Site found for new Catholic secondary school in Twickenham

Anthony Kennedy collected more than 1,100 signatures for a Catholic secondary school

Anthony Kennedy collected more than 1,100 signatures for a Catholic secondary school

First published in Richmond News by

Catholic families were today one step closer to their dream of getting a new faith school, after the council announced it had found a potential site.

Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, said it planned to buy the Richmond Adult Community College (RACC) building, in Clifden Road, Twickenham, and offer the Catholic Church a chance to bid to run the school.

The authority will use the other half of the four acre site to build a new primary school.

More than 1,100 people signed a petition earlier this year calling for the council to hand control of a new secondary school to the Catholic Church.

Lord True said: “Almost 10 per cent of our residents who are of the Roman Catholic faith currently have to send their children out of the borough for an education of their choice. We want to play our part in putting that to rights.

“As I have made clear, our door is open to co-operation with the Catholic archdioceses – the opportunity is now for them to come forward and make that hope a reality. The lack of a potential site is no longer a reason for not doing so. We look forward to working positively with them.”

Richmond is currently one of two boroughs in London without a Catholic secondary school.

RACC decided on Wednesday, July 13, to sell the Clifden Road site for an undisclosed sum and will use the cash to refurbish its other centre, in Parkshot, Richmond. It will expand Richmond Business School, build a new Richmond Art School and upgrade facilities for disabled learners.

The college will move out of its Twickenham site in 2014 but will still rent rooms from the council for evening classes.

Negotiations with the Catholic Church are soon to begin and it is hoped pupils will be able to start at the new secondary school, which will be in the existing Edwardian building, by 2013.

The authority has faced fierce criticism from the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign, which claimed its plans for a new faith school were about “exclusivity and privilege” and contradicted its own policies on diversity.

Accord, which includes a coalition of Muslim, Hindu and Christian organisations, has also spoken out against the proposals.

However, Lord True denied the plans were contentious and said both Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors supported them at a council debate in April.

He said: “There are always naysayers who draw attention to themselves.

“There’s a minority of people with a doctrinaire position to voluntary aided schools. This is not just against a Catholic school, these people are opposed to Christian schools and denominational schools in any form.

“My answer is I simply disagree with those people and they are in my judgement a minority and in my experience hugely outnumbered by those who would like to see this school.”

In a poll by the Richmond and Twickenham Times, 63 per cent of 231 respondents disagreed with the idea Richmond should have a Catholic secondary school.

The council is due to approve the plans at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, July 21.

Comments (68)

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1:28pm Fri 15 Jul 11

twickenham-resident says...

There we go again. Not satisfied with proposing to sell off our youth centre at Heatham House, Councillor True is now proposing to use local tax payers money to purchase Twickenham's Adult Education College and set up a Catholic school in its place. I wonder what community services will be left in the Twickenham (or for that matter the whole of the Richmond borough) by the time this administration has run its course!
There we go again. Not satisfied with proposing to sell off our youth centre at Heatham House, Councillor True is now proposing to use local tax payers money to purchase Twickenham's Adult Education College and set up a Catholic school in its place. I wonder what community services will be left in the Twickenham (or for that matter the whole of the Richmond borough) by the time this administration has run its course! twickenham-resident
  • Score: 0

6:04pm Fri 15 Jul 11

JeremyRodell says...

The Council's own data shows a looming crisis in secondary school provision. Their response is to prioritise the interests of a small minority, supported by a powerful church. They not only want the privilege of their own exclusive schools, but are not satisfied with the 8 existing Catholic secondaries within a 5 miles radius of the centre of the borough. Go to www.richmondinclusiv
eschools.org.uk to support the campaign to make new secondary provision open to everyone.
The Council's own data shows a looming crisis in secondary school provision. Their response is to prioritise the interests of a small minority, supported by a powerful church. They not only want the privilege of their own exclusive schools, but are not satisfied with the 8 existing Catholic secondaries within a 5 miles radius of the centre of the borough. Go to www.richmondinclusiv eschools.org.uk to support the campaign to make new secondary provision open to everyone. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

7:49pm Fri 15 Jul 11

A Naysayer says...

Yes, I am by definition a naysayer (because I don't agree with you!!). But this idea that the opposition wants "draw attention to themselves" is very annoying.

We are drawing attention to the issue because we don't agree. We, the voters, don't agree. Remember us??? There seems to be quite a few of us......
Yes, I am by definition a naysayer (because I don't agree with you!!). But this idea that the opposition wants "draw attention to themselves" is very annoying. We are drawing attention to the issue because we don't agree. We, the voters, don't agree. Remember us??? There seems to be quite a few of us...... A Naysayer
  • Score: 0

8:08pm Fri 15 Jul 11

sirarthurbliss says...

I'm staggered by Lord True's patronising comments. The majority of residents want an inclusive school because it will be one they can send their kids to. It is these people that 'hugely outnumber' the vocal Catholic minority.
I'm staggered by Lord True's patronising comments. The majority of residents want an inclusive school because it will be one they can send their kids to. It is these people that 'hugely outnumber' the vocal Catholic minority. sirarthurbliss
  • Score: 0

1:45am Sat 16 Jul 11

LaurenceMann says...

I think the awful aspect of this is that the Council plan to spend taxpayers' money contributed by us all on the acquisition of this site and then give it (for that is what it amounts to) to what will in short order be an independent sectarian academy which will exclude pupils whose parents do not worship in a particular way - which appears to be around 90% of the relevant population.

Clifden has been a community education facility for many years and should stay as such; it would be an excellent site for a new 4-18 secondary open to all. It is an opportunity to resolve the really very serious general shortage of places at various points in our system which should not be thrown away.

If the Catholic Church wishes to fund the purchase and construction of a new school for parents who see an advantage in depriving their children of the opportunity to experience religious and philosophical diversity, then there is more than adequate provision for this via the route of a free school.

However the priority must be to find new places for all children, irrespective of their parents' beliefs. It is astonishing that this needs pointing out.

It is hard to see that logic or fiscal prudence is driving this initiative. I had thought that there was little chance that I might find myself living in a theocracy, but I am beginning to wonder.
I think the awful aspect of this is that the Council plan to spend taxpayers' money contributed by us all on the acquisition of this site and then give it (for that is what it amounts to) to what will in short order be an independent sectarian academy which will exclude pupils whose parents do not worship in a particular way - which appears to be around 90% of the relevant population. Clifden has been a community education facility for many years and should stay as such; it would be an excellent site for a new 4-18 secondary open to all. It is an opportunity to resolve the really very serious general shortage of places at various points in our system which should not be thrown away. If the Catholic Church wishes to fund the purchase and construction of a new school for parents who see an advantage in depriving their children of the opportunity to experience religious and philosophical diversity, then there is more than adequate provision for this via the route of a free school. However the priority must be to find new places for all children, irrespective of their parents' beliefs. It is astonishing that this needs pointing out. It is hard to see that logic or fiscal prudence is driving this initiative. I had thought that there was little chance that I might find myself living in a theocracy, but I am beginning to wonder. LaurenceMann
  • Score: 0

6:20pm Sat 16 Jul 11

Richmondandproud says...

Oh dear, I had hoped this Catholic secondary school idea would blow over, but it looks like it might sadly become a reality. To propose the borough needs a Catholic secondary simply because a minority of students aren’t able to be schooled in the borough (but they are able to be schooled locally) seems illogical, particularly when it is at the cost of an open secondary school and at huge cost to the rate payer.

It seems the Conservative's are determined to have the equivalent of ‘Liberal’s Twickenham Riverside’ moment: both had mass opposition to them yet the Council’s of the time couldn’t see it, and like its forerunner, this matter is likely to be decided at the ballot box, it will certainly influence my vote if it goes ahead as planned.
Oh dear, I had hoped this Catholic secondary school idea would blow over, but it looks like it might sadly become a reality. To propose the borough needs a Catholic secondary simply because a minority of students aren’t able to be schooled in the borough (but they are able to be schooled locally) seems illogical, particularly when it is at the cost of an open secondary school and at huge cost to the rate payer. It seems the Conservative's are determined to have the equivalent of ‘Liberal’s Twickenham Riverside’ moment: both had mass opposition to them yet the Council’s of the time couldn’t see it, and like its forerunner, this matter is likely to be decided at the ballot box, it will certainly influence my vote if it goes ahead as planned. Richmondandproud
  • Score: 0

10:56pm Sat 16 Jul 11

metis says...

The commentators here seem to have conveniently forgotten that western civilisation was built on Christianity. That it was the early Christians that introduced education for children in this country and that we are constitutionally a Christian country.
The commentators here seem to have conveniently forgotten that western civilisation was built on Christianity. That it was the early Christians that introduced education for children in this country and that we are constitutionally a Christian country. metis
  • Score: 0

5:05am Sun 17 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

The ideal school for this site would be one that reflected the local population, which is made up of people of all faith and none.
The current linked-school policy for secondary admissions should be modified so that parents of children at Catholic primaries have the choice to send their children to inclusive secondaries if they wish to. This is a choice that is currently denied to them. The governing body of Sacred Heart RC primary in Teddington succesfully challenged their lack of a linked local secondary with the schools adjudicator, and were subsequently linked with Teddington School. On the back of this decision, local links should also be created for the other Catholic primaries. That would reduce the demand for a new Catholic Secondary. Those parents who still wanted their children to transfer to Catholic Secondary schools in neighbouring boroughs could of course still do so. However, public money should not be spent on a new school that only caters for one faith group, and would draw children from a wide geographical area into an already congested Twickenham.
The ideal school for this site would be one that reflected the local population, which is made up of people of all faith and none. The current linked-school policy for secondary admissions should be modified so that parents of children at Catholic primaries have the choice to send their children to inclusive secondaries if they wish to. This is a choice that is currently denied to them. The governing body of Sacred Heart RC primary in Teddington succesfully challenged their lack of a linked local secondary with the schools adjudicator, and were subsequently linked with Teddington School. On the back of this decision, local links should also be created for the other Catholic primaries. That would reduce the demand for a new Catholic Secondary. Those parents who still wanted their children to transfer to Catholic Secondary schools in neighbouring boroughs could of course still do so. However, public money should not be spent on a new school that only caters for one faith group, and would draw children from a wide geographical area into an already congested Twickenham. BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

9:36am Sun 17 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

To clarify my previous post, children from Catholic primaries can apply to community secondaries, but they currently have little chance of getting into the more popular oversubscribed secondaries as priority is given to children from linked primaries. Apart from Sacred Heart, none of the Catholic primaries are linked to local secondaries, and that is fuelling the demand for a Catholic secondary. There is certainly an issue to be solved, but in my view this plan is the wrong solution.
To clarify my previous post, children from Catholic primaries can apply to community secondaries, but they currently have little chance of getting into the more popular oversubscribed secondaries as priority is given to children from linked primaries. Apart from Sacred Heart, none of the Catholic primaries are linked to local secondaries, and that is fuelling the demand for a Catholic secondary. There is certainly an issue to be solved, but in my view this plan is the wrong solution. BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

10:18am Sun 17 Jul 11

edrandall says...

Here we go again, it doesn't matter what colour the administration is, the hubris sets in ... very suprised at the Conservatives having their own "Twickenham Riverside" moment so soon.

Why are these council leaders allowed to wield so much power? They are elected to lead and provide best value and service for our money. Their own personal views should be set aside, they are, flankly, irrelevant. What about the other 90% of the population who aren't of the same religious persuasion as Lord True?

What will happen to the RACC in Clifden Road?

What will happen to our youth club at Heatham House?
Here we go again, it doesn't matter what colour the administration is, the hubris sets in ... very suprised at the Conservatives having their own "Twickenham Riverside" moment so soon. Why are these council leaders allowed to wield so much power? They are elected to lead and provide best value and service for our money. Their own personal views should be set aside, they are, flankly, irrelevant. What about the other 90% of the population who aren't of the same religious persuasion as Lord True? What will happen to the RACC in Clifden Road? What will happen to our youth club at Heatham House? edrandall
  • Score: 0

11:11am Sun 17 Jul 11

James Heather says...

1 very simple flaw with this whole colossal waste of money seems to be that if there are 8 catholic secondary schools within a 5 mile radius of the centre of the borough then this new school will not even be the nearest catholic school for most people. In fact unless you happen to live in Twickenham one of the other 8 existing schools will continue to be closer. Their admissions policies which favour catholics from LBRUT over their own local (non-catholic) children will ensure our children get chosen for admission. Forget all the other arguments for a moment... Can anyone please explain to me how this makes any sense at all to spend such a huge sum of taxpayers money to buy a piece of land and give it to the church when the most simple 5 minute research shows such a fundamental flaw in the councils strategy?
1 very simple flaw with this whole colossal waste of money seems to be that if there are 8 catholic secondary schools within a 5 mile radius of the centre of the borough then this new school will not even be the nearest catholic school for most people. In fact unless you happen to live in Twickenham one of the other 8 existing schools will continue to be closer. Their admissions policies which favour catholics from LBRUT over their own local (non-catholic) children will ensure our children get chosen for admission. Forget all the other arguments for a moment... Can anyone please explain to me how this makes any sense at all to spend such a huge sum of taxpayers money to buy a piece of land and give it to the church when the most simple 5 minute research shows such a fundamental flaw in the councils strategy? James Heather
  • Score: 0

12:02pm Sun 17 Jul 11

nhouston says...

I think people are forgetting the fact that Catholic schools, notoriously provide excellent results year on year and are assuming that there will be a strictly Catholic intake, which in my experience is not the case as it is done with link schools and local children, hence the fact that yes there may be Catholic schools within a 5 mile radius, but these schools already are oversubscribed, due to their link schools and local students, some are holding 1800 students in a complex only big enough for 1300 and having to bring in the huts. The fact remains that secondary school places are becoming scarce and either way a new school in the area would be fantastic. No doubt there will be a non-Catholic intake percentage, or even if not, it will free up places of the state schools.
I think people are forgetting the fact that Catholic schools, notoriously provide excellent results year on year and are assuming that there will be a strictly Catholic intake, which in my experience is not the case as it is done with link schools and local children, hence the fact that yes there may be Catholic schools within a 5 mile radius, but these schools already are oversubscribed, due to their link schools and local students, some are holding 1800 students in a complex only big enough for 1300 and having to bring in the huts. The fact remains that secondary school places are becoming scarce and either way a new school in the area would be fantastic. No doubt there will be a non-Catholic intake percentage, or even if not, it will free up places of the state schools. nhouston
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Sun 17 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

Certainly if the Catholic school was to have an open admissions policy then there would be less objection. Even if they were to reserve a percentage of their places for open admission, as local Church of England schools do, then it would be more pallatable. However, none of the other local Catholic secondary schools do that, and so there is currently no reason to assume that this one will. If the entrance policy mirrors that of comparable schools then it would prioritise Catholic children from other boroughs over non-Catholic children living close to the school.
Certainly if the Catholic school was to have an open admissions policy then there would be less objection. Even if they were to reserve a percentage of their places for open admission, as local Church of England schools do, then it would be more pallatable. However, none of the other local Catholic secondary schools do that, and so there is currently no reason to assume that this one will. If the entrance policy mirrors that of comparable schools then it would prioritise Catholic children from other boroughs over non-Catholic children living close to the school. BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

3:06pm Sun 17 Jul 11

sirarthurbliss says...

Perhaps the council might like to enlighten us as to exactly what admissions policy this school will have.

But let's face it - children whose parents contribute to the church roof fund will be prioritised over children of 'apostates', despite the fact we will all be funding it.
Perhaps the council might like to enlighten us as to exactly what admissions policy this school will have. But let's face it - children whose parents contribute to the church roof fund will be prioritised over children of 'apostates', despite the fact we will all be funding it. sirarthurbliss
  • Score: 0

3:21pm Sun 17 Jul 11

twickenham-resident says...

In the light of the recent cuts to children's services in our borough, is the purchase of Richmond Adult & Community College's Clifden Centre by Richmond Council for the purpose of setting up a Catholic secondary school, the most appropriate use of local tax-payers money?

The cuts included scrapping the young peoples magazine Outskirts, cutting the young people’s substance misuse service and effectively closing the Connexions service, which provides education and careers advice to young people.

My guess is that if you asked the current administration what would be the best use of the cash surplus that is being accrued by Richmond council as a result of cuts they would prioritise pot-holes over people.
In the light of the recent cuts to children's services in our borough, is the purchase of Richmond Adult & Community College's Clifden Centre by Richmond Council for the purpose of setting up a Catholic secondary school, the most appropriate use of local tax-payers money? The cuts included scrapping the young peoples magazine Outskirts, cutting the young people’s substance misuse service and effectively closing the Connexions service, which provides education and careers advice to young people. My guess is that if you asked the current administration what would be the best use of the cash surplus that is being accrued by Richmond council as a result of cuts they would prioritise pot-holes over people. twickenham-resident
  • Score: 0

5:01pm Sun 17 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

If the school is Voluntary Aided like other local church schools then the council won't have any say in the Admissions Policy.
If the school is Voluntary Aided like other local church schools then the council won't have any say in the Admissions Policy. BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

12:44pm Mon 18 Jul 11

Teddington mum says...

The primary schools in the borough are struggling to cope with extra numbers, frequent bulge years and expansion programs. All of these primary pupils will be filtering into the secondary schools very soon. The council is keen to introduce sixth forms in the borough, I agree with this but I wonder how many secondary places will be taken by this move?

The proposal of new secondary schools to alleviate some of this pressure is sensible but suspect that a new Catholic school will simply keep pupils who currently travel outside of the borough within the borough, it will not provide significant places for the influx of non-religious primary age children about to enter the secondary system. Catholics are a minority within Richmond - how can the council justify reserving such a large number of school places for this minority?

I think all children should have the opportunity to have a high standard of education regardless of faith. I believe that schools should be inclusive and tolerant and no state-funded school should be allowed to discriminate on the grounds of religion for any of their teacher posts or any pupil places.
The primary schools in the borough are struggling to cope with extra numbers, frequent bulge years and expansion programs. All of these primary pupils will be filtering into the secondary schools very soon. The council is keen to introduce sixth forms in the borough, I agree with this but I wonder how many secondary places will be taken by this move? The proposal of new secondary schools to alleviate some of this pressure is sensible but suspect that a new Catholic school will simply keep pupils who currently travel outside of the borough within the borough, it will not provide significant places for the influx of non-religious primary age children about to enter the secondary system. Catholics are a minority within Richmond - how can the council justify reserving such a large number of school places for this minority? I think all children should have the opportunity to have a high standard of education regardless of faith. I believe that schools should be inclusive and tolerant and no state-funded school should be allowed to discriminate on the grounds of religion for any of their teacher posts or any pupil places. Teddington mum
  • Score: 0

1:28pm Mon 18 Jul 11

metis says...

‘Twickenham resident’s’ concerns about expenditure:
Tax-payer money is tight and a new school is an urgent priority. Do you put years of time, effort and money in looking for a new site, with the probability that costs and time will over-run (Perhaps one of the Lib Dems here can remind us how many millions the Teddington school went over budget) or do you purchase a readily available site and purpose-built facility in situ which is currently under utilised and which suits both parties.
I think that’s whats called ‘A no-brainer’
‘Twickenham resident’s’ concerns about expenditure: Tax-payer money is tight and a new school is an urgent priority. Do you put years of time, effort and money in looking for a new site, with the probability that costs and time will over-run (Perhaps one of the Lib Dems here can remind us how many millions the Teddington school went over budget) or do you purchase a readily available site and purpose-built facility in situ which is currently under utilised and which suits both parties. I think that’s whats called ‘A no-brainer’ metis
  • Score: 0

1:48pm Mon 18 Jul 11

metis says...

In response to Lawrence Mann:
The problem with so-called pluralism in the state schools is that it results in rather a new-agey mishmash of everything goes (today children we’re going to be hindus, so let’s all ask Ganesh into our hearts…etc).
In response to Lawrence Mann: The problem with so-called pluralism in the state schools is that it results in rather a new-agey mishmash of everything goes (today children we’re going to be hindus, so let’s all ask Ganesh into our hearts…etc). metis
  • Score: 0

2:46pm Mon 18 Jul 11

twickenham-resident says...

The Council's proposal to use public funds for the establishment of an exclusive religious school does seem to be linked to the overall cut back by the council in universal youth provision. There is undoubtedly a need to provide for a large expansion of secondary school places in Richmond. To quote from the December 2010 report of the Richmond Borough Director of Education 'By 2014, it is forecast that the current capacity of 1,560 across the eight secondary schools and academies within the borough will not be sufficient to accommodate all in-borough children whose parents would want school places.' Richmond Council has a legal duty under section 14 of the Education Act 1996 to ensure that there are sufficient schools, in its area, that provides primary and secondary education. Even if they do not wish to provide services for all the children of the borough, let's hope that at least they take that legal duty seriously.
The Council's proposal to use public funds for the establishment of an exclusive religious school does seem to be linked to the overall cut back by the council in universal youth provision. There is undoubtedly a need to provide for a large expansion of secondary school places in Richmond. To quote from the December 2010 report of the Richmond Borough Director of Education 'By 2014, it is forecast that the current capacity of 1,560 across the eight secondary schools and academies within the borough will not be sufficient to accommodate all in-borough children whose parents would want school places.' Richmond Council has a legal duty under section 14 of the Education Act 1996 to ensure that there are sufficient schools, in its area, that provides primary and secondary education. Even if they do not wish to provide services for all the children of the borough, let's hope that at least they take that legal duty seriously. twickenham-resident
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Mon 18 Jul 11

jeremyhm says...

It seems that LibDem Cllr Eady was in favour of this. I believe that there was cross-party support during a Council debate last year.
It seems that LibDem Cllr Eady was in favour of this. I believe that there was cross-party support during a Council debate last year. jeremyhm
  • Score: 0

5:24pm Mon 18 Jul 11

ChrisSquire says...

In a statement (Jul 17) Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Cllr Malcolm Eady said:
"We welcome the Council's proposal to purchase the Richmond Adult and Community College site in Twickenham for a new secondary school. The steadily rising birth rate will, in 3 to 4 years' time, result in the borough requiring a new secondary school. If the Council's present administration continues to encourage existing secondary schools to reduce their 11-16 intake to provide space for post 16 provision, then this will further increase the need for more secondary school classrooms.

"However, given this urgent need for extra community secondary school places and that we do not know the level of Government funding for a new Catholic school and a community secondary school, it would be premature to offer this property to others. We support the Catholic archdiocese's wish for a state Catholic Secondary school in the borough, but, with uncertainties over available resources, it should not be at the expense of community secondary school provision. The latter must have the first call on available public money and land. I hope the Government will fund both."
In a statement (Jul 17) Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Cllr Malcolm Eady said: "We welcome the Council's proposal to purchase the Richmond Adult and Community College site in Twickenham for a new secondary school. The steadily rising birth rate will, in 3 to 4 years' time, result in the borough requiring a new secondary school. If the Council's present administration continues to encourage existing secondary schools to reduce their 11-16 intake to provide space for post 16 provision, then this will further increase the need for more secondary school classrooms. "However, given this urgent need for extra community secondary school places and that we do not know the level of Government funding for a new Catholic school and a community secondary school, it would be premature to offer this property to others. We support the Catholic archdiocese's wish for a state Catholic Secondary school in the borough, but, with uncertainties over available resources, it should not be at the expense of community secondary school provision. The latter must have the first call on available public money and land. I hope the Government will fund both." ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Mon 18 Jul 11

Dr James Murphy says...

How about a survey of parents of 8-12 year-olds in the borough. I suspect the 'minority' that Lord True so rudely dismisses would turn out to be a thumping majority in favour of a non-sectarian school for their children.
How about a survey of parents of 8-12 year-olds in the borough. I suspect the 'minority' that Lord True so rudely dismisses would turn out to be a thumping majority in favour of a non-sectarian school for their children. Dr James Murphy
  • Score: 0

10:41am Tue 19 Jul 11

twickenham-resident says...

I think that Councillor Eady has completely misunderstood the Conservative administrations intentions. They are not proposing to use the education budget to fund a religous school at the Clifden Centre. Much too controversial and legally suspect! They seem to be intending to use the general fund savings which they are accruing from their cut-back in Children's services funding.
I think that Councillor Eady has completely misunderstood the Conservative administrations intentions. They are not proposing to use the education budget to fund a religous school at the Clifden Centre. Much too controversial and legally suspect! They seem to be intending to use the general fund savings which they are accruing from their cut-back in Children's services funding. twickenham-resident
  • Score: 0

10:50am Tue 19 Jul 11

SP Hampton says...

What some of the commentors fail to recognise is that many of the current catholic schools outside of the borough are not now accepting catholic children from our Borough as their places are filled by pupils within their own borough. St Marks in Hounslow and Wimbledon College are no longer options for Richmond Borough pupils. This situation will only worsen over time with other Catholic schools closing their doors to pupils from our Borough. Currently catholics pupils are discriminated against as - with the exception of Sacred Heart Primary School - the catholic primary schools do not have a link secondary school so pupils are not accepted into the high performing Orleans Park and Teddington schools. These schools do remain an option for many of the other primary schools. Yes there is clearly a need for more secondary school places in the Borough but there is also a need for a Catholic Secondary School.
What some of the commentors fail to recognise is that many of the current catholic schools outside of the borough are not now accepting catholic children from our Borough as their places are filled by pupils within their own borough. St Marks in Hounslow and Wimbledon College are no longer options for Richmond Borough pupils. This situation will only worsen over time with other Catholic schools closing their doors to pupils from our Borough. Currently catholics pupils are discriminated against as - with the exception of Sacred Heart Primary School - the catholic primary schools do not have a link secondary school so pupils are not accepted into the high performing Orleans Park and Teddington schools. These schools do remain an option for many of the other primary schools. Yes there is clearly a need for more secondary school places in the Borough but there is also a need for a Catholic Secondary School. SP Hampton
  • Score: 0

3:01pm Tue 19 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

In the Sacred Heart judgement (June 2007) the adjudicator made it clear that he thought the way school links are determined in our local admission system discriminates against children from Catholic primaries who might wish to transfer to inclusive community schools. Quote: "In general it is unfortunate that the outcome of applications are in part determined by choices and decisions made by the parents of previous cohorts of pupils. More particularly, the system as operated has the effect of preventing the admission of small number of children to a school serving the community in which they live." Large numbers of children from Catholic state primaries transfer to non-Catholic private secondary schools (18 children from St James RC primary last year), so why should we assume that they "need" this new state school to be a Catholic one. Many of them would be happy with a high quality inclusive school if that was an option.
In the Sacred Heart judgement (June 2007) the adjudicator made it clear that he thought the way school links are determined in our local admission system discriminates against children from Catholic primaries who might wish to transfer to inclusive community schools. Quote: "In general it is unfortunate that the outcome of applications are in part determined by choices and decisions made by the parents of previous cohorts of pupils. More particularly, the system as operated has the effect of preventing the admission of small number of children to a school serving the community in which they live." Large numbers of children from Catholic state primaries transfer to non-Catholic private secondary schools (18 children from St James RC primary last year), so why should we assume that they "need" this new state school to be a Catholic one. Many of them would be happy with a high quality inclusive school if that was an option. BS_Twickenham
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4:11pm Tue 19 Jul 11

TWICKERS MUM says...

What fantastic news!!! At last a chance for a Catholic school. Well done to Anthony Kennedy for his hard work over the past few years. With so many primary catholic schools in the area and no secondary school; children aged 11 had to travel for miles to go to school. None of local secondary schools has a feeder system for the local catholic schools. Our local school Orleans would not be open to us as it is a feeder school for the non catholic primary schools in the area.
What fantastic news!!! At last a chance for a Catholic school. Well done to Anthony Kennedy for his hard work over the past few years. With so many primary catholic schools in the area and no secondary school; children aged 11 had to travel for miles to go to school. None of local secondary schools has a feeder system for the local catholic schools. Our local school Orleans would not be open to us as it is a feeder school for the non catholic primary schools in the area. TWICKERS MUM
  • Score: 0

4:36pm Tue 19 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

As well as the *18 children that St James RC primary sent to non-Catholic private schools last year (compared to just 1 that went to the local Catholic one, St Catherines, just down the road in Twickenham) they sent 13 to Waldegrave, which is outside of the Link system. If the new school at the Clifden centre was to be mixed Community, or a boys Community school, then it would be reasonable to assume that an equivalent number would apply to go there, provided that it was also Outstanding. Our borough has a good record in providing Outstanding secondary education at its community schools. The Catholic population should have equal access to those schools.

(*Note: These figures come from St James' RC Primary School September newsletter, which lists transfer details for their cohort of 78 children).
As well as the *18 children that St James RC primary sent to non-Catholic private schools last year (compared to just 1 that went to the local Catholic one, St Catherines, just down the road in Twickenham) they sent 13 to Waldegrave, which is outside of the Link system. If the new school at the Clifden centre was to be mixed Community, or a boys Community school, then it would be reasonable to assume that an equivalent number would apply to go there, provided that it was also Outstanding. Our borough has a good record in providing Outstanding secondary education at its community schools. The Catholic population should have equal access to those schools. (*Note: These figures come from St James' RC Primary School September newsletter, which lists transfer details for their cohort of 78 children). BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

4:44pm Tue 19 Jul 11

LaurenceMann says...

metis, Twickenham said in response to me: "The problem with so-called pluralism in the state schools is that it results in rather a new-agey mishmash of everything goes (today children we’re going to be hindus, so let’s all ask Ganesh into our hearts…etc)."

That's an interesting point, but we do live in a society which has diverse cultural references, and to my mind the main object of RE in schools is to get over to pupils that people find different ways to give vent to their spiritual sides.

I can see no advantage to a school which promotes one specific and restricted philosophy of life, and if parents want this sort of environment then they should provide it at home.

If you disagree, which you obviously do, why should a new school, using scarce resources, promote the philosophy of one Christian sect over all other beliefs?

My objection to this school is mainly that it will be a "school for the few"; and will exclude most people's children, in circumstances where we need a school for "the many".
metis, Twickenham said in response to me: "The problem with so-called pluralism in the state schools is that it results in rather a new-agey mishmash of everything goes (today children we’re going to be hindus, so let’s all ask Ganesh into our hearts…etc)." That's an interesting point, but we do live in a society which has diverse cultural references, and to my mind the main object of RE in schools is to get over to pupils that people find different ways to give vent to their spiritual sides. I can see no advantage to a school which promotes one specific and restricted philosophy of life, and if parents want this sort of environment then they should provide it at home. If you disagree, which you obviously do, why should a new school, using scarce resources, promote the philosophy of one Christian sect over all other beliefs? My objection to this school is mainly that it will be a "school for the few"; and will exclude most people's children, in circumstances where we need a school for "the many". LaurenceMann
  • Score: 0

6:57pm Tue 19 Jul 11

nhouston says...

A Catholic school doesnot met very lesson, even in RE is started with a prayer and highly promoted Catholic values, they are usually more subtle, with a catholic ethos of the staff, providing a high quality pastoral care, I am a religious studies teacher and can assure that RE lessons are non-prescriptive, just informant and do cover all major world religions.
A Catholic school doesnot met very lesson, even in RE is started with a prayer and highly promoted Catholic values, they are usually more subtle, with a catholic ethos of the staff, providing a high quality pastoral care, I am a religious studies teacher and can assure that RE lessons are non-prescriptive, just informant and do cover all major world religions. nhouston
  • Score: 0

6:57pm Tue 19 Jul 11

nhouston says...

and that is in catholic schools also
and that is in catholic schools also nhouston
  • Score: 0

7:15pm Tue 19 Jul 11

JeremyRodell says...

RE is an important subject in our plural world, and in understanding our cultural heritage. But in terms of bias, the facts speak for themselves: the Council's Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) has representatives from a range of religions and beliefs and sets the RE syllabus for all the boroughs community schools. The RE syllabus for Catholic schools is set by the Church. And the Church - not Ofsted - inspects the RE teaching. It may indeed cover other beliefs, but it is doing it in the context of the Church's stated purpose of Catholic schools to "assist parents pass the faith on to their children".
Why the State should be financing that is another question.
RE is an important subject in our plural world, and in understanding our cultural heritage. But in terms of bias, the facts speak for themselves: the Council's Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) has representatives from a range of religions and beliefs and sets the RE syllabus for all the boroughs community schools. The RE syllabus for Catholic schools is set by the Church. And the Church - not Ofsted - inspects the RE teaching. It may indeed cover other beliefs, but it is doing it in the context of the Church's stated purpose of Catholic schools to "assist parents pass the faith on to their children". Why the State should be financing that is another question. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

7:19pm Tue 19 Jul 11

JeremyRodell says...

More people have been signing up to Richmond Inclusive schools Campaign since this story broke. If you support the campaign, go to:
www.richmondinclusiv
eschools.org.uk
More people have been signing up to Richmond Inclusive schools Campaign since this story broke. If you support the campaign, go to: www.richmondinclusiv eschools.org.uk JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

8:24pm Tue 19 Jul 11

Luke Parker says...

I think it is worth pointing out that Richmond council isn’t proposing to turn every single school in the borough over to the Catholic Church: this is one new school to meet a strong demand from the local Catholic Community. Those who wish to send their children to a non-faith school still have the choice of almost every other school in the borough!

I attended a Catholic Secondary school myself and have chosen to send my three children to one of the excellent Catholic primary schools in the area. I would be extremely disappointed if my children have to be sent out of the borough in order to continue their education at secondary level.

For those who argue that they don’t want to spend their taxes on this school I would respectfully remind them that I pay taxes too (an awful lot of them!), and so do the 2000+ other Catholics in the borough. It should also be noted that the Catholic Church make a significant contribution toward the set up costs of their schools. Once established, this school will free up places in others locally, effectively subsidising the amount of places available in Richmond at a far lower cost to the local taxpayers than would be achieved without the Church’s funds.

Despite the many cynical comments expressed about why people choose faith schools, the fact remains that the additional funds contributed by the Church and the close link between the Church community and their schools have produced some stunningly successful comprehensive schools across the country - why wouldn’t we want a school of that calibre in Richmond?

My congratulations to Anthony Kennedy, Councillor True (and all the major parties locally) for continuing to support this school despite a small, but highly vocal minority who seem set on using this issue as an opportunity to vent their views on religion.
I think it is worth pointing out that Richmond council isn’t proposing to turn every single school in the borough over to the Catholic Church: this is one new school to meet a strong demand from the local Catholic Community. Those who wish to send their children to a non-faith school still have the choice of almost every other school in the borough! I attended a Catholic Secondary school myself and have chosen to send my three children to one of the excellent Catholic primary schools in the area. I would be extremely disappointed if my children have to be sent out of the borough in order to continue their education at secondary level. For those who argue that they don’t want to spend their taxes on this school I would respectfully remind them that I pay taxes too (an awful lot of them!), and so do the 2000+ other Catholics in the borough. It should also be noted that the Catholic Church make a significant contribution toward the set up costs of their schools. Once established, this school will free up places in others locally, effectively subsidising the amount of places available in Richmond at a far lower cost to the local taxpayers than would be achieved without the Church’s funds. Despite the many cynical comments expressed about why people choose faith schools, the fact remains that the additional funds contributed by the Church and the close link between the Church community and their schools have produced some stunningly successful comprehensive schools across the country - why wouldn’t we want a school of that calibre in Richmond? My congratulations to Anthony Kennedy, Councillor True (and all the major parties locally) for continuing to support this school despite a small, but highly vocal minority who seem set on using this issue as an opportunity to vent their views on religion. Luke Parker
  • Score: 0

9:00pm Tue 19 Jul 11

ChrisSquire says...

How much will the RC Church contribute to this school if it is set up? So far, I believe they have declined to put up a single £.
How much will the RC Church contribute to this school if it is set up? So far, I believe they have declined to put up a single £. ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

9:11pm Tue 19 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

All borough taxpayers should be able to get their child into a local secondary school, including Catholics. The current linked school system doesn't allow that, and it should be reformed. We also need additional places at secondary level. However, those are not arguments for creating a school that discriminates in its admissions on grounds of faith. A new high quality community school will serve the purpose just as well. In neighbouring Hounslow, which does have Catholic secondary schools, a Muslim school is now being called for in the name of balance. Should we have one of those here too? Is that a good direction to be going in?
All borough taxpayers should be able to get their child into a local secondary school, including Catholics. The current linked school system doesn't allow that, and it should be reformed. We also need additional places at secondary level. However, those are not arguments for creating a school that discriminates in its admissions on grounds of faith. A new high quality community school will serve the purpose just as well. In neighbouring Hounslow, which does have Catholic secondary schools, a Muslim school is now being called for in the name of balance. Should we have one of those here too? Is that a good direction to be going in? BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

10:24pm Tue 19 Jul 11

Dr James Murphy says...

If Lord True was driving forward plans for non-sectarian schools with the same amount of theocratic zeal he's putting into this Catholic one then perhaps the 'naysayers' will be less vocal because they'll have a school that won't reject their children out of hand.

Why such an obsessive prioritisation of places for the few?
If Lord True was driving forward plans for non-sectarian schools with the same amount of theocratic zeal he's putting into this Catholic one then perhaps the 'naysayers' will be less vocal because they'll have a school that won't reject their children out of hand. Why such an obsessive prioritisation of places for the few? Dr James Murphy
  • Score: 0

10:53pm Tue 19 Jul 11

sirarthurbliss says...

Dr Murphy has a good point. The imminent council cabinet meeting will actually only decide about the purchase of the site - not what will go on it. Yet look at the headline and Lord True's comments and it appears the Catholic school is a fait accompli.
Dr Murphy has a good point. The imminent council cabinet meeting will actually only decide about the purchase of the site - not what will go on it. Yet look at the headline and Lord True's comments and it appears the Catholic school is a fait accompli. sirarthurbliss
  • Score: 0

12:19am Wed 20 Jul 11

metis says...

The Catholic schools do not discriminate against the non-believers. It discriminates in favour of its own. Subtle difference. Positive discrimination is something dear to the Liberal Left so I am surprised at their stance on this.
Parents naturally want or hope their childs school to endorse their own values and beliefs not have them diluted by pluralism and moral relativism at the behest of the State (who now seem to believe they should be the sole arbiters of our morals)
Our civilization was built on Christianity - our laws, our customs, our traditions and yes, our freedoms. Try living as a Christian female in Saudia Arabia!!. It is the Judo/Christian tradition that allows freedom for pluralism and many ideas anti-thetical to its cause to exist. Ignore this at your peril.
The Catholic schools do not discriminate against the non-believers. It discriminates in favour of its own. Subtle difference. Positive discrimination is something dear to the Liberal Left so I am surprised at their stance on this. Parents naturally want or hope their childs school to endorse their own values and beliefs not have them diluted by pluralism and moral relativism at the behest of the State (who now seem to believe they should be the sole arbiters of our morals) Our civilization was built on Christianity - our laws, our customs, our traditions and yes, our freedoms. Try living as a Christian female in Saudia Arabia!!. It is the Judo/Christian tradition that allows freedom for pluralism and many ideas anti-thetical to its cause to exist. Ignore this at your peril. metis
  • Score: 0

1:05am Wed 20 Jul 11

ChrisSquire says...

Sirarthurbliss: the agenda for the cabinet meeting on Thursday 21st is at: http://www.richmond.
gov.uk/calendar_of_m
eetings?mgl=ieListDo
cuments.aspx&CId=163
&MId=2750

It doesn't mention the site purchase. Please explain just what you are referring to.
Sirarthurbliss: the agenda for the cabinet meeting on Thursday 21st is at: http://www.richmond. gov.uk/calendar_of_m eetings?mgl=ieListDo cuments.aspx&CId=163 &MId=2750 It doesn't mention the site purchase. Please explain just what you are referring to. ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

8:34am Wed 20 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

Once the purchase of land is complete there needs to be a full consultation on the type of school to be built. Personally I would like to see a specialist science college, as currently the only school in the Twickenham area with a science specialism is Waldegrave, and that is only open to girls. I have heard other people calling for an all-boys school, again to balance the Waldegrave effect. All these views, and others, should be taken into account, and any school that is created should be fully accessible to children from Catholic primaries.
Once the purchase of land is complete there needs to be a full consultation on the type of school to be built. Personally I would like to see a specialist science college, as currently the only school in the Twickenham area with a science specialism is Waldegrave, and that is only open to girls. I have heard other people calling for an all-boys school, again to balance the Waldegrave effect. All these views, and others, should be taken into account, and any school that is created should be fully accessible to children from Catholic primaries. BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

9:50am Wed 20 Jul 11

sirarthurbliss says...

Chris - After reading this article I wrote to councillors to protest that they were acting in the interests of the few by building a Catholic school. They wrote back (and I paraphrase): 'But we're only making a decision about buying the site.'

Since this article's headline is (at least for now) incorrect, I suspect the date of the Cabinet meeting is as well.
Chris - After reading this article I wrote to councillors to protest that they were acting in the interests of the few by building a Catholic school. They wrote back (and I paraphrase): 'But we're only making a decision about buying the site.' Since this article's headline is (at least for now) incorrect, I suspect the date of the Cabinet meeting is as well. sirarthurbliss
  • Score: 0

10:23am Wed 20 Jul 11

JeremyRodell says...

Point of information: the Council's own press release says: "The acquisition of the Clifden site could pave the way for the Council to deliver on the longstanding promises to support the creation of a state Catholic Secondary School for Richmond upon Thames." It then gives the quote from Lord True reproduced in the RTT article. The intention is clear.
Point of information: the Council's own press release says: "The acquisition of the Clifden site could pave the way for the Council to deliver on the longstanding promises to support the creation of a state Catholic Secondary School for Richmond upon Thames." It then gives the quote from Lord True reproduced in the RTT article. The intention is clear. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

10:50am Wed 20 Jul 11

ChrisSquire says...

The press release I found on Friday has been deleted. I can find no reference to the purchase of the site on www.richmond.gov.uk. The most recent stories are:

‘Jul 19, 2011
Dallaglio leads rally to defend sports fields - Rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio and actress Patricia Hodge were among the hundreds local residents who took part in a demonstration against plans to base a giant construction site Barn Elms playing...
Jul 19, 2011
Sky Ride Local Programme kicks off - Newcomers to cycling and enthusiastic cyclists can now register to take part in the new Sky Ride Local rides in Richmond upon Thames - launching on 7 August.
Jul 18, 2011
Council's commitment to libraries confirmed - 15 July 2011 None of the borough’s 12 libraries will be closed, despite the increased pressures on Richmond Council’s budget, as it works to save £35million in the next three years. That is the con...
Jul 13, 2011 . . ‘

Perhaps Lord True has realised the folly of his plan?
The press release I found on Friday has been deleted. I can find no reference to the purchase of the site on www.richmond.gov.uk. The most recent stories are: ‘Jul 19, 2011 Dallaglio leads rally to defend sports fields - Rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio and actress Patricia Hodge were among the hundreds local residents who took part in a demonstration against plans to base a giant construction site Barn Elms playing... Jul 19, 2011 Sky Ride Local Programme kicks off - Newcomers to cycling and enthusiastic cyclists can now register to take part in the new Sky Ride Local rides in Richmond upon Thames - launching on 7 August. Jul 18, 2011 Council's commitment to libraries confirmed - 15 July 2011 None of the borough’s 12 libraries will be closed, despite the increased pressures on Richmond Council’s budget, as it works to save £35million in the next three years. That is the con... Jul 13, 2011 . . ‘ Perhaps Lord True has realised the folly of his plan? ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Wed 20 Jul 11

ChrisSquire says...

The (presumably revised) press release has just come to hand (5 days old but still not on the Council website - are they ashamed of it, perhaps?):

'15.07.11 Plans for new school get green light
Richmond Council is proposing to purchase the Richmond Adult Community College (RACC) premises at Clifden Road in Twickenham for the purpose of providing a new primary and secondary school for the borough.

The project is being made possible following a decision by the College on Wednesday evening to sell the site to the local authority. The Council’s proposals are now subject to final agreement by the cabinet on Thursday 21 July. The acquisition of the Clifden site could pave the way for the Council to deliver on the longstanding promises to support the creation of a state Catholic Secondary School for Richmond upon Thames.

Talking about the proposals, Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council said: . . “I would stress that this is just the beginning of a process. It will involve careful negotiation with a number of parties including RACC. But it may now also pave the way to deliver on the ambition cherished by so many local people of providing a Catholic secondary school for our borough and reflected in the 1,000-plus signature petition gathered by Mr Anthony Kennedy.

“Almost 10 per cent of our residents who are of the Roman Catholic faith currently have to send their children out of the borough for an education of their choice. We want to play our part in putting that to rights. As I have made clear our door is open to co-operation with the Catholic Archdioceses – the opportunity is now for them to come forward and make that hope a reality. The lack of a potential site is no longer a reason for not doing so. We look forward to working positively with them . . '

A new Catholic school is something that COULD happen, not something that WILL happen. A bit like the publication of this press release, in fact!
The (presumably revised) press release has just come to hand (5 days old but still not on the Council website - are they ashamed of it, perhaps?): '15.07.11 Plans for new school get green light Richmond Council is proposing to purchase the Richmond Adult Community College (RACC) premises at Clifden Road in Twickenham for the purpose of providing a new primary and secondary school for the borough. The project is being made possible following a decision by the College on Wednesday evening to sell the site to the local authority. The Council’s proposals are now subject to final agreement by the cabinet on Thursday 21 July. The acquisition of the Clifden site could pave the way for the Council to deliver on the longstanding promises to support the creation of a state Catholic Secondary School for Richmond upon Thames. Talking about the proposals, Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council said: . . “I would stress that this is just the beginning of a process. It will involve careful negotiation with a number of parties including RACC. But it may now also pave the way to deliver on the ambition cherished by so many local people of providing a Catholic secondary school for our borough and reflected in the 1,000-plus signature petition gathered by Mr Anthony Kennedy. “Almost 10 per cent of our residents who are of the Roman Catholic faith currently have to send their children out of the borough for an education of their choice. We want to play our part in putting that to rights. As I have made clear our door is open to co-operation with the Catholic Archdioceses – the opportunity is now for them to come forward and make that hope a reality. The lack of a potential site is no longer a reason for not doing so. We look forward to working positively with them . . ' A new Catholic school is something that COULD happen, not something that WILL happen. A bit like the publication of this press release, in fact! ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

2:36pm Wed 20 Jul 11

Scott Naylor says...

Chris Squire, Richmond & Twickenham Lib Dem webmaster appears to begging against his whole party's public support of an RC Secondary School.

I quote from Chris Squire's comments after his amazing self appointed stirring job (straight from the Lib Dem below book) pseudo editing from above:

"Perhaps Lord True has realised the folly of this plan?"

Maybe he wasn't there at Councils's debate on this matter of total cross party support. That means the Lib Dem party whom you supposedly represent in public terms through association are in conflict with your views, are these now your party views whom you are their public face in website publishing terms?

As a Ward Councillor for.Twickenham Riverside with the huge demand on local schools I warmly welcome this site to be dual purpose as brought back into it's original purpose of school use for both primary and secondary purposes, a win win for our town, no doubt it will also incorporate a sixth form we so desperately need, something the Conservatives have pledged to introduce in our secondary schools and is hugely popular with residents as an alternative option, all kids respond and mature different ways and at different times, and now with Ether College being a complete out of the hat lottery, never has there been more of a need to champion education within our Borough for our kids.
Chris Squire, Richmond & Twickenham Lib Dem webmaster appears to begging against his whole party's public support of an RC Secondary School. I quote from Chris Squire's comments after his amazing self appointed stirring job (straight from the Lib Dem below book) pseudo editing from above: "Perhaps Lord True has realised the folly of this plan?" Maybe he wasn't there at Councils's debate on this matter of total cross party support. That means the Lib Dem party whom you supposedly represent in public terms through association are in conflict with your views, are these now your party views whom you are their public face in website publishing terms? As a Ward Councillor for.Twickenham Riverside with the huge demand on local schools I warmly welcome this site to be dual purpose as brought back into it's original purpose of school use for both primary and secondary purposes, a win win for our town, no doubt it will also incorporate a sixth form we so desperately need, something the Conservatives have pledged to introduce in our secondary schools and is hugely popular with residents as an alternative option, all kids respond and mature different ways and at different times, and now with Ether College being a complete out of the hat lottery, never has there been more of a need to champion education within our Borough for our kids. Scott Naylor
  • Score: 0

4:11pm Wed 20 Jul 11

JeremyRodell says...

Sorry Scott, the LibDems have issued a press release headed "A new Community school must be the first priority". That doesn't look like "total all party support" to me.

I also attended the famous April debate Scott refers to. There was no vote and only three speakers: Lord True, Cllr Elliott (a Conservative who's a governor of a Catholic school) and the LibDem spokesman Cllr Eady. Cllr Eady - disappointingly in the view of many - indeed said he supported the idea of a Catholic school, but he emphasised the more important overall need for places.
We also know that there are several Councillors, not only LibDems, who feel very unhappy about the Catholic school plan and want high quality new schools open to all.

There is not "total all party support" for this unfair and divisive policy.
Sign up at www.richmondinclusiv
eschools.org.uk if you agree.
Sorry Scott, the LibDems have issued a press release headed "A new Community school must be the first priority". That doesn't look like "total all party support" to me. I also attended the famous April debate Scott refers to. There was no vote and only three speakers: Lord True, Cllr Elliott (a Conservative who's a governor of a Catholic school) and the LibDem spokesman Cllr Eady. Cllr Eady - disappointingly in the view of many - indeed said he supported the idea of a Catholic school, but he emphasised the more important overall need for places. We also know that there are several Councillors, not only LibDems, who feel very unhappy about the Catholic school plan and want high quality new schools open to all. There is not "total all party support" for this unfair and divisive policy. Sign up at www.richmondinclusiv eschools.org.uk if you agree. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

4:46pm Wed 20 Jul 11

ChrisSquire says...

I posted the Lib Dem statement at 5:24 pm on Mon 18 Jul 11; it says: ‘ . . it (a catholic school) should not be at the expense of community secondary school provision. The latter must have the first call on available public money and land . .’.

It would be both helpful and civil if contributors who come late to this debate would read what has already been written before adding their own pennyworth.
I posted the Lib Dem statement at 5:24 pm on Mon 18 Jul 11; it says: ‘ . . it (a catholic school) should not be at the expense of community secondary school provision. The latter must have the first call on available public money and land . .’. It would be both helpful and civil if contributors who come late to this debate would read what has already been written before adding their own pennyworth. ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

9:55pm Wed 20 Jul 11

twickenham-resident says...

I assume that what Councillor Naylor, of Twickenham Riverside Ward, actually means is that he supports the use of council tax payers money for the establishment of a new religious school which will selectively descriminate against the majority of children in the borough.

Of course I would be happy to be told I have misinterpreted Scott Naylor's comments and to know that he will fight tooth and nail to ensure that all new education facilities in the borough will be freely accessible to all the borough's children.
I assume that what Councillor Naylor, of Twickenham Riverside Ward, actually means is that he supports the use of council tax payers money for the establishment of a new religious school which will selectively descriminate against the majority of children in the borough. Of course I would be happy to be told I have misinterpreted Scott Naylor's comments and to know that he will fight tooth and nail to ensure that all new education facilities in the borough will be freely accessible to all the borough's children. twickenham-resident
  • Score: 0

12:22am Thu 21 Jul 11

metis says...

Twickenham Resident - I think you will find that council tax-payers money gets spent on many things that the individual tax-payer does not derive direct benefit.
This proposal may free up spaces in non-church schools which would benefit children of the Richard Dawkins fan club that vent their spleen here.
Twickenham Resident - I think you will find that council tax-payers money gets spent on many things that the individual tax-payer does not derive direct benefit. This proposal may free up spaces in non-church schools which would benefit children of the Richard Dawkins fan club that vent their spleen here. metis
  • Score: 0

7:24am Thu 21 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

I am hearing more potential ideas for this site at the school gate from fellow parents who would love the opportunity for a consultation. One that caught my attention was the idea of an all-through 4-18 school. The council's statement says that there is room on the site for a primary school too, so this would seem to be an option for consideration. The benefits of all-through schools are well documented, providing stability and security. It would help to build a strong, stable community of families in central Twickenham. Currently families in this area are poorly served by primary schools. Unless parents go to church (and many decide that they must) they have little chance of getting into St Mary's, Archdeacon Cambridge's, or St James', and nearby community schools like Trafalgar are so oversubscribed they their children frequently don't get in there either, and are left without a place anywhere nearby. Any new primary school on the Clifden site needs to cater for families in neighbouring streets. If their children additionally have the option to stay at the same school until they are 18 then it would be a wonderful opportunity to give them that stability, and to keep all those family-sized houses filled with people who really care about their neighbourhood.
I am hearing more potential ideas for this site at the school gate from fellow parents who would love the opportunity for a consultation. One that caught my attention was the idea of an all-through 4-18 school. The council's statement says that there is room on the site for a primary school too, so this would seem to be an option for consideration. The benefits of all-through schools are well documented, providing stability and security. It would help to build a strong, stable community of families in central Twickenham. Currently families in this area are poorly served by primary schools. Unless parents go to church (and many decide that they must) they have little chance of getting into St Mary's, Archdeacon Cambridge's, or St James', and nearby community schools like Trafalgar are so oversubscribed they their children frequently don't get in there either, and are left without a place anywhere nearby. Any new primary school on the Clifden site needs to cater for families in neighbouring streets. If their children additionally have the option to stay at the same school until they are 18 then it would be a wonderful opportunity to give them that stability, and to keep all those family-sized houses filled with people who really care about their neighbourhood. BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

8:21am Thu 21 Jul 11

Clive TW9 says...

I am not sure I understand all the negative comments on this proposal. The fact is faith based schools are generally better because of the support they get from the parents in community. If the secular community put as much effort into their schools all would be advantaged - where they do they are.
I am not sure I understand all the negative comments on this proposal. The fact is faith based schools are generally better because of the support they get from the parents in community. If the secular community put as much effort into their schools all would be advantaged - where they do they are. Clive TW9
  • Score: 0

8:35am Thu 21 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

All of our borough schools are good or outstanding, and there is no difference in quality between those that are faith-based and those that are not. Whichever type of school is created at Clifden, it has the potential to be outstanding.
All of our borough schools are good or outstanding, and there is no difference in quality between those that are faith-based and those that are not. Whichever type of school is created at Clifden, it has the potential to be outstanding. BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

10:13am Thu 21 Jul 11

ChrisSquire says...

The LBRuT cabinet paper on this purchase is at:
http://cabnet.richmo
nd.gov.uk/mgConvert2
Pdf.aspx?ID=5711&T=9
The LBRuT cabinet paper on this purchase is at: http://cabnet.richmo nd.gov.uk/mgConvert2 Pdf.aspx?ID=5711&T=9 ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

10:32am Thu 21 Jul 11

ChrisSquire says...

From the paper:


‘ . . 3.13 At secondary level, Richmond upon Thames is one of only two boroughs in London that does not have a state Catholic secondary school. As a result, children whose parents want them to be educated in Catholic state schools have to look outside the borough.

At its meeting on 5 April 2011, Council received a petition calling for the establishment of a state Catholic Secondary School in the borough. There was cross-party support in favour of provision for a state Catholic school.

It must be stressed however that this Council level support does not represent a decision to provide this type of school at the Clifden site. That would be a separate decision from that which is before the Cabinet in this report.’
From the paper: ‘ . . 3.13 At secondary level, Richmond upon Thames is one of only two boroughs in London that does not have a state Catholic secondary school. As a result, children whose parents want them to be educated in Catholic state schools have to look outside the borough. At its meeting on 5 April 2011, Council received a petition calling for the establishment of a state Catholic Secondary School in the borough. There was cross-party support in favour of provision for a state Catholic school. It must be stressed however that this Council level support does not represent a decision to provide this type of school at the Clifden site. That would be a separate decision from that which is before the Cabinet in this report.’ ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

10:38am Thu 21 Jul 11

twickenham-resident says...

metis, proposal that a Richard Dawkins Academy be established on the Clifden Centre site seems a tad too radical! Let's just stick to convention and ensure that all funding for Richmond borough education is based upon a principle of universal access for children without the imposition of selection and descrimination. I realise that would not keep every parent happy but I am sure the majority of parents who wish to have a state education for their children in the borough will support such a proposal.
metis, proposal that a Richard Dawkins Academy be established on the Clifden Centre site seems a tad too radical! Let's just stick to convention and ensure that all funding for Richmond borough education is based upon a principle of universal access for children without the imposition of selection and descrimination. I realise that would not keep every parent happy but I am sure the majority of parents who wish to have a state education for their children in the borough will support such a proposal. twickenham-resident
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Thu 21 Jul 11

jeremyhm says...

The Christian ethic includes "love your enemy" and "turn the other cheek". I would rather have my grandchildren taught this than the precepts of certain other faiths.
The Christian ethic includes "love your enemy" and "turn the other cheek". I would rather have my grandchildren taught this than the precepts of certain other faiths. jeremyhm
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Thu 21 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

Whichever type of school is put on this site, it will teach about Christianity, as well as a range of other world religions. The modern RE curriculum is broad-based in both faith schools and community schools. The main difference between the two is that the community school RE curriculum is set by the local education authority's Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) and inspected by OFSTED, whereas in faith schools the curriculum is devised and inspected by the church. Some people think that the latter method is controversial. However, in my view that is a secondary issue. The main issue with the prospect of a faith school on this site is one of access. A new school which would discriminate in its admissions on the grounds of the religious beliefs of parents is unpalatable to many people. Even if a wide-ranging consultation does result in a Catholic school on this site (which is in my view unlikely), its admissions system should be open to all.
Whichever type of school is put on this site, it will teach about Christianity, as well as a range of other world religions. The modern RE curriculum is broad-based in both faith schools and community schools. The main difference between the two is that the community school RE curriculum is set by the local education authority's Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) and inspected by OFSTED, whereas in faith schools the curriculum is devised and inspected by the church. Some people think that the latter method is controversial. However, in my view that is a secondary issue. The main issue with the prospect of a faith school on this site is one of access. A new school which would discriminate in its admissions on the grounds of the religious beliefs of parents is unpalatable to many people. Even if a wide-ranging consultation does result in a Catholic school on this site (which is in my view unlikely), its admissions system should be open to all. BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

11:17pm Thu 21 Jul 11

Riverman says...

One can only judge from the outpouring of angst that there is huge jealousy and an understanding that faith schools and their ethos produce excellent schools. Stop dumbing down and be pleased that our Borough is rich in these schools and our Borough is top of the country's league tables in primary schools.
One can only judge from the outpouring of angst that there is huge jealousy and an understanding that faith schools and their ethos produce excellent schools. Stop dumbing down and be pleased that our Borough is rich in these schools and our Borough is top of the country's league tables in primary schools. Riverman
  • Score: 0

6:01am Fri 22 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

Twickenham's two existing Community Schools (Orleans & Waldegrave) are both Outstanding. Many Catholic families already send their girls to Waldegrave and would undoubtedly send children to Orleans too if the Linked Schools Policy was reformed to give them that option. Whatever type of school is created on the Clifden site, it also has the potential to be Outstanding. We do not need to restrict its entry to Catholics to guarantee that.
Twickenham's two existing Community Schools (Orleans & Waldegrave) are both Outstanding. Many Catholic families already send their girls to Waldegrave and would undoubtedly send children to Orleans too if the Linked Schools Policy was reformed to give them that option. Whatever type of school is created on the Clifden site, it also has the potential to be Outstanding. We do not need to restrict its entry to Catholics to guarantee that. BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

11:16am Fri 22 Jul 11

WaitingForSummer says...

We live just around the corner from an 'outstanding' non-denominational primary and chose to go the primary attached to our Catholic Church which is 'good' rather than outstanding and a little further away. It is not all about Outstanding Ofsted status.

In terms of attendance, actually, a Catholic Secondary would serve more of the borough, as a whole, than a non-denominational school, as it will hopefully mean that Catholic children living on the other side of Richmond will also have an opportunity to attend, not just children living in the Twickenham area.

This is not about creating a school where the intended attendees would be in the minority - the numbers of children attending Catholic primary schools would fill a secondary school several times over.
We live just around the corner from an 'outstanding' non-denominational primary and chose to go the primary attached to our Catholic Church which is 'good' rather than outstanding and a little further away. It is not all about Outstanding Ofsted status. In terms of attendance, actually, a Catholic Secondary would serve more of the borough, as a whole, than a non-denominational school, as it will hopefully mean that Catholic children living on the other side of Richmond will also have an opportunity to attend, not just children living in the Twickenham area. This is not about creating a school where the intended attendees would be in the minority - the numbers of children attending Catholic primary schools would fill a secondary school several times over. WaitingForSummer
  • Score: 0

1:08pm Fri 22 Jul 11

Davethebee says...

The Catholic church is a massively wealthy organisation that chooses to hoard wealth rather than use it. If it wants a single faith school in the borough, they can tap into that wealth and pay for it themselves, several hundred times over. If they truly wanted this, they could have funded it years ago.
The Catholic church is a massively wealthy organisation that chooses to hoard wealth rather than use it. If it wants a single faith school in the borough, they can tap into that wealth and pay for it themselves, several hundred times over. If they truly wanted this, they could have funded it years ago. Davethebee
  • Score: 0

2:16pm Fri 22 Jul 11

BS_Twickenham says...

As WaitingForSummer says, it is people don't just look at the Ofsted rating when choosing a school. Nor do they always prioritise the faith aspect of the school. Many local non-Christians choose to send their children to Church of England primaries, because for various reasons personal to them it feels like the right choice for their child. However, they are unable to similarly choose the Catholic schools, because those do not provide "open" places to the wider community. If the Catholic schools were to open their doors to a more diverse intake, people would inevitably be more sympathetic when it came to spending public money on a new one.
As WaitingForSummer says, it is people don't just look at the Ofsted rating when choosing a school. Nor do they always prioritise the faith aspect of the school. Many local non-Christians choose to send their children to Church of England primaries, because for various reasons personal to them it feels like the right choice for their child. However, they are unable to similarly choose the Catholic schools, because those do not provide "open" places to the wider community. If the Catholic schools were to open their doors to a more diverse intake, people would inevitably be more sympathetic when it came to spending public money on a new one. BS_Twickenham
  • Score: 0

9:10pm Fri 22 Jul 11

ChrisSquire says...

The deleted council press release has reappeared on their website at:
http://www.richmond.
gov.uk/plans_for_new
_school_get_green_li
ght It is headed 'Plans for new school get green light' and dated 01/01/1980!

It strikes a tentative note: ' . . The acquisition of the Clifden site COULD pave the way for the Council to deliver on the longstanding promises to support the creation of a state Catholic Secondary School for Richmond upon Thames . . ' (my emphasis)

It is a long way from being a done deal as the RTT implies in its report today.
The deleted council press release has reappeared on their website at: http://www.richmond. gov.uk/plans_for_new _school_get_green_li ght It is headed 'Plans for new school get green light' and dated 01/01/1980! It strikes a tentative note: ' . . The acquisition of the Clifden site COULD pave the way for the Council to deliver on the longstanding promises to support the creation of a state Catholic Secondary School for Richmond upon Thames . . ' (my emphasis) It is a long way from being a done deal as the RTT implies in its report today. ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

5:38pm Sat 23 Jul 11

twickerskid says...

I am horrified to see this support for faith-specific schools by our Council. Feedback here and in the survey mentioned in the RTT underpins that the general public in Richmond do not support this move. And yes, we do have a vote.

Providing good schooling for all students in our Borough should be our priority not selective provision for a religious minority.
I am horrified to see this support for faith-specific schools by our Council. Feedback here and in the survey mentioned in the RTT underpins that the general public in Richmond do not support this move. And yes, we do have a vote. Providing good schooling for all students in our Borough should be our priority not selective provision for a religious minority. twickerskid
  • Score: 0

8:04pm Wed 27 Jul 11

LaurenceMann says...

The reason children from Catholic primary schools cannot easily get into local secondaries is that the primaries refuse to participate in the link system. This is not true of C of E schools.

If you had a school which discriminated in its intake to children of people who participated in any positive social activity, be it a religion, membership of a political party, a sports club or even allotment gardening; the cadre of students would have more involved and supportive parents than the average, and consequently would be likely to achieve above average results. This is an argument for public involvement in social activity only; and not for schools based arbitrarily upon them.

This is reflected in the number of Statemented pupils at various schools:

2010 figures for percentage of pupils on roll with SEN, with statements or school action plus

Catholic Schools
Gumley House 3.6%
St Marks 5.7%
Gunnersbury Catholic School 4.9%

Community Schools
Brentford School 11.2%
Orleans Park School 10.5%
Greycourt 10.3%

What sort of religious ethos operates a school system which apparently excludes those in most need?

Of course, our community secondaries do very well for all pupils, whatever their needs, and are massively oversubscribed, hence the need for more places!

I am pleased that the Cabinet report leaves the type of school on the Clifden site to be determined, the outcome of which determination will depend on many factors, not least finances.
The reason children from Catholic primary schools cannot easily get into local secondaries is that the primaries refuse to participate in the link system. This is not true of C of E schools. If you had a school which discriminated in its intake to children of people who participated in any positive social activity, be it a religion, membership of a political party, a sports club or even allotment gardening; the cadre of students would have more involved and supportive parents than the average, and consequently would be likely to achieve above average results. This is an argument for public involvement in social activity only; and not for schools based arbitrarily upon them. This is reflected in the number of Statemented pupils at various schools: 2010 figures for percentage of pupils on roll with SEN, with statements or school action plus Catholic Schools Gumley House 3.6% St Marks 5.7% Gunnersbury Catholic School 4.9% Community Schools Brentford School 11.2% Orleans Park School 10.5% Greycourt 10.3% What sort of religious ethos operates a school system which apparently excludes those in most need? Of course, our community secondaries do very well for all pupils, whatever their needs, and are massively oversubscribed, hence the need for more places! I am pleased that the Cabinet report leaves the type of school on the Clifden site to be determined, the outcome of which determination will depend on many factors, not least finances. LaurenceMann
  • Score: 0

8:40pm Wed 27 Jul 11

LaurenceMann says...

One more thing here, which I realy must challenge is metis's comment: "The Catholic schools do not discriminate against the non-believers. It discriminates in favour of its own. Subtle difference. Positive discrimination is something dear to the Liberal Left so I am surprised at their stance on this."

First of all, discrimination only matters where there is a shortage of supply. But if there are only a thousand loaves and the first thousand places are prioritised for people of one creed, race, or sex; then those who do not qualify are discriminated against.

Positive discrimination is something that requires justification. There must be a wrong that needs righting so badly that it is the only answer, and even then it should only be used as a temporary measure.

This is not the case here, and there is nothing subtle, metis, about your language. Children, whatever the beliefs of their parents, are children; and deserve to be treated equally.
One more thing here, which I realy must challenge is metis's comment: "The Catholic schools do not discriminate against the non-believers. It discriminates in favour of its own. Subtle difference. Positive discrimination is something dear to the Liberal Left so I am surprised at their stance on this." First of all, discrimination only matters where there is a shortage of supply. But if there are only a thousand loaves and the first thousand places are prioritised for people of one creed, race, or sex; then those who do not qualify are discriminated against. Positive discrimination is something that requires justification. There must be a wrong that needs righting so badly that it is the only answer, and even then it should only be used as a temporary measure. This is not the case here, and there is nothing subtle, metis, about your language. Children, whatever the beliefs of their parents, are children; and deserve to be treated equally. LaurenceMann
  • Score: 0

9:16pm Thu 28 Jul 11

gaurav says...

I am deeply concerned and disappointed over the Council's proposal to open a new Catholic secondary school. Given the shortage of quality secondary school options in the borough, our expectation is that the Council shows responsibility,sensi
tivity and a non discriminatory approach towards deployment of tax payer funds for enhancing the quality and quantity of education in the borough.
There is a need for more state secondary schools and especially for those that provide equal and fair educational opportunities to all, irrespective of their religious background. I believe that this is also of paramount significance to maintain the diverse, multi-cultural and tolerant nature of our British society.
Richmond Council should ensure that every new state-funded school in the borough is inclusive. Such an important decision should only be taken after a proper public consultation process.
I am deeply concerned and disappointed over the Council's proposal to open a new Catholic secondary school. Given the shortage of quality secondary school options in the borough, our expectation is that the Council shows responsibility,sensi tivity and a non discriminatory approach towards deployment of tax payer funds for enhancing the quality and quantity of education in the borough. There is a need for more state secondary schools and especially for those that provide equal and fair educational opportunities to all, irrespective of their religious background. I believe that this is also of paramount significance to maintain the diverse, multi-cultural and tolerant nature of our British society. Richmond Council should ensure that every new state-funded school in the borough is inclusive. Such an important decision should only be taken after a proper public consultation process. gaurav
  • Score: 0

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