Belleville expansion plans

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ring sling mummy
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby ring sling mummy » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:37 am

Hello All,

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.

Kindest regards,

A Clapham Mother of 2
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herogirl
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby herogirl » Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:51 pm

In addition to the last reply from Custardy and some private support I have decided to post again. Dandelion, do you work for the council? I understand the proposals perfectly and don't need it explained to me, I just object to them!

I don't endorse means testing of any sort, we pay tax and have a right to schooling if it is wanted.
I will never endorse the busing in of pupils, it is morally wrong. I imagine the reaction would be different if a lot of pupils from a deprived area were being bused in to your area to change the demographics at the "good" schools.
I hope that someone who lives near the Vines site and is refused entry for their child takes this to judicial review because the policy is discriminatory and should be challenged. It won't be me of course but someone needs to take them on, the proposals are nakedly there to catch votes for a tory council.
I have also read with distaste the debate on a new secondary. You have a secondary school right next to you, Chestnut Grove! The pupils who do attend come from far away because the parents of the children near to the school don't want their children to attend it!!!! Anyone who posts it is oversubscribed should tell it to the marines!!! Your children would all get places, you just don't want them, be honest at least. The sad thing is, it would change the demographics at the school, for the good. It is so sad that selfishness will always prevent this happening.
I don't blame anyone for wanting the best for their child but people, please be honest and don't hide behind such nonsense.
Dandelion accuses me of not liking the people between the commons, she is not entirely wrong. I have read mainly selfishness and sometimes really distasteful comments from very selfish and shallow people. No, I don't like much about a community that is involved in a dog eat dog fight about schools to the point of committing fraud!
The sad fact is that people in that community want their children to mix with other similar children and want the state to finance it. I know the credit crunch is hitting private schools but people, if you are not happy with the schooling, that is what private schools are for! It was entertaining at least to be told that we in Forthbridge can send our children to schools that the nappy valley parents would never enrol their children for on the basis that it is a choice for us. It is a choice for you too, you just don't want that choice, you want the white middle class choice! That is your right. Just don't expect those of us with some intelligence to believe the hollow excuses, be honest! You only have to read the stats to see which schools take every child who wants a place, I think Highview is one of them, you just don't want to send your children there! One lady sent a very well argued letter to me privately and supported my views, could she please put them on this site so that others can see it?
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herogirl
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby herogirl » Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:57 pm

Mother of 2 near the vines, hurrah! I agree with every word! Please reply to me privately to see if we can do something to stop this apartheid!
Herogirl
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sutherland
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby sutherland » Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:35 am

I haven't read the whole thread but I think that the reason the catchment is going to be centred around Belleville is because the Forthbridge rd site is on the edge of the borough and Wandsworth won't want to be overwhelmed with Lambeth residents. Having had three children go through both private (big mistake) and state schools in this area I would really reassure you that nearly all schools are completely fine at least up until year 2, at which point you move them or if you have to, you pay.
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herogirl
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby herogirl » Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:53 am

Thank you for posting Sutherland but why does the political and budget implications for Wandsworth due to siting become the right thing to do? Are you seriously suggesting that those on the edge of the borough get less in case those in the next borough want to use a facility! Are you seriously suggesting this is right? Not even a councillor would risk saying that!
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sutherland
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby sutherland » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:44 am

I don't for a minute think it is right, it is purely pragmatic on the part of Wandsworth. The councils are under pressure to cope with the huge increase in primary school aged children and if they put schools on the edge of the borough they will be catering to children in Lambeth. It works out better for them to keep expansion away from the edges of the borough, that's why I doubt very much they will change their minds about the catchment.
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dandelion53
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby dandelion53 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:22 pm

Ha ha, no I don't work for the council! But I am a primary school teacher so I suppose I am looking at the proposal through the eyes of those who have to provide education to all children living in Wandsworth rather than as a class war.

Wandsworth has to provide more primary school places borough wide so it is adding extra classes to various schools. It has chosen the schools where there is the most need as that is logical. It wouldn't make sense (and is too expensive) to open a new school on the Vines site as that would mean that applications would be low at other schools like High View and Shaftesbury Park. As you have pointed out, all or nearly all applicants are successful for those so if another school pulled children away from them, they would be financially unviable.

There are some very valid reasons for objecting to the expansion of Belleville School, but in my opinion, muddying the water with talk of racism, social apartheid and suggesting that those putting together the proposal are bigoted or elitist, rather than public sector workers trying to juggle budgets basically, just detracts from the argument and hinders the real opposition to the expansion.

In my opinion, the problem is thinking that it is ok to expand successful primary schools to 3 or 4 form entry. That is huge! Expecting management teams to become like umbrella super - managers of many sites and thinking that this won't have a negative impact on the children's education is ridiculous.

And to suggest that having a split site at Forthbridge Road is beneficial for the parents living around Belleville who will be offered places there is missing the point that their children will be going to an annexe site not a separate school. I wouldn't want my child to go there. How will they maintain unity with the rest of the school? Where will assemblies be? It will be like a strange outpost removed from the rest of the school. Far better to go to High View.

Children fare better is small schools especially at primary school level. Creating 4 form entry primary schools is an awful precedent. I really hope that those objecting to the proposal are concentrating on the educational implications and not becoming side-tracked by class issues. I don't think this is a moral issue of busing in children to different areas because of class, I think the real issue is trying to over-expand existing schools (because of short-sighted closures a few years back for a start) and save money because its too prohibitive to buy back the land to open new schools.

I'm really not sure what the solution is. There aren't enough places in the borough and there isn't enough money to open entirely new schools.
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hayfeversufferer
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby hayfeversufferer » Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:07 pm

Hi Sutherland,
Just noticed your post, why do you say that private was a big 'mistake'?
I only ask as its the big q that seems to run through a lot of mums minds?
I guess just curious!
Look forward to hearing from you.

HFS
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sutherland
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby sutherland » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:31 pm

Dear HFS, My feeling is that if you are going to bring your kids up in London then you need to be able to live in London and get along with all sorts of people. When I moved my son to a private school in Balham when he was 7, I had tried and tried to get him into a good state school with no luck. When I moved him I realised that academically his previous school was at least as good, the children at the private school were generally duller and there was a tedious obsession with who was having tea with who, which reading stage each child was on etc etc
If your children are reasonably bright and you are a supportive parent I can see no reason at all to send them privately at the primary age. Even ignoring the financial nightmare, there is so much more to be gained by going to a state school and being part of the community. My two younger children know practically everybody by sight and that makes them feel safe and at home in their neighbourhood. One final thing, when my son's old friend asked him why his school charged money to attend he replied 'oh it's because the holidays are longer and the work is easier'. Just about sums it up.
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herogirl
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby herogirl » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:27 pm

Dandelion

I agree with your education based objections. I don't agree that other objections such as the social injustice are detracting. Your comments are valid, so are mine and those of others. Unless an objection is totally spurious then the more grounds for objecting the better. Sometimes the most emotive objections are the ones that win and your education based objections benefit from it. All I would say is don't run down other objections, they don't detract from yours, they just add to it making a better and more convincing case. Sadly, the purely education based objections are not likely to win, they don't win votes!!! That does not make them any less valid, it just makes politicians less candid.
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anastasia1
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby anastasia1 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:10 pm

I can see why parents and prospective parents of Belleville would think that this was a clever and innovative idea, but there seems to be something ethically wrong with not letting children who live near the new site attend the school.

I can't imagine as many children live near Forthbridge Rd so children near Belleville could still benefit. The current proposal would have kids from Northcote going to school in Forthbridge while kids in Forthbridge go to school somewhere else - isn't this exactly what parents try to avoid?

Belleville I assume is a 'good school' so why shouldn't children from other areas benefit from it? From what it sounds like, the current admissions proposal will still see parents try to buy property near Belleville to attend a school elsewhere, therefore the problem continues to grow and in a few years we're back to square one. If we let children near Forthbridge attend, parents can fight it out for houses near there instead.

To someone without children, this all sounds quite insane...
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Groucho
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby Groucho » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:09 pm

@ Herogirl

"Dandelion accuses me of not liking the people between the commons, she is not entirely wrong. I have read mainly selfishness and sometimes really distasteful comments from very selfish and shallow people. No, I don't like much about a community that is involved in a dog eat dog fight about schools to the point of committing fraud!"


Don't you think it's rather ironic that you are on the one hand agreeing that the school expansion is elitist and racist but on the other hand are tarring a whole community by the actions and posts of a few people on this website?

I live between the commons and would NEVER think it's okay to rent in order to get a school place. I went to a sink state school myself one of the worst in the country and left with no exams at 16. I want better for my child but would not break the law to get it. Don't judge a whole community based upon their location, it makes you sound exactly like the people you despise.
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herogirl
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby herogirl » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:04 pm

Scooby

You misunderstand me. I am not tarring everyone with the same brush, just those who post these ridiculous fraud inciting messages and those who think it is OK! I am sure the whole community is not like that. I am not targeting the whole community and my post was generally about the school scam system. I live in Battersea myself, obviously and would not do so if I hated it, it just the scammy mummies that I have no time for!!!
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cynic
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby cynic » Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:58 am

Dear all
I am actively involved in the campaign against this unfair expansion plan where no local children will get access to the Forthbridge road site.
We have raised 469 objections (vs just 35 in support) and had one pointless meeting with council yesterday.
They are ignoring our objections and STILL intend to go ahead with plans
You can read their latest two page report on it here:
http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/moderngov/ ... ocA.ps.pdf

We are making a deputation to the council committee on Thurs eve.
We need urgent help to get the message out - many people, councillors and media do not even know much about it.

PLS RESPOND URGENTLY IF YOU WANT TO HELP
I live very close to the site
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hazel15malwood
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Re: Belleville expansion plans

Postby hazel15malwood » Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:49 pm

So, from what I hear, despite numerous objections - particularly in relation to admissions to Forthbridge Road being based on distance from Belleville - the council approved the proposal last night. Does anyone have any additional information?
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