As a mother of two, one who is school age and one who will be in 2 years, I do object wholeheartedly to the proposed Belleville expansion plans based on its current admissions criteria. Currently my child is in private education so I have no ulterior motives for disagreeing with this plan.
As I live right next door to the 'Vines' school which is the proposed new expansion site, I think it is a huge miscarriage of justice to create a new school and not allow local residents the opportunity to attend.
I am so opposed to this expansion that I wrote a letter to the planners and I also copied in all the press from all the newspapers I could find, local and national to raise awareness about this backwards attempt at a temporary solution to a permanent problem.
Below is my letter:
Dear Bruce Glockling,
http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/33/bu ... sultations
I refer to the proposal dated May 20, 2010 to permanently expand Belleville Primary School at a secondary location approximately 1 mile away, whilst maintaining the current distance criteria for admissions to be from the primary Belleville site; as opposed to the new site located on Forthbridge Road and Meteor Street.
By opening a new site for Belleville at the existing Vines School and not allowing the admissions criteria to change in order to reflect the new location, you are creating a social apartheid in Wandsworth. There is a definite need for a new school in this area as birth rates between the commons and surrounding areas are amongst the highest in Europe. However, this prejudiced proposal is a bigoted attempt of social engineering at its best.
A new school with a new admissions criteria would allow all the children local to the Forthbridge Road / Meteor Street site an opportunity to attend a school much closer than Shaftsbury Park, John Burns or the very small Ecole Du Wix as currently these children are too far away to apply for the Belleville School. This would also allow for parents local to the primary Belleville School site an opportunity to also apply to a new school. Are you insinuating that the children who live local to this new site are 'not good enough' to attend???
The proposal to only allow children who live locally to Bellevile School the opportunity to attend the new site is extremely racist and elitist. It can be said that Belleville and Honeywell Schools both perform exceptionally well in national standards because of the families that live local to the schools. They are all predominantly white, upper to middle class working families that live in homes worth £800K upwards. There is a very limited number of council estates anywhere near these two schools. Where as Shaftsbury Park is in the middle of one of Wandsworth's largest and arguably most dangerous estates. By keeping the affluent middle class children with each other you are leaving all the poorer children to battle it out in barb wired fenced schools and denying them an opportunity at a better education and a better way of life. It has been proven time and time again that a school for poor children makes a poor school.
It is my opinion that you should refer to Raleigh, North Carolina as a model for how to transform education and results within the borough as opposed to the current plan of academic apartheid. In under ten years the Raleigh School governors successfully transformed their school district from one of the worst performing school districts in America to one of the best.
On a second note, you mention that local residents near the secondary proposed Vines School site have expressed concern about increased traffic movement. As Parkgate House School (private) is already bordering in between these two roads and backs onto the Vines school it is only natural that there will be a considerable amount of increased congestion from parents who choose to drive their children to this new site as it is almost a mile away from where they live. The easiest way to avoid this increased traffic congestion is to allow local residents the opportunity to attend this new site, thus avoiding the need for 120 new pupils to be driven to and from school each day.
I therefore object fully and wholeheartedly to your proposed plan to permanently extend the Belleville Primary School onto the Vines School site whilst maintaining the current distance criteria for admissions. I wish to close by saying that I am not convinced that this 'proposal' is still in its planning stage as I personally know parents who have already been offered a Belleville place for their child at this new site. Clarification on this would be appreciated.
In an attempt to get more local (and even national) residents aware of your discriminatory proposal, I have copied the press on this email.
A Clapham Mother of 2