Michael Gove backs Richmond Council over Catholic school campaign

Michael Gove backs Richmond Council over Catholic school campaign

Michael Gove backs Richmond Council over Catholic school campaign

First published in News by

The Secretary of State for Education has backed Richmond Council over the introduction of a Catholic school.

The announcement from Michael Gove came with the judicial review, brought forward by Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (Risc) and the British Humanist Association (BHA), looming.

They argue the council failed to comply with new legislation that requires an authority to invite proposals for an academy if a new school is needed.

The council said it did consider its obligations under the new legislation properly and that its decisions were lawful.

Gove agreed with the council and has applied to take part in the proceedings as an interested party.

He said when a local authority is considering a proposal for a new school it is not under a duty to invite proposals for an academy before lawfully being able to approve the proposal.

BHA said an authority could therefore choose to ignore its requirement to invite free school proposals, and instead arrange to open voluntary aided religious schools unchallenged.

The group said councils could also agree with religious organisations to use this loophole to get around 50 per cent exclusivity admissions rules applied to free schools.

BHA chief executive Andrew Copson said: “The coalition agreement commits the Government to ‘work with faith groups to enable more faith schools and facilitate inclusive admissions policies in as many of these schools as possible’.

“It is surprising to see Michael Gove take such direct action in a contrary direction and against his own free school policy in a way that will increase discrimination in the state school system.”

In May the council’s cabinet agreed the Clifden Site should be used for a five-form Catholic secondary school and a one form Catholic primary school, and approved proposals for two new voluntary aided schools from the Diocese of Westminster.

Councillor Lord True, leader of the council, said: "I am pleased that the Department for Education has confirmed its earlier advice that the council was entitled to approve the proposals.

“Every day this legal campaign continues, the borough will incur legal costs which may not be fully recovered from the claimants. It is also causing a great deal of uncertainty for a large number of parents across the borough who have already started applying for places for their children at either of the schools, schools which many of them have asked for, for years."

Lord True directly addressed the chairman of Risc, Jeremy Rodell, in his statement.

Lord True said: “It is high time Mr Rodell showed some appreciation of the worries of those parents. In the light of this development, he should now tell his national leaders in the BHA to stop using Richmond children as playthings in their ideological campaign to stop church schools.

“Mr Rodell and the BHA should respect the outcome of local democratic debate and send their lawyers home.”

Mr Rodell said: “People can draw their own conclusions from the aggressive tone of Lord True’s statement. Unfortunately, much of what he says is simply untrue or misleading.

“The impression is that he does not really care whether the council has acted unlawfully or not, provided he gets his own way.

“We have no plans to abandon the case. It is the council that has failed to compromise.”

Comments (19)

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1:03pm Sat 6 Oct 12

richste says...

There's nothing anywhere to back the claim that Michael Gove supports a Catholic VA school in Twickenham. He is disagreeing with judge interpretation on one of the points. The big point that has been lost from the Council's press release and all the coverage is that Gove is only intervening on the Council's side on the first grounds of challenge. He is not intervening on the second grounds. So the Council's press release is wrong to say "Secretary of State for Education confirms Council decision on Catholic Schools is lawful" - accepting the premise that Gove gets to decide what is lawful and what isn't, Gove has nonetheless done no such thing.No one is above the law
There's nothing anywhere to back the claim that Michael Gove supports a Catholic VA school in Twickenham. He is disagreeing with judge interpretation on one of the points. The big point that has been lost from the Council's press release and all the coverage is that Gove is only intervening on the Council's side on the first grounds of challenge. He is not intervening on the second grounds. So the Council's press release is wrong to say "Secretary of State for Education confirms Council decision on Catholic Schools is lawful" - accepting the premise that Gove gets to decide what is lawful and what isn't, Gove has nonetheless done no such thing.No one is above the law richste
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Sat 6 Oct 12

Heliview says...

Rischste, I agree with most of your post but I don't "accept the premise that Gove gets to decide what is lawful and what isn't" and neither should anyone else.

The Education Act was written, debated and amended by a large collective of people. The result is a dreadful ambiguity, which needs to be clarified by an independent judge.

Gove has no authority to declare "this is what I intended it to mean" and expect the judge to simply accept that. If the legislation had been clearly worded as per Gove's interpretation I'm sure it would have been challenged vigorously before it became law, and may well have been amended.
Rischste, I agree with most of your post but I don't "accept the premise that Gove gets to decide what is lawful and what isn't" and neither should anyone else. The Education Act was written, debated and amended by a large collective of people. The result is a dreadful ambiguity, which needs to be clarified by an independent judge. Gove has no authority to declare "this is what I intended it to mean" and expect the judge to simply accept that. If the legislation had been clearly worded as per Gove's interpretation I'm sure it would have been challenged vigorously before it became law, and may well have been amended. Heliview
  • Score: 0

2:49pm Sat 6 Oct 12

gaurav says...

The headline on the front page of this week’s Richmond & Twickenham Times “Gove support for Catholic school” is very misleading.
Not only is there no evidence for that statement, but the government intervention is not even on a new point.
Here are the facts:

1) There’s no statement anywhere saying that Michael Gove supports (or does not support) a Catholic school in Twickenham. Even the Council's latest press release did not claim that.
2) The reason the Department for Education (DfE) is intervening is because they think the Council’s lawyers have failed to focus on the correct argument, and they disagree on a specific point with the interpretation of the law made by the judge who granted RISC permission for a Judicial Review.
3) But RISC's case is not only based on this specific point, and the DfE’s legal submission states explicitly that "The Secretary of State does not seek permission to address all of the issues raised in the claim.”
4) In any case, the DfE's position is not new, and is not actually stated in the law. It is only their interpretation.
5) A judge will not be swayed by who is arguing for what.
The headline on the front page of this week’s Richmond & Twickenham Times “Gove support for Catholic school” is very misleading. Not only is there no evidence for that statement, but the government intervention is not even on a new point. Here are the facts: 1) There’s no statement anywhere saying that Michael Gove supports (or does not support) a Catholic school in Twickenham. Even the Council's latest press release did not claim that. 2) The reason the Department for Education (DfE) is intervening is because they think the Council’s lawyers have failed to focus on the correct argument, and they disagree on a specific point with the interpretation of the law made by the judge who granted RISC permission for a Judicial Review. 3) But RISC's case is not only based on this specific point, and the DfE’s legal submission states explicitly that "The Secretary of State does not seek permission to address all of the issues raised in the claim.” 4) In any case, the DfE's position is not new, and is not actually stated in the law. It is only their interpretation. 5) A judge will not be swayed by who is arguing for what. gaurav
  • Score: 0

3:12pm Sat 6 Oct 12

JeremyRodell says...

The case remains wide open, despite this misleading headline.

In addition to the points made by other contributors, Lord True's attempt to personalise the issue is an insult to the genuine concerns of RISC supporters.

He seems to find it difficult to accept that RISC is a major local campaign supported by a large number of people from all sorts of backgrounds and beliefs, ranging from atheists to Catholics. It is not anti-religious or party-political. Over 3300 people signed our petition asking for inclusive schools. Yes, I lead the campaign and I am a humanist, with a strong belief in dialogue between people with differing beliefs. But the great majority of supporters, including many of the people Lord True has himself heard making statements at Cabinet and other meetings in support of inclusive schools, are not humanists but simply local parents and other residents who disagree with him. He knows that.

He also knows that RISC was, and remains, a local initiative, and the implication that we are taking orders from “national leaders” in the British Humanist Association – itself an organisation of free-thinkers - is frankly ludicrous.
The case remains wide open, despite this misleading headline. In addition to the points made by other contributors, Lord True's attempt to personalise the issue is an insult to the genuine concerns of RISC supporters. He seems to find it difficult to accept that RISC is a major local campaign supported by a large number of people from all sorts of backgrounds and beliefs, ranging from atheists to Catholics. It is not anti-religious or party-political. Over 3300 people signed our petition asking for inclusive schools. Yes, I lead the campaign and I am a humanist, with a strong belief in dialogue between people with differing beliefs. But the great majority of supporters, including many of the people Lord True has himself heard making statements at Cabinet and other meetings in support of inclusive schools, are not humanists but simply local parents and other residents who disagree with him. He knows that. He also knows that RISC was, and remains, a local initiative, and the implication that we are taking orders from “national leaders” in the British Humanist Association – itself an organisation of free-thinkers - is frankly ludicrous. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

4:18pm Sat 6 Oct 12

akhanw says...

Cant help thinking its again an "own goal" from Lord True and his friends in high places. The Courts are deeply suspicious of politicians interfering and trying to prevent the course of justice.
Gove first agrees with the Coalition agreement to have 50% non faith places in faith schools. Then he gives permission to Diocese to publish VA school proposals. Then he changes his mind and says it would be sensible for Richmond Catholic school to have 50-50 and says in Catholic Herald he will not budge on 50-50 rule. And now is he doing another U turn and saying that despite the 50-50 rule, there is a loophole to allow exclusive Catholic schools. So can anyone predict what he will tell the judge in Court?
Cant help thinking its again an "own goal" from Lord True and his friends in high places. The Courts are deeply suspicious of politicians interfering and trying to prevent the course of justice. Gove first agrees with the Coalition agreement to have 50% non faith places in faith schools. Then he gives permission to Diocese to publish VA school proposals. Then he changes his mind and says it would be sensible for Richmond Catholic school to have 50-50 and says in Catholic Herald he will not budge on 50-50 rule. And now is he doing another U turn and saying that despite the 50-50 rule, there is a loophole to allow exclusive Catholic schools. So can anyone predict what he will tell the judge in Court? akhanw
  • Score: 0

6:03pm Sat 6 Oct 12

Heliview says...

akhanw, I think you're over-interpreting Gove. He hasn't made any u-turns.

Quote: "Then he gives permission to Diocese to publish VA school proposals"

He gave permission to the Diocese to publish proposals, because it made sense for him to do that just a few weeks before the new Act came in. What would be the point of refusing when the new rules were about to say his permission would no longer even be needed?

Quote: "Then he changes his mind and says it would be sensible for Richmond Catholic school to have 50-50"

That's not a change of mind. That's saying that despite the fact the church were about to publish VA proposals, in his view they should be VA proposals with 50:50 admissions.

Quote: "and says in Catholic Herald he will not budge on 50-50 rule"

That's a rule for academies, not VA schools, so again he's being consistent.

Quote: "And now is he doing another U turn and saying that despite the 50-50 rule, there is a loophole to allow exclusive Catholic schools"

Again, the 50:50 rule is for academies. He's saying that in his view the law allows councils to still accept VA proposals. He's not saying that it was right for LBRuT to accept the VA proposal in this particular case though.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Gove. Just trying to de-confuse the story.
akhanw, I think you're over-interpreting Gove. He hasn't made any u-turns. Quote: "Then he gives permission to Diocese to publish VA school proposals" He gave permission to the Diocese to publish proposals, because it made sense for him to do that just a few weeks before the new Act came in. What would be the point of refusing when the new rules were about to say his permission would no longer even be needed? Quote: "Then he changes his mind and says it would be sensible for Richmond Catholic school to have 50-50" That's not a change of mind. That's saying that despite the fact the church were about to publish VA proposals, in his view they should be VA proposals with 50:50 admissions. Quote: "and says in Catholic Herald he will not budge on 50-50 rule" That's a rule for academies, not VA schools, so again he's being consistent. Quote: "And now is he doing another U turn and saying that despite the 50-50 rule, there is a loophole to allow exclusive Catholic schools" Again, the 50:50 rule is for academies. He's saying that in his view the law allows councils to still accept VA proposals. He's not saying that it was right for LBRuT to accept the VA proposal in this particular case though. Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Gove. Just trying to de-confuse the story. Heliview
  • Score: 0

7:09pm Sat 6 Oct 12

akhanw says...

Thanks Heliview - it is not as simple as that is it ? It does not make sense - either you allow faith schools to be inclusive or allow them to be exclusive.
They cant have it both ways.
And to make matters worse, VA schools that convert into academy can retain their exclusive admissions policy and get all the benefit of govt funding.
The consequences of this case are significant - if there does exist a loophole, Councils and VA school sponsors all across the country will exploit.
Thanks Heliview - it is not as simple as that is it ? It does not make sense - either you allow faith schools to be inclusive or allow them to be exclusive. They cant have it both ways. And to make matters worse, VA schools that convert into academy can retain their exclusive admissions policy and get all the benefit of govt funding. The consequences of this case are significant - if there does exist a loophole, Councils and VA school sponsors all across the country will exploit. akhanw
  • Score: 0

7:20pm Sat 6 Oct 12

Heliview says...

"It does not make sense - either you allow faith schools to be inclusive or allow them to be exclusive"

Akhanw, I think the point is that they want to _encourage_ faith schools to be inclusive without compelling them to be inclusive.

In most cases the law as it stands (even with Gove's interpretation) will result in inclusive faith academies, because most councils won't be as bullish as ours and would say "thanks but no thanks" to any VA proposals, unless they happened to represent a really, really fantastic deal for the taxpayer (e.g. if the church offered to donate the land, like they used to do in the past).
"It does not make sense - either you allow faith schools to be inclusive or allow them to be exclusive" Akhanw, I think the point is that they want to _encourage_ faith schools to be inclusive without compelling them to be inclusive. In most cases the law as it stands (even with Gove's interpretation) will result in inclusive faith academies, because most councils won't be as bullish as ours and would say "thanks but no thanks" to any VA proposals, unless they happened to represent a really, really fantastic deal for the taxpayer (e.g. if the church offered to donate the land, like they used to do in the past). Heliview
  • Score: 0

7:40pm Sat 6 Oct 12

akhanw says...

I am afraid that is just rotten and ambiguous politics. It seeks to shift blame on to the proposers of VA schools - we want inclusivity but if you want we can let you get away with exclusivity. Classic Divide and Rule!
The last bastion of discrimination in our state education system needs to be dealt more candidly and robustly. Thankfully the jury is still out there !
I am afraid that is just rotten and ambiguous politics. It seeks to shift blame on to the proposers of VA schools - we want inclusivity but if you want we can let you get away with exclusivity. Classic Divide and Rule! The last bastion of discrimination in our state education system needs to be dealt more candidly and robustly. Thankfully the jury is still out there ! akhanw
  • Score: 0

6:21pm Sun 7 Oct 12

LizzyJ says...

If VA proposals can be published without permission, and councils can accept them whether they need a new school or not, then councils need to be seen to act fairly when consulting on the proposals.

Our council didn't consult fairly because:

- They made it clear they wanted the VA school upfront, and did everything they could to attack and discredit anyone who publicly disagreed with them, labelling them from the outset ad anti-catholic (scaring many RISC supporters into silence).

- They allowed the Catholic primaries to distribute information about the consultation via pupils' book bags and parent mail while advising the non-catholic school leaders to remain neutral (so lots of parents didn't even know the consultation was taking place as little or no info reached them)

- They did not make it clear in the consultation that a free school had expressed interest in the site, and I've heard they also advised local schools not to distribute information about free schools.

- They didn't make it clear in the consultation doc that while Catholic children had been discriminated against for years by the Linked School policy, that policy has recently been removed. Also, most Catholic schools have not told their parents that the Linked School policy has been removed. Many Catholic parents still think their kids can't get into the community schools (so no wonder they said in the consultation that they want a school of their own!)

That's 4 reasons off the top of my head. I expect there are more.
If VA proposals can be published without permission, and councils can accept them whether they need a new school or not, then councils need to be seen to act fairly when consulting on the proposals. Our council didn't consult fairly because: - They made it clear they wanted the VA school upfront, and did everything they could to attack and discredit anyone who publicly disagreed with them, labelling them from the outset ad anti-catholic (scaring many RISC supporters into silence). - They allowed the Catholic primaries to distribute information about the consultation via pupils' book bags and parent mail while advising the non-catholic school leaders to remain neutral (so lots of parents didn't even know the consultation was taking place as little or no info reached them) - They did not make it clear in the consultation that a free school had expressed interest in the site, and I've heard they also advised local schools not to distribute information about free schools. - They didn't make it clear in the consultation doc that while Catholic children had been discriminated against for years by the Linked School policy, that policy has recently been removed. Also, most Catholic schools have not told their parents that the Linked School policy has been removed. Many Catholic parents still think their kids can't get into the community schools (so no wonder they said in the consultation that they want a school of their own!) That's 4 reasons off the top of my head. I expect there are more. LizzyJ
  • Score: 0

6:35pm Sun 7 Oct 12

LizzyJ says...

Plus, reason number 5 ....

- The council gave individuals thousands of copies of the consultation to be handed out to Catholic church congregations, without making sure that an equivalent number of paper consultations were handed out to the rest of the population (and its even worse if those paper forms were then collected and returned on-mass too).
Plus, reason number 5 .... - The council gave individuals thousands of copies of the consultation to be handed out to Catholic church congregations, without making sure that an equivalent number of paper consultations were handed out to the rest of the population (and its even worse if those paper forms were then collected and returned on-mass too). LizzyJ
  • Score: 0

6:51pm Sun 7 Oct 12

LizzyJ says...

To clarify on the point about the Linked School policy. Although the consultation did say it had been dropped, it also argued that Catholic parents weren't interested in community places because they didn't specify them as preferences. However, they knew fine well they had no chance of getting in, so why would they put them as preferences? People don't waste their choices on schools they know they can't get into.
To clarify on the point about the Linked School policy. Although the consultation did say it had been dropped, it also argued that Catholic parents weren't interested in community places because they didn't specify them as preferences. However, they knew fine well they had no chance of getting in, so why would they put them as preferences? People don't waste their choices on schools they know they can't get into. LizzyJ
  • Score: 0

6:59pm Sun 7 Oct 12

Dr James Murphy says...

Can anyone point me towards Gove's actual statement? It's all been reported second-hand here.
Can anyone point me towards Gove's actual statement? It's all been reported second-hand here. Dr James Murphy
  • Score: 0

10:05pm Sun 7 Oct 12

JeremyRodell says...

Dr James Murphy wrote:
Can anyone point me towards Gove's actual statement? It's all been reported second-hand here.
We are not allowed to publish legal submissions from the Council or other defendants in the case. There is no personal statement by Michael Gove at all, but simply a legal intervention.

The legal debate is based on the introduction by the Education Act 2011 of two changes to the previous law: a new “section 6a”, which says that a Council that thinks it needs a new school must first seek proposals for an academy/free school, and a “section 11” which says that a proposal for a voluntary aided (VA) school can be made without first getting permission from the Secretary of State. RISC and the BHA are arguing that the Council thought there was a need for a new school but failed to seek proposals for an academy/free school before going ahead with the Catholic VA schools. The DfE (Michael Gove) is arguing that a local authority does not have to seek proposals for an academy/ free school before it can approve proposals for a VA school. The law does not actually say that, so this is an issue of interpretation.

But this is not the only basis for RISC's claim that the Council's decision was unlawful.
[quote][p][bold]Dr James Murphy[/bold] wrote: Can anyone point me towards Gove's actual statement? It's all been reported second-hand here.[/p][/quote]We are not allowed to publish legal submissions from the Council or other defendants in the case. There is no personal statement by Michael Gove at all, but simply a legal intervention. The legal debate is based on the introduction by the Education Act 2011 of two changes to the previous law: a new “section 6a”, which says that a Council that thinks it needs a new school must first seek proposals for an academy/free school, and a “section 11” which says that a proposal for a voluntary aided (VA) school can be made without first getting permission from the Secretary of State. RISC and the BHA are arguing that the Council thought there was a need for a new school but failed to seek proposals for an academy/free school before going ahead with the Catholic VA schools. The DfE (Michael Gove) is arguing that a local authority does not have to seek proposals for an academy/ free school before it can approve proposals for a VA school. The law does not actually say that, so this is an issue of interpretation. But this is not the only basis for RISC's claim that the Council's decision was unlawful. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

10:15pm Sun 7 Oct 12

JeremyRodell says...

LizzyJ wrote:
Plus, reason number 5 ....

- The council gave individuals thousands of copies of the consultation to be handed out to Catholic church congregations, without making sure that an equivalent number of paper consultations were handed out to the rest of the population (and its even worse if those paper forms were then collected and returned on-mass too).
It's worse than that: the consultation method was given on the Council's website as "online". This was underlined by the organiser when he initially refused to accept a small number of email submissions made when the Council's website was not functioning and said "The format of the Clifden Road consultation is the online survey...".

When the results were published the method had changed to "online and paper". Nearly 1200 (28%) of the 4233 responses on the secondary school were on paper. A Freedom of Information request later revealed that 99% of them were in favour of the Catholic school.

73% of the overall responses from non-Catholics were opposed, including the majority of Anglicans.
[quote][p][bold]LizzyJ[/bold] wrote: Plus, reason number 5 .... - The council gave individuals thousands of copies of the consultation to be handed out to Catholic church congregations, without making sure that an equivalent number of paper consultations were handed out to the rest of the population (and its even worse if those paper forms were then collected and returned on-mass too).[/p][/quote]It's worse than that: the consultation method was given on the Council's website as "online". This was underlined by the organiser when he initially refused to accept a small number of email submissions made when the Council's website was not functioning and said "The format of the Clifden Road consultation is the online survey...". When the results were published the method had changed to "online and paper". Nearly 1200 (28%) of the 4233 responses on the secondary school were on paper. A Freedom of Information request later revealed that 99% of them were in favour of the Catholic school. 73% of the overall responses from non-Catholics were opposed, including the majority of Anglicans. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

12:23pm Mon 8 Oct 12

Dellon says...

57% of respondents were Catholic, so that means half of their responses were on paper. At what point were the forms were distributed? The online result would otherwise have been a fairly even split with a few 'don't knows' (even with 38% of that response rate being Catholics).

In most consultations or petitions you would include at least your name and email but this was anonymous, so not reliable enough to be evidence of 'local democratic debate'.
57% of respondents were Catholic, so that means half of their responses were on paper. At what point were the forms were distributed? The online result would otherwise have been a fairly even split with a few 'don't knows' (even with 38% of that response rate being Catholics). In most consultations or petitions you would include at least your name and email but this was anonymous, so not reliable enough to be evidence of 'local democratic debate'. Dellon
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Mon 8 Oct 12

JeremyRodell says...

Dellon wrote:
57% of respondents were Catholic, so that means half of their responses were on paper. At what point were the forms were distributed? The online result would otherwise have been a fairly even split with a few 'don't knows' (even with 38% of that response rate being Catholics).

In most consultations or petitions you would include at least your name and email but this was anonymous, so not reliable enough to be evidence of 'local democratic debate'.
Only around 10% of the local population is Catholic, yet around 60% of the respondents were Catholics (98% in favour) reflecting the difference in the publicity given via (state-funded) Catholic schools, and Catholic churches versus other schools (all neutral) and other channels. If you'd run a consultation about whether to offer £10,000 to everyone with red hair, it's inevitable that a disproportionate number of people with red hair would participate, even without a bias in the publicity.

The main message from the consultation was "Catholics support school specially for Catholics".

While the Council set up the consultation as "online", and that was, as far as I know, the only way to access their consultation document with the proposals on which people were asked for feedback, they did make a paper version downloadable from the area of the website you entered to make a response. So guess one person downloaded and copied it.

Lord True said beforehand that this was "not a numbers game". Given that the consultation had about as many flaws as a Russian presidential election, that was just as well. But it gave him the outcome that he wanted so he's now talking about it as if it were a perfectly organised referendum.
[quote][p][bold]Dellon[/bold] wrote: 57% of respondents were Catholic, so that means half of their responses were on paper. At what point were the forms were distributed? The online result would otherwise have been a fairly even split with a few 'don't knows' (even with 38% of that response rate being Catholics). In most consultations or petitions you would include at least your name and email but this was anonymous, so not reliable enough to be evidence of 'local democratic debate'.[/p][/quote]Only around 10% of the local population is Catholic, yet around 60% of the respondents were Catholics (98% in favour) reflecting the difference in the publicity given via (state-funded) Catholic schools, and Catholic churches versus other schools (all neutral) and other channels. If you'd run a consultation about whether to offer £10,000 to everyone with red hair, it's inevitable that a disproportionate number of people with red hair would participate, even without a bias in the publicity. The main message from the consultation was "Catholics support school specially for Catholics". While the Council set up the consultation as "online", and that was, as far as I know, the only way to access their consultation document with the proposals on which people were asked for feedback, they did make a paper version downloadable from the area of the website you entered to make a response. So guess one person downloaded and copied it. Lord True said beforehand that this was "not a numbers game". Given that the consultation had about as many flaws as a Russian presidential election, that was just as well. But it gave him the outcome that he wanted so he's now talking about it as if it were a perfectly organised referendum. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

4:28pm Mon 8 Oct 12

Dellon says...

Yet another flaw is that the consultation document didn't actually explain the difference between a voluntary aided school and an academy, or even the admissions policy of Christ's as a comparison, which has 50% community places.

So for most of the time the consultation was open, no one knew the admissions criteria of the Catholic school. The fact remains that all Catholics in the borough will have at least one additional school choice that non-Catholics don't have. So to dismiss the opposition as 'the BHA and Jeremy Rodell' is really insulting both to those who expressed an opinion against the plan and to those who will have a poorer school choice in Twickenham. (The 'plebs'!)
Yet another flaw is that the consultation document didn't actually explain the difference between a voluntary aided school and an academy, or even the admissions policy of Christ's as a comparison, which has 50% community places. So for most of the time the consultation was open, no one knew the admissions criteria of the Catholic school. The fact remains that all Catholics in the borough will have at least one additional school choice that non-Catholics don't have. So to dismiss the opposition as 'the BHA and Jeremy Rodell' is really insulting both to those who expressed an opinion against the plan and to those who will have a poorer school choice in Twickenham. (The 'plebs'!) Dellon
  • Score: 0

5:05pm Mon 8 Oct 12

akhanw says...

There were many flaws in the consultation. But the main one was that fundamentally it led the people to believe that Catholic schools were needed. Thousands of us responded on that basis. Then Nick Whitfield and the Cabinet members changed their language when the proposals were accepted, and started saying that Catholic schools were not needed. Even the Catholics do not agree with them on that !
Throughout this process we have seen lies and misleading statements - After all did the Council not offer the Clifden road site to the Diocese?
Honesty and transperancy are the main basics of democracy. Lord True and his cabinet have failed to deliver us the basics and divided the Richmond community. Its a real shame that they then have the audacity to preach us about democracy!
There were many flaws in the consultation. But the main one was that fundamentally it led the people to believe that Catholic schools were needed. Thousands of us responded on that basis. Then Nick Whitfield and the Cabinet members changed their language when the proposals were accepted, and started saying that Catholic schools were not needed. Even the Catholics do not agree with them on that ! Throughout this process we have seen lies and misleading statements - After all did the Council not offer the Clifden road site to the Diocese? Honesty and transperancy are the main basics of democracy. Lord True and his cabinet have failed to deliver us the basics and divided the Richmond community. Its a real shame that they then have the audacity to preach us about democracy! akhanw
  • Score: 0

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