Campaigners collect more than 1,000 signatures opposing Catholic school plan

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Campaign: Jeremy Rodell, of the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign, said he was pleased the group had gained so many supporters Campaign: Jeremy Rodell, of the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign, said he was pleased the group had gained so many supporters

Councillors will hold a second debate over plans for the Catholic Church to run a new voluntary-aided secondary school, after a campaign group collected more than 1,000 signatures opposing the proposals.

The Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign launched an online petition on August 2 and took less than a month to reach the threshold.

Richmond Council, which is still verifying all the signatures, looks set to discuss the plans at a full meeting on Tuesday, September 13.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition supporting the proposals earlier this year - triggering the first debate - and Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, announced in July the authority would buy the Richmond Adult Community College site, in Clifden Road, Twickenham, for a new school.

He said he hoped the church would be able to move in by 2013.

Jeremy Rodell, campaign co-ordinator for the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign, said he was pleased the group had gained so many supporters.

He said: “It just proves what we’ve been saying all along, that once people wake up to this there’s a lot of very strong feeling about it.”

The council has faced growing pressure for a new secondary school due to Richmond’s steadily rising birth rate, which increased from 2,384 in 2000 to 2,992 last year.

Mr Rodell said children should not be denied a place because of their parents’ religion or beliefs and Richmond’s Liberal Democrat group has also argued the Catholic archdioceses’ should not get the site “at the expense of community secondary school provision”.

Lord True, who has registered as an interest that he is a trustee of the Sir Harold Hood’s Charitable Trust, which aims to benefit Catholic charities, said he hoped Education Secretary Michael Gove would grant the church permission to run what would be its only secondary school in the borough.

Mr Rodell said: “Our aim is not to say ‘you can never have a Catholic school’. We are saying that, with all the pressures, the first priority should be an inclusive school and what they are doing should be the bottom priority.

“We think logical arguments should lead the cabinet to come to the right decision.

“That may be rather fanciful but that’s the only democratic process.”

Comments (26)

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6:32pm Sun 4 Sep 11

twickenham-resident says...

Congratulations to Jeremy Rodell and the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign for getting the issue reconsidered by the council.

Let's hope Lord True and colleagues can see their way to ensuring that education funds are directed toward the benefit of the majority of Richmond Borough's school children. If not, and to avoid allegations of discrimination and undue influence, the Conservative administration will have no grounds to refuse other religions and sects represented in the borough (last count over 100) should they wish to have their own faith schools funded by Richmond Council funded.
Congratulations to Jeremy Rodell and the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign for getting the issue reconsidered by the council. Let's hope Lord True and colleagues can see their way to ensuring that education funds are directed toward the benefit of the majority of Richmond Borough's school children. If not, and to avoid allegations of discrimination and undue influence, the Conservative administration will have no grounds to refuse other religions and sects represented in the borough (last count over 100) should they wish to have their own faith schools funded by Richmond Council funded. twickenham-resident

11:08pm Sun 4 Sep 11

Riverman says...

So 1000 for and 1000 against! Interesting.
So 1000 for and 1000 against! Interesting. Riverman

12:34pm Mon 5 Sep 11

ChrisSquire says...

It's 1,243 against, Monday 1231 hrs. And the new school year hasn't even started yet, so there has been no time for news of the petition to spread at the school gate . .
It's 1,243 against, Monday 1231 hrs. And the new school year hasn't even started yet, so there has been no time for news of the petition to spread at the school gate . . ChrisSquire

2:49pm Mon 5 Sep 11

LaurenceMann says...

It really should not be a matter of how many there are for or against something, but whether or not it serves the community.

One only has to look at Northern Ireland, where religious educational segregation has encouraged generations of conflict to see that it is something to be avoided. However it has become entrenched there.

If we want to defend our open society, then we should be opposing any attempt to create sectarian schools, otherwise we may find that our fellow citizens are not defined by the local and national ties that create communities, but by starkly religious tags that set people apart from each other.
It really should not be a matter of how many there are for or against something, but whether or not it serves the community. One only has to look at Northern Ireland, where religious educational segregation has encouraged generations of conflict to see that it is something to be avoided. However it has become entrenched there. If we want to defend our open society, then we should be opposing any attempt to create sectarian schools, otherwise we may find that our fellow citizens are not defined by the local and national ties that create communities, but by starkly religious tags that set people apart from each other. LaurenceMann

2:49pm Mon 5 Sep 11

LaurenceMann says...

It really should not be a matter of how many there are for or against something, but whether or not it serves the community.

One only has to look at Northern Ireland, where religious educational segregation has encouraged generations of conflict to see that it is something to be avoided. However it has become entrenched there.

If we want to defend our open society, then we should be opposing any attempt to create sectarian schools, otherwise we may find that our fellow citizens are not defined by the local and national ties that create communities, but by starkly religious tags that set people apart from each other.
It really should not be a matter of how many there are for or against something, but whether or not it serves the community. One only has to look at Northern Ireland, where religious educational segregation has encouraged generations of conflict to see that it is something to be avoided. However it has become entrenched there. If we want to defend our open society, then we should be opposing any attempt to create sectarian schools, otherwise we may find that our fellow citizens are not defined by the local and national ties that create communities, but by starkly religious tags that set people apart from each other. LaurenceMann

2:50pm Mon 5 Sep 11

LaurenceMann says...

It really should not be a matter of how many there are for or against something, but whether or not it serves the community.

One only has to look at Northern Ireland, where religious educational segregation has encouraged generations of conflict to see that it is something to be avoided. However it has become entrenched there.

If we want to defend our open society, then we should be opposing any attempt to create sectarian schools, otherwise we may find that our fellow citizens are not defined by the local and national ties that create communities, but by starkly religious tags that set people apart from each other.
It really should not be a matter of how many there are for or against something, but whether or not it serves the community. One only has to look at Northern Ireland, where religious educational segregation has encouraged generations of conflict to see that it is something to be avoided. However it has become entrenched there. If we want to defend our open society, then we should be opposing any attempt to create sectarian schools, otherwise we may find that our fellow citizens are not defined by the local and national ties that create communities, but by starkly religious tags that set people apart from each other. LaurenceMann

10:32pm Mon 5 Sep 11

Riverman says...

Judging by the last two names this is turning into yet another libdem based crusade. Could someone please tell us about the generations of conflict to be found in all the other London boroughs - all of whom I understand have catholic schools. I'm not a catholic but don't understand why they are being so abused.
Judging by the last two names this is turning into yet another libdem based crusade. Could someone please tell us about the generations of conflict to be found in all the other London boroughs - all of whom I understand have catholic schools. I'm not a catholic but don't understand why they are being so abused. Riverman

11:38pm Mon 5 Sep 11

lucullus says...

Riverman, the petition and group is very much not anti-Catholic: the Inclusive Schools drive is simply about asking that all our children - of whatever denomination or none - get the same chance at our borough's schools.

If the new secondary is a Catholic one we will be spending borough money to support children from out of borough at the expense of our own. The campaign would be no different were the planned secondary CofE, Muslim, Sikh or Jewish.
Riverman, the petition and group is very much not anti-Catholic: the Inclusive Schools drive is simply about asking that all our children - of whatever denomination or none - get the same chance at our borough's schools. If the new secondary is a Catholic one we will be spending borough money to support children from out of borough at the expense of our own. The campaign would be no different were the planned secondary CofE, Muslim, Sikh or Jewish. lucullus

5:03pm Tue 6 Sep 11

JeremyRodell says...

Just to clear up any doubt, this is what our petition (which you can sign at http://tinyurl.com/r
iscpetition1 ) actually says: "We, the undersigned, petition the council to ensure that every state-funded school opening in the borough from now on is inclusive, so that no child can be denied a place in a good local school because of the religion or belief of their parents."

It says nothing about whether any new school should be a catholic school or any other type. It's simply about fairness.

If you agree, please in up (it will still be open after the debate next week).

And fill in the contact form at www.richmondinclusiv
eschoolscampaign.org
.uk to be kept informed about the campaign.
Just to clear up any doubt, this is what our petition (which you can sign at http://tinyurl.com/r iscpetition1 ) actually says: "We, the undersigned, petition the council to ensure that every state-funded school opening in the borough from now on is inclusive, so that no child can be denied a place in a good local school because of the religion or belief of their parents." It says nothing about whether any new school should be a catholic school or any other type. It's simply about fairness. If you agree, please in up (it will still be open after the debate next week). And fill in the contact form at www.richmondinclusiv eschoolscampaign.org .uk to be kept informed about the campaign. JeremyRodell

9:13pm Tue 6 Sep 11

metis says...

The Bishop of Nottingham, the Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, chairman of the CES, criticised secularists, teachers’ leaders and their “friends in parliament” who have called for faith schools to be abolished.

Their “noisy” protests receive more publicity than they deserve, despite the fact that faith schools are successful and popular with parents, he said.

Bishop McMahon’s criticism came as the CES published new research showing that Catholic state schools consistently outperform state primary and secondaries for exam results, discipline and maintaining low truancy rates.

Bishop McMahon said the discussion about whether faith schools should receive state funding had been continuing “for a very long time”.

He described the National Secular Society, which has been at the forefront of criticism, as “quite a small organisation but it is very noisy and they have some friends in Parliament”.
Related Links
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From the WebFORM THE WEB:Are There Lessons To Be Learned From England?14 Aug 2011(eToro Blog)Moved to Canada? Take Social Security, eh!01 Dec 15(Bank Rate)Patient Dies of Smoke Inhalation After Being Abandoned on Operating Table During Hospital Fire25 Aug 2011(FoxNews.com)
“You always feel a little bit got at, because that is the nature of these groups,” Bishop McMahon said. “They get more publicity than their numbers deserve. When you ask parents, they want their children to go to faith schools. That is why we are well supported.

“The Catholic sector makes an enormous contribution to our society both in terms of its mainstream work which is education, but also in terms of the spin-offs, the social cohesion, the contribution to the community, and therefore my conclusion is that it is a very good way of spending taxpayers' money.”

Last November, a campaign was launched with the backing of teachers’ and headteachers’ unions to abolish the law forcing schools to hold a daily Christian assembly. In recent years, teachers’ unions have passed votes calling for faith schools to be abolished.

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said: “It is scandalous that publicly-funded schools should be able to deny access to pupils not of the faith, and it may also be illegal to deny employment to teachers on such grounds, as many of them do.

“Self-serving opposition will not prevent us from raising these issues in the public arena.”

A study produced by the CES showed that in every category assessed by Ofsted inspectors, the 2,000 Catholic schools in England and Wales achieved better results than the average for all state-funded institutions.

Inspectors judged 73% of Catholic secondary schools to be “good” or “outstanding” overall, compared to an average of 60% for all secondaries nationally. Among Catholic primary schools, 74% were rated good or outstanding, higher than the average of 66% across the country.

Standards of classroom discipline and moral development among pupils were also far better in Catholic schools than typical state schools.

The research found that 44% of Catholic secondary schools were rated “outstanding” for pupils’ behaviour, compared to a national average of 24%.

Despite claims from opponents that faith schools increase ethnic and religious segregation, Ofsted also rated Catholic schools highly for promoting “community cohesion”.

Presenting the findings, Peter Irvine, author of the research, said: “It is quite striking and surprising that on every single criterion from (age) five to 16, Catholic schools came out more strongly. That is rather an extreme statement to make but it is true.”
taken from here: http://www.telegraph
.co.uk/news/uknews/8
250948/Catholic-scho
ols-feel-got-at-by-p
olitical-critics.htm
l
The Bishop of Nottingham, the Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, chairman of the CES, criticised secularists, teachers’ leaders and their “friends in parliament” who have called for faith schools to be abolished. Their “noisy” protests receive more publicity than they deserve, despite the fact that faith schools are successful and popular with parents, he said. Bishop McMahon’s criticism came as the CES published new research showing that Catholic state schools consistently outperform state primary and secondaries for exam results, discipline and maintaining low truancy rates. Bishop McMahon said the discussion about whether faith schools should receive state funding had been continuing “for a very long time”. He described the National Secular Society, which has been at the forefront of criticism, as “quite a small organisation but it is very noisy and they have some friends in Parliament”. Related Links You might like:Frenchman ordered to pay wife damages for lack of sex05 Sep 2011(Telegraph News)Dog living on top of Mount Kilimanjaro01 Aug 2011(Telegraph News)Senior al-Qaeda leader arrested in Pakistan05 Sep 2011(Telegraph News) From the WebFORM THE WEB:Are There Lessons To Be Learned From England?14 Aug 2011(eToro Blog)Moved to Canada? Take Social Security, eh!01 Dec 15(Bank Rate)Patient Dies of Smoke Inhalation After Being Abandoned on Operating Table During Hospital Fire25 Aug 2011(FoxNews.com)[what's this] “You always feel a little bit got at, because that is the nature of these groups,” Bishop McMahon said. “They get more publicity than their numbers deserve. When you ask parents, they want their children to go to faith schools. That is why we are well supported. “The Catholic sector makes an enormous contribution to our society both in terms of its mainstream work which is education, but also in terms of the spin-offs, the social cohesion, the contribution to the community, and therefore my conclusion is that it is a very good way of spending taxpayers' money.” Last November, a campaign was launched with the backing of teachers’ and headteachers’ unions to abolish the law forcing schools to hold a daily Christian assembly. In recent years, teachers’ unions have passed votes calling for faith schools to be abolished. Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said: “It is scandalous that publicly-funded schools should be able to deny access to pupils not of the faith, and it may also be illegal to deny employment to teachers on such grounds, as many of them do. “Self-serving opposition will not prevent us from raising these issues in the public arena.” A study produced by the CES showed that in every category assessed by Ofsted inspectors, the 2,000 Catholic schools in England and Wales achieved better results than the average for all state-funded institutions. Inspectors judged 73% of Catholic secondary schools to be “good” or “outstanding” overall, compared to an average of 60% for all secondaries nationally. Among Catholic primary schools, 74% were rated good or outstanding, higher than the average of 66% across the country. Standards of classroom discipline and moral development among pupils were also far better in Catholic schools than typical state schools. The research found that 44% of Catholic secondary schools were rated “outstanding” for pupils’ behaviour, compared to a national average of 24%. Despite claims from opponents that faith schools increase ethnic and religious segregation, Ofsted also rated Catholic schools highly for promoting “community cohesion”. Presenting the findings, Peter Irvine, author of the research, said: “It is quite striking and surprising that on every single criterion from (age) five to 16, Catholic schools came out more strongly. That is rather an extreme statement to make but it is true.” taken from here: http://www.telegraph .co.uk/news/uknews/8 250948/Catholic-scho ols-feel-got-at-by-p olitical-critics.htm l metis

10:49pm Tue 6 Sep 11

JeremyRodell says...

Metis - This is a local campaign, and it's all about fair admissions, not about quality.

If the Catholic Education Service really is so good at running taxpayer-funded schools, why should they only be available to children of Catholics? But that is precisely what the Council is proposing. I hope you will sign our petition in order to help make what you consider to be these wonderful (taxpayer funded) schools available to everyone.

In fact a key reason for the apparently good performance is that the intake of faith schools includes a lower proportion of disadvantaged children than community schools. And that can make a big difference to average performance. In Richmond at primary level, the average number of children eligible for free school meals (the main measure of disadvantage) at community primaries is 12%. In Catholic primaries it's under 5%.

What is so wrong with the principle of the petition, that a child should not be denied a place at a good local school because of the religion or belief of their parents?
Metis - This is a local campaign, and it's all about fair admissions, not about quality. If the Catholic Education Service really is so good at running taxpayer-funded schools, why should they only be available to children of Catholics? But that is precisely what the Council is proposing. I hope you will sign our petition in order to help make what you consider to be these wonderful (taxpayer funded) schools available to everyone. In fact a key reason for the apparently good performance is that the intake of faith schools includes a lower proportion of disadvantaged children than community schools. And that can make a big difference to average performance. In Richmond at primary level, the average number of children eligible for free school meals (the main measure of disadvantage) at community primaries is 12%. In Catholic primaries it's under 5%. What is so wrong with the principle of the petition, that a child should not be denied a place at a good local school because of the religion or belief of their parents? JeremyRodell

12:38am Wed 7 Sep 11

Dan Filson says...

I'm no longer a resident of Richmond upon Thames but lived there 27 years and in neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham for the following 29 years.

There used to be a CofE secondary school in Queens Road Richmond and a proposal, which I thought went through, for it to amalgamate with an RC school, also in Queens Road, to make a unique ecumenical secondary school. Whether this happened or not, I don't know, nor if it did why it is no longer operating as such and if it did not go through what happened to the RC school. But it seemed a good idea at the time, as it would have served those who wanted a faith school without it being sectarian and would have been numerically viable with lower overheads than two separate schools even with retaining two sites.

What can be the case is that - in the public sector - a borough can have (as my second borough did) an RC boys' school, an RC girls' school, a CofE co-ed school, a girls' local authority school, a boys' local authority school, and that leaves just two co-ed local authority schools at opposite ends of the borough with awkward travel, effectively leaving those who want co-ed state education with no real choice unless they send their children out of the borough. That is not right given that most parents profess no faith (or their faith by not be a Christian one). If faith schools did not exist, the range of choices for parents would increase, not decrease. If all schools were co-ed, it would increase further.

I don't deny some benefits that arise from some faith schools. But if there is admission for children from faith backgrounds it inevitably is at the expense of those professing no faith. Faith schools that are in demand encourage, by their very nature, parents to be dishonest about the true extent of their actual beliefs to say nothing of their children's. I know faith schools often claim that any children will be admitted, but if there are any checks at all on what faith the child's parents profess, it tends to bias the school against parents newly arrived in the parish or locality, who may regard church attendance as not their highest priority upon arrival in the locality, or who are non-conformist.

In my experience, faith schools can be - I do not say all are - dishonest about problems within and bullying of parents who do not conform. This is especially so at secondary transfer where the possibility of withholding of a priest's recommendation is perceived as a threat to conform (and not complain). I also know of a school, allegedly comprehensive in intake, which had a reputation of being a good school, whatever that means, such that very senior politicians sent children there but which a confidential report by the diocesan authority said "This school does little or nothing for children of low ability".

Faith schools are also less than transparent about their funding. In my days in these two boroughs, parents often nursed some illusion that their collection donations assisted the school and constituted a major element of revenue. In fact, all the staff salaries and most of the capital spend came from the state, and only a portion of the capital spend came from the diocesan authorities. Faith schools were always unwilling to merge when pupil rolls fell but happy to expand when they rose; a two-steps forward, one-step back approach that meant more and more children in faith schools at the expense of real choice for parents, most of whom one should remember both profess and practice no faith at all.
I'm no longer a resident of Richmond upon Thames but lived there 27 years and in neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham for the following 29 years. There used to be a CofE secondary school in Queens Road Richmond and a proposal, which I thought went through, for it to amalgamate with an RC school, also in Queens Road, to make a unique ecumenical secondary school. Whether this happened or not, I don't know, nor if it did why it is no longer operating as such and if it did not go through what happened to the RC school. But it seemed a good idea at the time, as it would have served those who wanted a faith school without it being sectarian and would have been numerically viable with lower overheads than two separate schools even with retaining two sites. What can be the case is that - in the public sector - a borough can have (as my second borough did) an RC boys' school, an RC girls' school, a CofE co-ed school, a girls' local authority school, a boys' local authority school, and that leaves just two co-ed local authority schools at opposite ends of the borough with awkward travel, effectively leaving those who want co-ed state education with no real choice unless they send their children out of the borough. That is not right given that most parents profess no faith (or their faith by not be a Christian one). If faith schools did not exist, the range of choices for parents would increase, not decrease. If all schools were co-ed, it would increase further. I don't deny some benefits that arise from some faith schools. But if there is admission for children from faith backgrounds it inevitably is at the expense of those professing no faith. Faith schools that are in demand encourage, by their very nature, parents to be dishonest about the true extent of their actual beliefs to say nothing of their children's. I know faith schools often claim that any children will be admitted, but if there are any checks at all on what faith the child's parents profess, it tends to bias the school against parents newly arrived in the parish or locality, who may regard church attendance as not their highest priority upon arrival in the locality, or who are non-conformist. In my experience, faith schools can be - I do not say all are - dishonest about problems within and bullying of parents who do not conform. This is especially so at secondary transfer where the possibility of withholding of a priest's recommendation is perceived as a threat to conform (and not complain). I also know of a school, allegedly comprehensive in intake, which had a reputation of being a good school, whatever that means, such that very senior politicians sent children there but which a confidential report by the diocesan authority said "This school does little or nothing for children of low ability". Faith schools are also less than transparent about their funding. In my days in these two boroughs, parents often nursed some illusion that their collection donations assisted the school and constituted a major element of revenue. In fact, all the staff salaries and most of the capital spend came from the state, and only a portion of the capital spend came from the diocesan authorities. Faith schools were always unwilling to merge when pupil rolls fell but happy to expand when they rose; a two-steps forward, one-step back approach that meant more and more children in faith schools at the expense of real choice for parents, most of whom one should remember both profess and practice no faith at all. Dan Filson

8:36am Wed 7 Sep 11

RiverLover says...

Lucullus wrote (11:38pm Mon 5 Sep) "The campaign would be no different were the planned secondary CofE, Muslim, Sikh or Jewish."

Jeremy Rodell writes (5:03pm Tue 6 Sep) "It says nothing about whether any new school should be a catholic school or any other type. It's simply about fairness."

Can we assume that the two points mean one and the same?

In essence the campaign wants no state funded faith schools of any religion to be allowed in the borough?

Leftfield idea...How about a multi faith school, where children of all faiths can attend with teachers of all faiths?
Lucullus wrote (11:38pm Mon 5 Sep) "The campaign would be no different were the planned secondary CofE, Muslim, Sikh or Jewish." Jeremy Rodell writes (5:03pm Tue 6 Sep) "It says nothing about whether any new school should be a catholic school or any other type. It's simply about fairness." Can we assume that the two points mean one and the same? In essence the campaign wants no state funded faith schools of any religion to be allowed in the borough? Leftfield idea...How about a multi faith school, where children of all faiths can attend with teachers of all faiths? RiverLover

12:08pm Wed 7 Sep 11

JeremyRodell says...

Lucullus: The implication that faith schools cannot also be inclusive is simply not true. Half the CofE primaries in the country are inclusive, and the CofE is moving generally in the direction of increased inclusiveness for the others.

Your proposal for a school that is even-handed in its teaching about faiths and beliefs is a great idea: it's called a good quality community school.
Lucullus: The implication that faith schools cannot also be inclusive is simply not true. Half the CofE primaries in the country are inclusive, and the CofE is moving generally in the direction of increased inclusiveness for the others. Your proposal for a school that is even-handed in its teaching about faiths and beliefs is a great idea: it's called a good quality community school. JeremyRodell

4:28pm Wed 7 Sep 11

ChrisSquire says...

Dan Filson: the 2 schools became Christchurch school; the RCs withdrew after some years - why, I don’t know. The school has recently been relaunched as Richmond Park Academy, sponsored by Greensward Charitable Trust and managed by the Academies Enterprise Trust: http://www.richmondp
arkacademy.org/
Dan Filson: the 2 schools became Christchurch school; the RCs withdrew after some years - why, I don’t know. The school has recently been relaunched as Richmond Park Academy, sponsored by Greensward Charitable Trust and managed by the Academies Enterprise Trust: http://www.richmondp arkacademy.org/ ChrisSquire

4:29pm Wed 7 Sep 11

ChrisSquire says...

Dan Filson: the 2 schools became Christchurch school; the RCs withdrew after some years - why, I don’t know. The school has recently been relaunched as Richmond Park Academy, sponsored by Greensward Charitable Trust and managed by the Academies Enterprise Trust: http://www.richmondp
arkacademy.org/
Dan Filson: the 2 schools became Christchurch school; the RCs withdrew after some years - why, I don’t know. The school has recently been relaunched as Richmond Park Academy, sponsored by Greensward Charitable Trust and managed by the Academies Enterprise Trust: http://www.richmondp arkacademy.org/ ChrisSquire

10:52pm Wed 7 Sep 11

Dan Filson says...

So the borough HAD a catholic school in an ecumenical form but the Catholics pulled out. I have to say I feel they had their chance and should not cut and come again whenever they so choose.
So the borough HAD a catholic school in an ecumenical form but the Catholics pulled out. I have to say I feel they had their chance and should not cut and come again whenever they so choose. Dan Filson

11:24pm Wed 7 Sep 11

JeremyRodell says...

Suggest not to get too excited about that - it was so long ago that the Council no longer considers it relevant.

The existing CofE school that was involved is Christ's School in Queen's Road Richmond. This is what it says on their website:

"For a short time, the school had links with St Edward the Confessor RC school which had opened in 1954 and was situated on the west side of Queens Road (now the site of Marshgate Primary School). The two schools ran a joint sixth form during the late 1960s but this proved to be a short lived experiment although the governors of both schools considered a merger at the end of 1976.

In 1997, by mutual agreement, the Roman Catholic Church withdrew from the management arrangement and Christ's School was established on 1st September 1998 and returned to the original foundation, that of a Church of England Secondary School."
Suggest not to get too excited about that - it was so long ago that the Council no longer considers it relevant. The existing CofE school that was involved is Christ's School in Queen's Road Richmond. This is what it says on their website: "For a short time, the school had links with St Edward the Confessor RC school which had opened in 1954 and was situated on the west side of Queens Road (now the site of Marshgate Primary School). The two schools ran a joint sixth form during the late 1960s but this proved to be a short lived experiment although the governors of both schools considered a merger at the end of 1976. In 1997, by mutual agreement, the Roman Catholic Church withdrew from the management arrangement and Christ's School was established on 1st September 1998 and returned to the original foundation, that of a Church of England Secondary School." JeremyRodell

8:59pm Fri 9 Sep 11

John Dowdle says...

In your report, you state that Nicholas True has registered as an interest that he is a trustee of the Sir Harold Hood’s Charitable Trust, which aims to benefit Catholic charities.
Clearly, there is a massive conflict of interest in True promoting his own cause at Richmond taxpayers' expense.
He should withdraw from any further involvement in this matter and his party group should commit itself to non-whipping on this issue too.
Can anyone tell me what is happening or has happened to the Richmond Adult Community College?
In your report, you state that Nicholas True has registered as an interest that he is a trustee of the Sir Harold Hood’s Charitable Trust, which aims to benefit Catholic charities. Clearly, there is a massive conflict of interest in True promoting his own cause at Richmond taxpayers' expense. He should withdraw from any further involvement in this matter and his party group should commit itself to non-whipping on this issue too. Can anyone tell me what is happening or has happened to the Richmond Adult Community College? John Dowdle

9:09pm Fri 9 Sep 11

ChrisSquire says...

I’m sure Lord True has been advised that his trustee post doesn’t amount to a conflict of interest. Possibly, indeed, he will urge the charitable trust to contribute funds towards setting up the school. Anyway he will not benefit personally from whatever happens - except that he may get to Heaven a bit sooner!

The College is consolidating itself on its Parkshot site; it will use the proceeds of the sale to improve the site. Read all about it at: http://www.racc.ac.u
k/new-future-clifden
-site
I’m sure Lord True has been advised that his trustee post doesn’t amount to a conflict of interest. Possibly, indeed, he will urge the charitable trust to contribute funds towards setting up the school. Anyway he will not benefit personally from whatever happens - except that he may get to Heaven a bit sooner! The College is consolidating itself on its Parkshot site; it will use the proceeds of the sale to improve the site. Read all about it at: http://www.racc.ac.u k/new-future-clifden -site ChrisSquire

10:04pm Fri 9 Sep 11

John Dowdle says...

Of course there is a conflict of interest. As a former councillor, I know that it is essential that all councillors should follow the Nolan Principles. True not only has to be impartial but has to be seen to be impartial. How is this possible when he is a trustee of an organisation which will derive benefit from a decision he will have a part in making?
The extra money possibly being paid to Richmond Adult Community College is clearly welcome, as the education authority has also to be aware of the need for further and adult education.
However, this does not mean that the land acquired should be handed over to an exclusive organisation which will almost certainly end up by excluding large numbers of young people from the Richmond area.
The land acquired should, instead, be used to provide proper community schooling in Richmond so that all local council tax payers will have an equal opportunity to send their children to a good local school.
Of course there is a conflict of interest. As a former councillor, I know that it is essential that all councillors should follow the Nolan Principles. True not only has to be impartial but has to be seen to be impartial. How is this possible when he is a trustee of an organisation which will derive benefit from a decision he will have a part in making? The extra money possibly being paid to Richmond Adult Community College is clearly welcome, as the education authority has also to be aware of the need for further and adult education. However, this does not mean that the land acquired should be handed over to an exclusive organisation which will almost certainly end up by excluding large numbers of young people from the Richmond area. The land acquired should, instead, be used to provide proper community schooling in Richmond so that all local council tax payers will have an equal opportunity to send their children to a good local school. John Dowdle

10:14pm Fri 9 Sep 11

ChrisSquire says...

What benefit will the Sir Harold Hood’s Charitable Trust get from the setting up of a new RC school on the site? Pleas explain your point more clealry.
What benefit will the Sir Harold Hood’s Charitable Trust get from the setting up of a new RC school on the site? Pleas explain your point more clealry. ChrisSquire

10:51pm Fri 9 Sep 11

John Dowdle says...

True has registered an interest that he is a trustee of the Sir Harold Hood’s Charitable Trust, which aims to promote Catholic interests.
The local diocese and school are religious charities which will benefit from the actions of True.
Again, a conflict of interest.
The Hood Trust is designed to promote just one brand of religious product and I do not believe it is right that Richmond children should be force-fed this dubious product.
How can any rational person be sanguine about entrusting Richmond youth to an organisation which has orchestrated the cover-up of massive child abuse over recent decades?
True has registered an interest that he is a trustee of the Sir Harold Hood’s Charitable Trust, which aims to promote Catholic interests. The local diocese and school are religious charities which will benefit from the actions of True. Again, a conflict of interest. The Hood Trust is designed to promote just one brand of religious product and I do not believe it is right that Richmond children should be force-fed this dubious product. How can any rational person be sanguine about entrusting Richmond youth to an organisation which has orchestrated the cover-up of massive child abuse over recent decades? John Dowdle

11:22pm Fri 9 Sep 11

JeremyRodell says...

In terms of furthering our campaign, this issue of Lord True's trusteeship risks becoming a distraction from the core argument.

Lord True is not a catholic. The trust of which he is a trustee was set up by his wife's family to benefit Catholic causes. But there's no evidence of any interaction between the trust and the decision on the local school.

While I disagree with Lord True on many aspects of this policy, I don't believe there is anyting at all dubious here.

Let's focus on the big issue: it's wrong for the council to prioritise a school that will be effectively closed to 90% of the population - especially when there's a growing shortage of places at good local schools. No child should be denied a place at a new borough school simply because of their parents' religion or belief. That's just wrong.

And we have over 1400 signatures on a petition from people who think the same!
In terms of furthering our campaign, this issue of Lord True's trusteeship risks becoming a distraction from the core argument. Lord True is not a catholic. The trust of which he is a trustee was set up by his wife's family to benefit Catholic causes. But there's no evidence of any interaction between the trust and the decision on the local school. While I disagree with Lord True on many aspects of this policy, I don't believe there is anyting at all dubious here. Let's focus on the big issue: it's wrong for the council to prioritise a school that will be effectively closed to 90% of the population - especially when there's a growing shortage of places at good local schools. No child should be denied a place at a new borough school simply because of their parents' religion or belief. That's just wrong. And we have over 1400 signatures on a petition from people who think the same! JeremyRodell

1:37am Sat 10 Sep 11

ChrisSquire says...

Anyone who still thinks there is a conflict of interest should report the matter to the appropriate authorities and let us know how they get on.

I think this is a complete red herring distracting us, as JR says, from the main issue, which is a simple matter of fairness.
Anyone who still thinks there is a conflict of interest should report the matter to the appropriate authorities and let us know how they get on. I think this is a complete red herring distracting us, as JR says, from the main issue, which is a simple matter of fairness. ChrisSquire

7:21am Sat 10 Sep 11

gaurav says...

The Councils support for a Catholic VA school (that will not have inclusive admissions policy) as a priority, when the entire community needs more school spaces, is concerning. This policy of letting school choose people and not people choose schools, is not in line with their manifesto pledge "Putting people first".
The Councils support for a Catholic VA school (that will not have inclusive admissions policy) as a priority, when the entire community needs more school spaces, is concerning. This policy of letting school choose people and not people choose schools, is not in line with their manifesto pledge "Putting people first". gaurav

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