Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

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Virgil Tibbs
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby Virgil Tibbs » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:06 pm

Laura - it seems to me that a lot of your issues are about ideology, either anti-academy and/or anti-freeschool. If the former, talk to Tony Blair or if the latter then contact Michael Gove. I'm not sure the council has too much to do with either to be honest. Personally I think some diversity in the education sector is a good thing - not wholly free market but also neither soley state driven - the latest OECD PISA stats would seem to bear out that we need to improve what we do as a country, at the moment its simply not effective compared to our competitors.

Your point about the £13 million is entirely bogus. There will in reality be no "net loss" from the overall taxpayers pot - the money will merely pass between the education and health budgets, where I imagine it will be put to good use by the NHS to provide local healthcare facilities. I wasn't asking you to make comparisons between the free school and BSF, I was asking what you thought about £70 million of taxpayers money being spent on two schools that are not adding any great addition to pupil numbers - so the question was whether you thought £70 million was good value or not? And yet in spite of not having the full facts to hand by your own admission, you still nonetheless pass judgement on what is deemed to be taxpayers value or otherwise. In terms of monies to be spent on other existing schools, then the council budgets are due out shortly from Whitehall I believe, so I'm pretty sure that our own council will then look to see how much can be spent on Elliot and the like. The point is that the free school and existing state schools are not mutually exclusive.

And you still do not tell us if you think 49% is to be welcomed - or not?

Finally, if JaneE (clearly part of your group) has the surplus pupil numbers that total "over 1,000" then it would be very helpful indeed if she were to share them with us all.

The trouble with ideology is that it is very often based on prejudice and spin - with very little evidence on show. I support the free school precisely because on any objective basis, it is simply the best use of scare resource - adding pupil supply to a part of the borough where there is significant demand.
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ready2pop
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby ready2pop » Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:57 am

I think that the reason this is causing heated feelings is not the idea of the new school per se but the fact that the proposed admissions criteria are going to limit access to it to children from feeder schools - making it exclusive to northcote children only.

Parents of children in other nearby schools (I agree that a mile is nearby for a secondary age child) will understandably feel that one group is being preferred above them especially if the reasoning behind the new school is not a lack of places in the borough but a lack of places in high achieving schools as seems to be the argument here.

Also if Northcote children are now within the catchment for other Wandsworth schools and the reasoning behind the free schools is to offer choice, shouldn't children from other parts of the borough have the choice to go to the new school?

I think it is the exclusivity that rankles.

It doesn't matter to me either way as I am much nearer to Graveney so don't care ;) but I find it interesting that such an obvious point is being missed!
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schoolgatesmum
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby schoolgatesmum » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:48 am

From my understanding the 4 feeder schools are Belleville, Highview, Honeywell and Wix. I agree that a lot of children at Belleville and Honeywell are probably Northcote ward - although I know a lot of children at Belleville in the higher years who are Shaftsbury ward. But I would think that Highview and Wix are majority out of the Northcote ward. Doing distance from school would definitely have been exclusively Northcote and would end up having the same effect as has happened to Belleville and Honeywell - i.e. only those affording expensive housing would end up getting a place. I think the reasoning behind the feeder schools is that this ensures a good mix of children not just from the outset but in future years as well. And I think the feeder schools priority is only if the school is oversubscribed. I guess there will always be winners and losers.
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janee
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby janee » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:57 pm

Virgil Tibbs: I will post the data on surplus places on our website: www.wsos.org.uk - it doesn't format well on this. The information was obtained from Wandsworth Council.

As I said before, I apologise for the behaviour of one of our members. However, that does not detract from the argument. I don't want to get into the point scoring but, when we were giving out information in Northcote Road, we had to tolerate a member of the Neighbourhood Schools Campaign screaming at us.

As for affluence, I do not assume that all those who live in the Northcote area are affluent. However, the two schools which were the basis of the NSC have way below the average %age of free schools meals and, therefore, are serving a comparatively privileged group of children. This information was reluctantly given by an officer of Wandsworth Council.
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livegreen
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby livegreen » Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:49 pm

Laura, Janee,

Sorry to add to the criticism but I too was verbally abused by your group. I actually went to the consultation on Wednesday and was very impressed by what I saw, so was taking husband and children along to have a look. When I explained this and also asked some questions about the leaflet you were giving out, in particular the claim that most children should attend their local Balham school, I too was told that there was no point talking to "my type".
Laura. You have been asked a lot of questions in posts above but seem unable / unwilling to answer them. Please try to answer as it may make you credible. A couple of things that should be simple for you - if say 50 children (about 25%) leaving the Northcote primaries applied to get into Chestnut Grove how many would get in based on your figures. Also how many closer primaries are there to Chestnut Grove - I can think of Alderbrook, Ravenstone, Holy Ghost, Henry Cavendish, Bonneville, Trinity St Mary etc etc which school should they attend??
Janee - also a simple question how many spare Year 7 places are there in Chestnut Grove and Burntwood ? It is no surprise Lambeth children get in as it is their closest school too !!! You do advocate "Local schools for local Children" don't you?
I think this area has one of the fastest growing child populations in UK, has the largest primary schools in Wandsworth and used to house several secondary schools, so it seems the logical place to put a new school.
Additionally trying to maintain the Bolingbroke as a community building has got to be great - I am sure both Laura and Janee would not disagree.
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Virgil Tibbs
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby Virgil Tibbs » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:01 pm

Janee - thanks but those links dont get me to any info on surplus pupil places? Can you not simply type the relevant school names with surplus place numbers as part of your post? I am interested to see the detail behind your earlier statement that there are "over 1,000 surplus places in secondary schools" in Wandsworth. Many thanks. PS Am not sure why free school meal stats are "reluctantly given", as with a bit of Googling one can find the info on the internet - its already in the public domain. If I can find it then anyone can! You seem to be tilting at windmills with your conspiracy theories.
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JoanHolloway
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby JoanHolloway » Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:26 pm

Hello. I was part of the demonstration on Saturday and I would like to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how willing parents were to listen to what we had to say. I came away feeling that even if people were supportive of the free school, they were happy to engage in open and honest discourse and were, in the main, very respectful.
The rest of the group felt the same way too. I really enjoyed meeting you all.

What I was far less taken with was the attitude towards Chestnut Grove. Several of the parents that I spoke to told me that it was a bad school with knife crime. This would be shocking enough in itself, but not one of the parents that I spoke to had even visited Chestnut Grove. Most parents didn't even know where it was located. I did ask one woman where she was getting her information from. She informed me that she had been given that information "by a friend." I asked if she was happy to choose a school based on unsubstantiated gossip, she answered "yes." :shock: :shock:

Bad schools with knife crime do not get outstanding OFSTED reports.
Bad schools with knife crime do not get 777 applicants for 150 places.
Bad schools with knife crime do not appear in The Times' Top 600 schools for the number of A* and A grade GCSE awarded to their most able pupils.
Bad schools with knife crime do not appear in the top ten schools in the country for CVA scores.
Bad schools with knife crime do not have specialist language places that ensure that children get to study two languages at GCSE level.

Exam results are the starting point for most of us when considering a school, however they need to be viewed in context. You have consider what the intake of the school is. In the case of Graveney, there is a highly academic intake. When my son was taking his Wandsworth test, the minimum pass rate to get into Graveney was 98%. Yes, 98%. Minimum. Any child residing in any borough is entitled to take the Wandsworth test. Therefore, if there is a choice between a local child with a 80% score or a Croydon child who gets 98%, guess who gets the place at Graveney? Given that most Wandsworth parents want to send their children to Graveney and therefore put it down as their first choice, then you can see why so many parents do not get their first choice of school in this borough. Graveney take the best and the brightest, regardless of distance.

As for Chestnut Grove, I believe that the GCSE pass rate is around 50% with English and Maths, rising to 95% without. Chestnut Grove has a varied intake of pupils across all classes, races, academic abilities, financial backgrounds etc.
Given that Chestnut Grove is located in London, not Gerrards Cross, I don't find this shocking in any way.
My son attended primary school in Putney; like Honeywell it is a school with a low percentage of free school meals recipients.
He scored level 5 across the board in his SATS and is therefore considered gifted and talented. I am a single mother and a full time undergraduate; ours is a family that values education. I would not play Russian Roulette with my son's academic future.
My son loves his school, is on course to do his GCSEs a year early and is very happy.
He is looking forward to going to Barcelona in the spring with the other language specialists at his school. I'm sure that you've guessed by now that my son attends CG.
I do find it sad that in London in 2010, someone could look at my lovely, polite, hard working, piano playing, Mozart loving, geeky son and make assumptions about him, his friends and the families that they come from, simply because of the uniform that he wears.
To the people who believe that CG is full of hoodies and chavs; did you realise that Graveney was once a very similar school to Chestnut Grove? Funny how things change.
Again, I would like to thank all the people who took the time to speak to me on Saturday. I enjoyed meeting you all.
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Goldhawk
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby Goldhawk » Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:31 pm

CG reputation is obviously based on the behaviour of a minority

There was a recent murderer but that wasn't the schools fault
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JoanHolloway
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby JoanHolloway » Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:34 pm

@ Goldhawk
Firstly, it did not take place at the school, nor did it have anything whatsoever to do with the school.
Secondly, I'm not sure what you mean by the behaviour of a minority. My son is in year 8 at CG; I've never heard anything about any kind of knife crime/ violence.
I can assure you if I had, that my son would be in year 8 somewhere else! :o
The point I was trying to make with my post, is that there seems to be unfounded rumours about the behaviour at Chestnut Grove.
Sadly, there isn't a great deal you can do about what people get up to outside of school. This holds true whether the school in question is state, grammar or private.
If I had any concerns whatsoever about the safety of my child at school, I would have removed him a very long time ago.
In fact, I would not have sent him there in the first place.
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janee
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby janee » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:21 pm

Goldhawk: that was not my experience when we were leafletting outside Chestnut Grove. I was impressed with the politeness and good humour of all the students.

I have now received a copy of ARK's submission to the Department for Education and am collating all the errors and misinformation. The first being that the Bolingbroke is in the centre of the desert as far as secondary schools go. My google map shows that it is much nearer to Wandsworth. It also says that Eltringham school site was considered, which rather knocks the argument on the head as far as travel goes.
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JoanHolloway
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby JoanHolloway » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:40 pm

@ Goldhawk - I don't live in Balham and you obviously do, so I am probably speaking out of turn, but when I accompanied my son to and from school when he first started at CG, (for about a week or so, because he'd never done public transport on his own before) I didn't witness any of that kind of behaviour.
No police, no fighting, no drama. Maybe they were putting on a show for the new parents? :lol:
They do say that the worst people to ask about a school are the local residents. I'm sure the residents of Fawe Park / Brandlehow Road have plenty to say about the children at my sons old primary.
Personally, I'm not very keen on the behaviour of the children from Ashcroft, who are an absolute nuisance at home time. However, I don't assume that they are bad children and I certainly don't think Ashcroft is a bad school!
I think we'll agree to disagree ;)
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Francesca
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby Francesca » Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:11 pm

I am sorry but I am now confused. Joan Holloway's post states...

Bad schools with knife crime do not get 777 applicants for 150 places.

So if there are 777 applicants for 150 places where are all the "surplus places" described in the previous posts?

I too was stopped by this group on Saturday. Not sure what was jovial about the discussions - i found it pretty unpleasant I have to admit and yes one particular member was actually pretty rude and agressive. And I am not even someone that feels particularly strong about this topic having very young children.

I just simply do not understand why this group could be so against a new secondary school and more CHOICE for local parents. It seems to me that at the moment children from Belleville and Honeywell pretty much only have the option of Chestnut Grove (which according to Joan Holloway is oversuscribed )or Burntwood ?

Or am I missing something ?
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Virgil Tibbs
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby Virgil Tibbs » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:34 am

Janeee - when you have finished your forensic analysis of the ARK document, could you pls answer the question about the 1,000+ surplus pupil places that you say exist in Wandsworth secondary schools? Thank you.
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mumble
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby mumble » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:20 am

The nearest school to Bonneville would be Lambeth Academy as it would be for a lot of Wix children too (although I totally take the point that it is not Wandsworth)

If the priority feeder schools include Wix will that prioritise Wix Lambeth pupils over Alderbrook Wandsworth ones say those South of Broomwood?

I'd assumed the 1,000 extra places would be the number attending Wandsworth schools from out of Borough??
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Virgil Tibbs
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Re: Anyone else get harangued outside Northcote Library today?!

Postby Virgil Tibbs » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:45 am

I've no idea where janee gets her 1,000+ figure from, thats why I keep asking. But if it is to do with students from outside the borough, then one cant simply net them off the pupil places as if they didnt exist - thats a bit like saying 'I'd be really rich if my lottery numbers came up'. Its meaningless. Plus what about students from Wandsworth who go the other way?

The reality is as follows: at the Year 7 intake at 2009, there were a total of 2,087 available places at the 11 borough secondary schools. In terms of actual pupils admitted, there were 1,741. So a total of 346 surplus places. Of these spare 346 places, 170 (49%) were at the two Catholic schools. The balance of 176 were as follows: Battersea Park - 3; Eliiot - 134 and Southfields - 39. These are council stats.

So I would suggest that janee is being somewhat economic with the truth when she says there are 1,000+ spare places - a bit like all of the arguements they put up against the free school. Not to be trusted. That is why they duck the awkward questions posted above because they have no real answers. And as pointed out by others above, they are just coming off looking a bit chippy or loony-left, because what they most want to do most is rant against the middle classes and stand around waving placards.

For me, the bottom line is that the new school is very much demand driven and less to do with debates about the quality of education on offer - which is a related but separate issue.

The councils BSF estimates were based on an extra 1,700 total 2ndry school pupil places by 2017. The new school will provide 750 of those places - and crucially the school will be in a part of the borough that has no secondary school at the moment. If you look at the school map, the rest of the borough is well served by existing schools. In terms of Chestnut Grove and Battersea Park, there are many other primary schools that are actually closer then either Belleville or Honeywell. Again, janee and her cronies seem unwilling to recognise this? The Northcote ward, with 2 of the largest primary schools in London, is not served by any immediate school. So the free school is catering for 47% of the increase in pupil numbers in a part of Wandsworth where it is most needed. I believe that the BSF projects at Southfields and Burntwood will each add a 1FE equating to a total of 300 pupils across both those schools.

I am biased because I support the free school, but even if one looks at the above evidence on an objective basis, the campaign for the free school is both a fair and reasonable one. But being biased, I would say its a "no brainer"!
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