossy which landed on the mat this week.) The college still doesn’t have the capital it needs. Assuming planning permission goes through, the opening of the new school is certainly not guaranteed in 2017 - or whenever. Any more than Turing House School was guaranteed to open this year. Someone needs to come clean about it. MachThree
  • Score: 0

7:43am Sat 5 Apr 14

A Naysayer says...

The conservatives put their "Election Special" through the door yesterday. They mention the opening of Richard Reynolds and e3. NO MENTION OF TURING HOUSE. Do they support this project or not?
The conservatives put their "Election Special" through the door yesterday. They mention the opening of Richard Reynolds and e3. NO MENTION OF TURING HOUSE. Do they support this project or not? A Naysayer
  • Score: -2

9:10am Sat 5 Apr 14

BS_Twickenham says...

Naysayer, the leaflet is describing things that the Conservative party takes credit for while in administration of the council; establishing a Voluntary Aided school in Twickenham (the only type of maintained school still allowed under current legislation), and formally partnering with the college and other trustees to help the College establish an 11-16 free school at Egerton Road in 2017, as part of a complex reconfiguration project (including relocation of Clarendon School and Haymarket Media).

The council currently have no formal role in any other local free school proposal. However, ironically they do have a duty to make sure there are enough places available, and free schools are sometimes the only practical way of doing that. You'll see on the front of the leaflet that they refer to 540 new primary places being created. Some of those were expansions of existing schools (so directly attributable to the council) and other places were provided by two new primary free schools; St Mary's Hampton and Thomson House in Sheen. They don't name those schools, or take credit for them, because they're not directly responsible for them, however, they still supported their establishment as part of their school place planning strategy.

The administration made a statement early on in its tenure to say that they would welcome high quality free school proposals, and they have done so. That includes Turing House. They can't claim direct credit for them. However, a friendly, welcoming environment helps the Education Funding Agency with its endeavours to secure sites, and helps new establishments integrate with the existing family of schools.

As Lord True says in his statement in the article, they are doing what they can to help in the current circumstances. As I said in a post on another thread, the recent change in circumstance was as much a surprise to the council as anyone else, and now everyone is pulling together to work out a solution. Of course its hugely frustrating for people who are impacted in the meantime.
Naysayer, the leaflet is describing things that the Conservative party takes credit for while in administration of the council; establishing a Voluntary Aided school in Twickenham (the only type of maintained school still allowed under current legislation), and formally partnering with the college and other trustees to help the College establish an 11-16 free school at Egerton Road in 2017, as part of a complex reconfiguration project (including relocation of Clarendon School and Haymarket Media). The council currently have no formal role in any other local free school proposal. However, ironically they do have a duty to make sure there are enough places available, and free schools are sometimes the only practical way of doing that. You'll see on the front of the leaflet that they refer to 540 new primary places being created. Some of those were expansions of existing schools (so directly attributable to the council) and other places were provided by two new primary free schools; St Mary's Hampton and Thomson House in Sheen. They don't name those schools, or take credit for them, because they're not directly responsible for them, however, they still supported their establishment as part of their school place planning strategy. The administration made a statement early on in its tenure to say that they would welcome high quality free school proposals, and they have done so. That includes Turing House. They can't claim direct credit for them. However, a friendly, welcoming environment helps the Education Funding Agency with its endeavours to secure sites, and helps new establishments integrate with the existing family of schools. As Lord True says in his statement in the article, they are doing what they can to help in the current circumstances. As I said in a post on another thread, the recent change in circumstance was as much a surprise to the council as anyone else, and now everyone is pulling together to work out a solution. Of course its hugely frustrating for people who are impacted in the meantime. BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 13

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