New Twickenham Catholic school named, despite High Court battle

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Plans for the proposed Catholic school in Twickenham are pushing forward as the name for the school is announced this week.

The school in Clifden Road has been named Saint Richard Reynolds Catholic College, with plans for the school uniform also decided upon.

In a press release issued this week, it was said the school “will open by September 2013” despite campaign groups having being successfully granted a judicial review into the processes the council carried out in regards to establishing a Catholic school.

The director for education for the Diocese of Westminster, Paul Barber, said: “In the meantime, the law imposes a statutory duty on both the diocese and the council to implement the proposals that have been approved. We will therefore be complying with that duty to ensure the schools are ready to open in September 2013.”

The British Humanist Association and Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (Risc) argue the council thought there was a need for a new school but failed to seek proposals for an academy or free school before going ahead with the Catholic school.

There will be 10 places in the primary school which will be allocated on the basis of distance from the school and not on the religion of the child. The remaining 20 places will be allocated with priority given to baptised Catholic children.

Parents can also apply for a place at the secondary school for children currently in year 6 at primary school.

If the judicial review is not successful, St Richard Reynolds Catholic Primary School and St Richard Reynolds Catholic High School will open next year.

An open day about the schools will be held in the main hall at Clifden Road on Saturday, October 20.

  • Following last week’s front page story in the RTT, Risc claimed the headline “Gove support for Catholic School” was incorrect.

In a statement they say: “There no evidence to support the council’s claim that the Secretary of State for education has confirmed their decision on Catholic Schools is lawful.

“The Government has intervened on the council’s side in the case being brought against them. But that is on a legal point that has already been raised. It introduces a different emphasis, and will complicate the court hearing, but it may well not sway the outcome.”

According to Risc, neither side has so far produced a statement by Michael Gove saying he either supports or does not support a Catholic school in Twickenham.

Comments (11)

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5:53pm Sat 13 Oct 12

JeremyRodell says...

This report only refers to the admissions policy at the small (30 place/year) primary, not the far more important (150 place/year) secondary.

There - if the Council and the Diocese get their way - children of Catholics will be prioritised for 100% of the places. The only exception will be children from the 10 "community" places at the primary, many of which are themselves likely to be taken by children of Catholics who live near the school. The effect is therefore intended to be that 100% of the secondary places will go to children of Catholics for the first 7 years. Then in 2020, when the first batch of children emerge from the primary, it will drop to between 93.5% and 100%.

Children of parents who are not religious, Anglicans, other Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and others need not apply.

If RISC and the BHA win the court case, there would be nothing to stop the Diocese proposing a Catholic free school, which could still have up to 50% of the places prioritised for children of Catholics. But at least 50% would be open to everyone else.

In fact there has never been anything to stop that compromise - which was proposed by Vince Cable - from being proposed all along. It is still far from ideal from RISC's viewpoint, but a lot better than the current plan.

It seems that neither Lord True nor the Diocese care for compromise.
This report only refers to the admissions policy at the small (30 place/year) primary, not the far more important (150 place/year) secondary. There - if the Council and the Diocese get their way - children of Catholics will be prioritised for 100% of the places. The only exception will be children from the 10 "community" places at the primary, many of which are themselves likely to be taken by children of Catholics who live near the school. The effect is therefore intended to be that 100% of the secondary places will go to children of Catholics for the first 7 years. Then in 2020, when the first batch of children emerge from the primary, it will drop to between 93.5% and 100%. Children of parents who are not religious, Anglicans, other Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and others need not apply. If RISC and the BHA win the court case, there would be nothing to stop the Diocese proposing a Catholic free school, which could still have up to 50% of the places prioritised for children of Catholics. But at least 50% would be open to everyone else. In fact there has never been anything to stop that compromise - which was proposed by Vince Cable - from being proposed all along. It is still far from ideal from RISC's viewpoint, but a lot better than the current plan. It seems that neither Lord True nor the Diocese care for compromise. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Sun 14 Oct 12

sirarthurbliss says...

Thank you Jeremy for adding the factual details this article should have had in the first place.

The emphasis on 10 inclusive places (which the R&TT presumably simply copied verbatim from a press release) smacks of desperation.
Thank you Jeremy for adding the factual details this article should have had in the first place. The emphasis on 10 inclusive places (which the R&TT presumably simply copied verbatim from a press release) smacks of desperation. sirarthurbliss
  • Score: 0

7:47pm Sun 14 Oct 12

LizzyJ says...

Jeremy, I think you are right when you say the 10 community places are "likely to be taken by children of Catholics who live near the school".

If a Catholic child living near the school applies for a Community place at the Primary, then they will have guaranteed entry into the Secondary. However, if they take one of the Catholic primary places instead then their admission to the Secondary will depend on a lottery. That's bonkers, and may well lead to the topsy-turvy situation where Catholic families are pretending not to be Catholic to get into a Catholic school!

The only mitigation to that is that they might well be competing fiercely with non-Catholics for those places. Why? Because central Twickenham is a community-primary-ad
missions-free-zone. You can't get into Trafalgar and Stanley from there. If you don't go to church to get into Archdeacon or St Mary's you end up with nothing (only to be allocated someone else's unwanted place further down the line, which could be anywhere in the borough). Ironically the Richard Reynold places will be the only 'community' places in town.
Jeremy, I think you are right when you say the 10 community places are "likely to be taken by children of Catholics who live near the school". If a Catholic child living near the school applies for a Community place at the Primary, then they will have guaranteed entry into the Secondary. However, if they take one of the Catholic primary places instead then their admission to the Secondary will depend on a lottery. That's bonkers, and may well lead to the topsy-turvy situation where Catholic families are pretending not to be Catholic to get into a Catholic school! The only mitigation to that is that they might well be competing fiercely with non-Catholics for those places. Why? Because central Twickenham is a community-primary-ad missions-free-zone. You can't get into Trafalgar and Stanley from there. If you don't go to church to get into Archdeacon or St Mary's you end up with nothing (only to be allocated someone else's unwanted place further down the line, which could be anywhere in the borough). Ironically the Richard Reynold places will be the only 'community' places in town. LizzyJ
  • Score: 0

10:37pm Sun 14 Oct 12

Riverman says...

The night before the last local elections I knew various catholics who received messages from prospective councillors that the Libdems would support a Catholic secondary school if they were elected. They've gone very quiet now, those libdems!
The night before the last local elections I knew various catholics who received messages from prospective councillors that the Libdems would support a Catholic secondary school if they were elected. They've gone very quiet now, those libdems! Riverman
  • Score: 0

10:02am Mon 15 Oct 12

Dellon says...

Riverman, if you read the article it says 'If the judicial review is not successful, St Richard Reynolds Catholic Primary School and St Richard Reynolds Catholic High School will open next year'.

So if a VA model with exclusive admissions is allowed, it will be called a 'College', if not, there would still be an academy and called a 'High School'. I wouldn't expect many non-Catholics to choose this school but at least there would be an option of a school place when all the others fill up, without discrimination against siblings.
Riverman, if you read the article it says 'If the judicial review is not successful, St Richard Reynolds Catholic Primary School and St Richard Reynolds Catholic High School will open next year'. So if a VA model with exclusive admissions is allowed, it will be called a 'College', if not, there would still be an academy and called a 'High School'. I wouldn't expect many non-Catholics to choose this school but at least there would be an option of a school place when all the others fill up, without discrimination against siblings. Dellon
  • Score: 0

10:21am Mon 15 Oct 12

JeremyRodell says...

Dellon - this is the first time I have seen any reference to the terms "College" or "High School" in this context. Any evidence?

You're right that, legally, VA schools have to allow in non-Catholics if they have spare places (and they benefit from that financially). But no-one has seriously questioned the intent of the admissions policy: this is a secondary school for children of Catholics. We have written evidence that the VA structure was chosen in order to secure up to 100% exclusivity.
Dellon - this is the first time I have seen any reference to the terms "College" or "High School" in this context. Any evidence? You're right that, legally, VA schools have to allow in non-Catholics if they have spare places (and they benefit from that financially). But no-one has seriously questioned the intent of the admissions policy: this is a secondary school for children of Catholics. We have written evidence that the VA structure was chosen in order to secure up to 100% exclusivity. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

10:49am Mon 15 Oct 12

Heliview says...

Dellon, quoting from here: http://www.rcdow.org
.uk/richmond/index.h
tml ....

"St Richard Reynolds Catholic College is the name of the Federation which includes the High School and the new Catholic Primary School to be housed on the same site."

There is no mention of an Academy, or what, if anything, the proposal would be replaced with if the JR is successful.
Dellon, quoting from here: http://www.rcdow.org .uk/richmond/index.h tml .... "St Richard Reynolds Catholic College is the name of the Federation which includes the High School and the new Catholic Primary School to be housed on the same site." There is no mention of an Academy, or what, if anything, the proposal would be replaced with if the JR is successful. Heliview
  • Score: 0

11:32am Mon 15 Oct 12

Dellon says...

Jeremy, no I was just reading that interpretation into the article because the name had jarred with me and I just surmised. Thanks Heliview for clearing up the name: the article does not make that distinction at all. I feel the RTT is getting a lot wrong, and I've at least followed the debate for a while.

My point about non-Catholics accessing the school is to reinforce how much fairer an academy would be compared to a VA school. As a VA school it would undoubtedly be popular but it will take a couple of years to establish itself. It may take a few non-Catholics but their siblings would later face the discrimination of being lower on the list in priority than 'any other Catholics anywhere'. Whereas an academy with 50% community admissions would at least give such siblings an equal chance of getting into the school.

The 10 community places at the primary school could also divide non-Catholic families in this way, which could be the case for those parents accepting a bulge class place at Sacred Heart this year.
Jeremy, no I was just reading that interpretation into the article because the name had jarred with me and I just surmised. Thanks Heliview for clearing up the name: the article does not make that distinction at all. I feel the RTT is getting a lot wrong, and I've at least followed the debate for a while. My point about non-Catholics accessing the school is to reinforce how much fairer an academy would be compared to a VA school. As a VA school it would undoubtedly be popular but it will take a couple of years to establish itself. It may take a few non-Catholics but their siblings would later face the discrimination of being lower on the list in priority than 'any other Catholics anywhere'. Whereas an academy with 50% community admissions would at least give such siblings an equal chance of getting into the school. The 10 community places at the primary school could also divide non-Catholic families in this way, which could be the case for those parents accepting a bulge class place at Sacred Heart this year. Dellon
  • Score: 0

11:47am Mon 15 Oct 12

Dellon says...

I admit I read it wrong as well - 'If the judicial review is not successful ...' i.e. the challenge to the council, rather than the council.
I admit I read it wrong as well - 'If the judicial review is not successful ...' i.e. the challenge to the council, rather than the council. Dellon
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Tue 16 Oct 12

Julie Hill says...

A letter was thrust through my letterbox yesterday informing me that the proposed school in Clifden Road, Twickenham would not result in more traffic and if anything less! How?

Given that this is an incredibly overparked area and many households have not just one but two cars, Station Road is used by a great many residents in addition to those using it as a cut through to avoid the High Street. The area parallel to the railway is often gridlocked during the early morning rush hour.

Is any consideration being given to this?
A letter was thrust through my letterbox yesterday informing me that the proposed school in Clifden Road, Twickenham would not result in more traffic and if anything less! How? Given that this is an incredibly overparked area and many households have not just one but two cars, Station Road is used by a great many residents in addition to those using it as a cut through to avoid the High Street. The area parallel to the railway is often gridlocked during the early morning rush hour. Is any consideration being given to this? Julie Hill
  • Score: 0

1:06pm Thu 18 Oct 12

aspicer says...

Yes Julie, the Council have considered this but don't care, and decided to reduce car traffic flows along the high street even further, by introducing cycles & bus lanes.
This will increase the rat-runs along this stretch of road. Lack of easy access to the A316 will increase rat-runs past this school, as it has along meadway, as cars try to squeeze 'through the fence' onto the A316 each morning.
Road planning at its best. Maybe only a child death will ever guide the council in a better direction.
Yes Julie, the Council have considered this but don't care, and decided to reduce car traffic flows along the high street even further, by introducing cycles & bus lanes. This will increase the rat-runs along this stretch of road. Lack of easy access to the A316 will increase rat-runs past this school, as it has along meadway, as cars try to squeeze 'through the fence' onto the A316 each morning. Road planning at its best. Maybe only a child death will ever guide the council in a better direction. aspicer
  • Score: 0

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