Government investigates Tower Hamlets again

Apparently people like Sylvia Pankhurst and Danny Boyle are among a high-profile string of supporters of the Raine’s Foundation Trust and Steering Group and the many grateful parents and pupils who happily attend the school.

This new investigation is mainly concentrating around the illegal attempt by Tower Hamlets council, trying to close Raine’s Foundation, Church of England Secondary school and Sixth Form prior to a consultation.

Tower Hamlets Council made an application to the Government Schools Adjudicators in May for a zero published admission number (PAN), cutting the future pipeline of the school. A final decision on this application was due for February 2020. Yet the council already and illegally informed all new year 7 pupils, who had been given confirmed places for the year 2019/20 at Raine’s, that they had to leave Raine’s and be placed in other schools, mainly Oaklands.

Whilst the council told parents at meetings that there were only 29 viable applications for a year 7 place at Raine’s, for 2019/20, further evidence suggests that there were actually 70 – 100 pupils applying for places.

Incidentally all year 9s were also told by the council they could not progress to year 10 within the Raine’s Foundation school and should continue their education at Oaklands school.

Raines Foundation Interim Executive Board (IEB)

Whilst the previous board of governors were dismissed, acussed of being unable to run the school, an Interim Executive Board was put into place.

The school advertised a position of parent governor but we were told at the last meeting with the borough that no suitable person could be found to fill the post. I had applied for it. As a former LEA school governor, I should be more than qualified. But I suppose they didn’t want anybody on the board who would want to put a spanner in the works of their devious plans.

In the interests of ‘transparency and openness’it might be interesting to see what the Interim Executive Board (IEB) of Raines Foundation secondary school have been getting up to and you can download all ten documents here.

Raine’s Foundation hired Irwin Mitchell Solicitors who went to the High Court and obtained a judgement including directions to Tower Hamlets Council that they have to write to all parents and pupils who were originally told that they cannot continue their education at Raine’s that they now can continue their education there.

Yet, the council, to date, has not followed that order of the judge.

There are now new applications in preparation to again go to the court for further orders by the solicitors Irwin Mitchell.

It seems very strange that the council tries every trick in the book to dismantle the only traditional school with a 300 year history in the borough.

Please also see a good article from  Wapping Mole though I would not want to go so far as to call for a return of Lutfur Rahman.

It is just really sad that our current Labour council under John Biggs, makes such dreadful decisions. John Biggs. It was a seriously political and administrative mistake to illegale incite the closure of a traditional Church of England school in Tower Hamlets. It will cost the Labour Party a lot of votes.

Advertisements

shoot yourself in the foot

is an expression that people use to describe if a measure you take, turns out detrimental against yourself.

British establishment and conservationists always want to help promote the establishment, of which the Church of England is an important cornerstone.

stjames

St James the Less church

Church of England schools were long seen as the ultimate part of the pro-English upbringing of those wanting to serve Queen and country.

The church being the glue that holds the social fibre of English society together, educated mind and spirits. Yet an essential part of English society was the emergence of unions, which branched out of working-class environments and became an integral part of life.

Along comes our latest bout of Conservative government seeking to destroy the stronghold unions have on the confidence of the working classes. This of course includes the pocket so Muslim immigrants who follow special social rules culminating in Sharia law.

Easy peasy things thinks the government, we just shake it all up, we get rid of the unions and the radical Islamist scourge at the same time.

There then followed a strong rule change, making working compulsory, forcing people to accept any job on offer and reducing work security through a change in working contracts law.

Also, to throw into the mix came the idea to “increase the quality of schooling” by allowing free schools and by tearing schools away from councils and getting them directly funded by government e.g. through the academy system.

Whilst previously we saw a shortage of school places, we now see an oversaturation of educational provision. Schools open everywhere but people generally have less children because of working law and benefit changes.

All the uprooting of social connections, suitably assisted by changes in housing law and provision thoroughly shook society to the core.

In Tower Hamlets just about the only traditional education available was through Church of England schools. Yet academies and free schools have mushroomed out of nowhere, leaving Muslim children to attend non-church schools with often 85-95% Muslims, whilst the Catholic kids, cram into the few Catholic schools.

The Church of England, through its Liberal approach suffers from a loss of church attendance and general lack of draconian church discipline, is not very attractive to Muslims who experience much more pressure to follow strict religious rules and enjoy the feeling of being forced to adhere to a religious life-style.

That makes Church of England schools less attractive to those who want to experience dogma.

Tower Hamlets has long been the source of constant political controversy and is run by more or less left-wing factions of the Labour Party and similar constellations of political movements like AspireRespect or Tower Hamlets First.

The current Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, who was seen as a moderate leader by many, is however very keen to rid Tower Hamlets of one of the oldest Church of England schools at the earliest opportunity. It is just another weapon to stab local society into the heart of traditional values and help undermine the Monarchy.

Had this Conservative government not sought to change society to the core with a flurry of legal changes, we would not be in this situation that English traditional education is being disbanded in this part of London.

Any benefit that may have shown through ‘better’ academy schools is wiped out by disturbance constant change brings. Children need to feel safe not only physically but also mentally by being able to rely on those services, adults around them, knowing they can grow up into society and contribute to that society at a later stage.

raines school

Raine’s Foundation, C.o.E. Secondary in Bethnal Green

The children of Raine’s Foundation school in Tower Hamlets are being torn apart from their brand-new school, strewn into the wind of education and lost the ability to concentrate on their GCSE and A-levels because their school is threatened by closure.

The last thing, kids want to worry about is finding a school or changing school when they need to concentrate on years of course work to get the best results. The travesty is that the education and teachers at Raine’s are very good and pupils can achieve best results, they do run a Year 11 High Attainment Program in conjunction with Stem. Why do they want to close a school that produces top class achievers, just because it is a Church of England school?

Most parents choose schools wanting peace of mind, being able to leave their children there till 6. Form and then go onto university or into a working life.

Yet the chopping and changing politics by this current government has thrown everything around into a big mixing bowl of social change and nobody is any the wiser of what is happening.

Of course, being able to plan ahead has become a luxury and that is what this government wants, they do not want people to get too comfortable because happy people are dangerous people who can start to demand even better than they have.

So, this Conservative government in fact chips away on conservative values and education by creating a whirlwind social environment that destroys all conservative values and creates anxiety and fear among our young people.

That is one of the reasons why kids now feel they need to demonstrate about the climate emergency instead of going to school, why school kids feel they need knives to protect themselves as they no longer feel safe as nothing can be relied upon any longer. Parents aren’t even at home after school any longer to calm down any fears, parents are forced into working instead of being there to parent.

Everthing is being eroded for working people, starting by housing, to working contracts and schooling. The reduction of policing services has another detrimental impact onto society.

Getting rid of everything known and comforting is perhaps the biggest mistake this government makes.

There are no particular problems at Raine’s Foundation, yet over-crowded popular schools often attract the most problems. But the per-pupil funding will prefer big problem schools before smaller, high quality schools because of the funding formulae.

Just today, the World Economic Forum published figures to show how stress severely affects our University Students, which means the format of education needs to change, to become more user friendly rather than production belt style.

Raine’s provides that friendly but high quality education, that is of excellent quality.  Universities must follow a model that produces happy students.

 

The Q-elite

Having read in an article that the youngest MENSA member is aged 2 and that other bright young children can be certified as brain boxes I set out to find how that can be done in the average London borough.

And in the course of that ‘investigation’ I had one of the most enlightening and constructive conversations I’ve ever hand, thanks to the persons who spoke to me, you know who you are.

I thought, how would it be possible to follow the MENSA recommendations and ask an educational psychologist of a local education authority to assess a bright child and learned that there is such a long waiting list for assessing that it would take a very long time to get a child seen if ever. The waiting lists are usually full of children with learning problems get seen first and even they have to wait very long queues to be seen.

One cannot just turn up and say, look my kid can do this and that and is absolutely wonderful. Sorry love, join the queue is going to be the answer. So realistically speaking to get a child assessed one has to pay for it and that is the only way.

So all those children who are lucky enough to have rich parents and can get assessed as having high IQ have to stand out because there is no standard testing that is broadly available to all children. I am certain that if there was a standard testing program many more very clever children would be diagnosed but as it is they just stay in their classes and learn as well as they can with the material and teaching provided.

Of course it is not absolutely impossible that Educational Psychologists that get paid to assess might make results look brighter as they really are because that is the expectation of the paying customer, namely the parent who pays to get an excellent result.

It would be much fairer to all children if they could get IQ tested aged 2 because they could be very clever, it is just that nobody knows it and once kids are fed into the normal comprehensive education stream expectation stays on a medium level and most children just want to oblige and settle for the median.  I think that results and achievements are related to the expectations that teachers have and in the current educational climate, most schools practise an average policy and so they get average results.

No school would refer an excellent pupil to an educational psychologist to get an IQ result and so we never find out what the potential would have been. Quite astonishingly how do you determine if a child is clever? Many kids play with books when they are two and many are above average readers or ahead in their class work.

I think it has a lot to do with common perception in that we are constantly told that those who pay for tests and education achieve better in life but we have never tried to test those poor pupils and we constantly talk poorer children down as non achievers.  So the common perception is low and a child grows up knowing that it doesn’t have to perform as it cannot achieve in any case. There is normally no program for bright pupils in the average comprehensive and no further propaganda is made by the Department for Education that schools can get grants for high achievers. We only ever hear of the special payments that are made for slow learners. So schools know they get extra money the more problem kids they have and so they like problem children. If schools knew they get extra funding for the better learning achievers then that would be an incentive for them to work along those lines.

If parents were given the choice to get an educational psychologist assessment for their child’s IQ if they wanted then that would be a fair choice to give to people but instead only those rich enough ever get the chance to test their child to get them into MENSA. So how clever is the MENSA system really, is it just trickery to please rich parents or can it help poorer kids to shine?

In the BBC published list of tell-tale signs for a clever child they only list some point but omit the point that MENSA makes that clever children don’t like other children. But that is not stated as a must but as possible option, which is not listed on the BBC website.

I think if you can afford to have your child tested and celebrate their true potential then that is a great starting point for that child but there are many other clever children who never even get the chance to be tested because the parents cannot afford to pay for that and then the child’s talents go mingled up and are not further developed especially because schools do not have the mechanisms to do so.

One thing all those children have in common, when you look into their faces,there is a certain maturity in their facial expression and I often get the feeling that I talk to an adult rather than a child when I talk to my clever kid but then when she goes off to play with others she suddenly turns into her age. Myif child is quite unusual in that she absolutely loves everybody and all other children and gets on with everybody and never says a bad word about anybody else, despite being quite bright and having learned to walk aged 6 months and being far ahead with her reading skills.

But despite all those kids in the Mensa testing coming out tops and being totally adorable an sweet, I think all this testing proves is that those parents could afford a test and that those kids could afford the test. The test result doesn’t mean that there are no other such clever kids around just because they could not have parents who can afford the test.

Yet if all children who are this clever would be found out about at an early age, that would benefit society tremendously as surely that could be nurtured. Why should only those children, whose parents are rich enough to test them get the future elite pampered treatment and be cherished especially high?

Poor and clever children instead get ignored and have to make do with what they got. Their talents might stay unnoticed or even vanished because those around them cannot appreciate someone clever in their midst as it so often happens.

In human evolutionary terms if all those who are especially clever were found out about then we might be able to allocate jobs to those who actually have some talent and not just those who can afford to get certain schooling.  Certainly today, as things are, we would never come across a rich person whose IQ test is low and who would give his money to a poor person because it is better in those person’s hands, instead we would rather see a rich person trying to stamp the poor person into the ground.

The battle for education

I follow the current arguments about what education with great interest but think that the politics about it clouds the issue, which is what child should have which education. I find it very disturbing that the left-wing unions describe children who are not academically gifted as write-off because that is simply too negative. Every child is a god’s creation and has their own individual value and bring it to society.

A child is not just a good or valuable child because they get 3 stars in their A-levels but because they learn at their best ability whatever they can.

The bigger society gets the more sense it makes to measure educational achievements and prepare for requirements in education. But I think it is quite peculiar that the politicizing of education has not escaped the churches and I miss a religious definition of the quality of education.

I miss it that the churches do not present a third dimension to the argument that is raging between the political right who want to privatize education and the political left who want to make us all the same.

I have 5 children and 7 grandchildren and must admit all of them are completely different and individuals in their own right and with their own personalities. I just ensured that all of them became law abiding individuals, whatever their profession is now, they all work according to their best ability.

We can’t all be doctors and we can’t all be lawyers and there is only 7% of all people who own 95% of the money. We all want our kids to be part of the 7% of course.

I think the churches should define their idea of what makes a God fearing individual because that would perhaps help define a way out of the bitter battle that threatens to diminish education to a battle field and threatens to disrupt education because of the strikes that are planned over pay, pension and education methods. I have not heard a religious school make comments about this nor have I heard a religious opinion on the matter, but that is what’s needed.

There is no doubt that some children and their families are prepared to do that extra bit more to learn and those people should get extra assistance, whilst there are others who just want to have their kids looked after and learn a bit whilst they are there in school. Those who want to learn more they do need more resources than those who don’t. I spend every available penny on extra books because the comprehensive school system fails to give my child the extra resources she wants. The argument I always hear is that not all appreciate learning as much as my child does and that is why my child has to fit in and learn slower. Is that fair or useful I ask.

I think it is a big mistake that church schools support the left-wing idea that testing is demeaning to children. It is not demeaning, it helps to find out what is needed to deliver a tailored education.

Can a school make a profit?

I just read about this “John Lewis” model for schooling and I am a bit puzzled by the concept in that it rests on a profit and that teachers are seen as personal stake holders in the running of the school. Reminds me a bit of the current NHS model changes proposed that puts more personal responsibility into GP practises and indeed the whole NHS to GPs.

Just wondering where the profit in education should come from? Is it from selling educated pupils to employers or universities? Is it just by getting a bonus from the state if so many pupils get good results?

I think it is very difficult to put a profit on communal assets, as such I consider well-educated pupils as communal assets, though they also personally benefit from their good education and so does any company or communal organisation they work for later on in life.

No doubt, that educational standards have to be raised but perhaps we should start by stopping the false consideration that every child has the same talents and can achieve the same high grades if we only treat them the same and they all go to Comprehensive schools.

To think further on the profit for schools question, who is going to finance such schools? Is it the government giving grants, and are the schools then on the job to deliver education on the budget and if they spend less on pupils they make more money for the school?

I think the basic mistake that has been made here in the UK is the thought that Grammar schools discriminate against poor children and that poor children cannot perform because they are poor. Poverty in itself is not important for anybody to say, because I am poor I am unable to work my way out of it. The Grammar model helped the poorest talented children to get a good basis to work their way out of poverty but nowadays poor talented children are severely disadvantaged because they are stuck in Comprehensive schools that do not over-emphasize achievement and are more concerned on keeping all children happy during the day and that they all get along with each other without too many incidents.

I think parents should demand from schools that they concentrate on the particular learning needs of their child. So for example if a child is learning disabled it has quite a job to do to learn just the basic tricks to get along in life later on when they have their own flat, do banking and try to get jobs, how to pay rent and cook their own meals. Other children with high IQ’s might want to concentrate on academic study. The mistake we make today is that we call it discrimination if we give some people different treatment from others, it is not discriminating it is tailored to someone’s needs.

A new star on the education horizon

I think it is very refreshing to hear of an education specialist asking for evidence what actually works in schools and for comparison to results world-wide and somebody who condemns either right-wing or left-wing dogma.

Promises to improve education were very much behind my support for the Conservatives to learn that no real changes take place that affect the whole majority of people. There are only spot changes with some privately funded schools but the big majority of children are stuck in the same old trot with many schools being able to continually opt out of SATS monitoring.

Labour Education spokesman Stephen Twigg now has asked for the creating of an Education Standards watch body. Of course OfSted itself can’t do much within the given legislation if schools are not even compelled to supply their SATS results and can even opt out of SATS testing altogether.

It is horrible to see a talented child waste away in one of the typically slow learning Comprehensives. And it is equally horrible to see the statistics of the UK falling further and further down the achievement ladder in education. Tony Blair had no business seeking to make Education one of the most sellable assets of the UK economy when British school children themselves don’t do so well in education.

But don’t understand me wrong I do not mean to endorse the Labour Party as such, I just welcome the new and more level-headed approach, that at least opens up a discussion and seems to want to turn towards achievement.

The comprehensive school system is about as self-defeating as the current governments austerity measures. If you think that the majority of pupils in a Comprehensive are of lower or medium learning ability, you get the majority of parents supporting slow learning methods, which do not inspire progress and educational excellence.

A lot of comprehensive schools have only about 1/10 of excellent pupils and they are slowly dragged down by the slow learning majority. The ratio of clever children must be higher to drive up the standards for the whole school.

It’s all in the head

That’s what we are being told when we look at the problem of failing Primary Schools. The way to go around it, is thought to turn failing Primary Schools into Academies and 200 of England’s words performing primaries are to get the Elite treatment from next term. The b

It’s good to see some action taking place. There is no place for complacency with children, as they say, you are only young once, and there is no time to loose.

The General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers supports the move, though he acknowledges that schools make progress from often poor starting points. Turning a school into an Academie seems to be the way to get a change of head teacher because it is always the head that is responsible for performance in a school. And if a school failed to improve for 5 years running, then its literally, off with the head in with the Academie.

Under-performance currently is very mildly assessed. All a school needs is less than 35% of children getting 5 GCSE’s at grades A* to C. At last the bar is being raised to 50%. Yet the whole point of the Academie strategie is to ensure that children do not arrive from Primary unable to be secure in the basics of English and Maths.

Tory teacher sacked in renewal bid

I am absolutely appalled to learn that a teacher who spoke out at a Tory conference about classic teaching methods, could even have been suspended over speaking her mind and having a political opinion.

This should be against all laws that any person can be sacked for having a political opinion. I however understand now that Katharine Birbalsingh, Oxford graduate who obviously took critical thinking for what it was, is now starting her own free school with the support of the headmaster of some famous school. (name to follow asap).

She aims to support disadvantaged children and wants to free them from the claws of the bossy middle classes. Well, I cannot see the differentiation as being helpful but I am grateful for any attempt to help underprivileged children achieve their potential because any child, regardless of talent or background is entitled to be educated to fulfil their best potential in live. However having said that I do not think that it should rub off on a child whether the parents pay for dinners or not or whether the parent is successful in a job or not.

Obviously the strong financial support schools got for the last few years did not help a lot as despite that money injection results in many schools were still not satisfying. I think it is a matter of simply being cost-effective and employ funds where they are needed.

I cannot understand arguments that say free schools take away funding from established state comprehensive. What is important is that children get an effective education and not what model is used to achieve that. It is plainly wrong of Labour Party supporter to turn the schooling of children into a political stumbling block, it is as wrong as sacking a teacher for speaking at a Tory party conference in the first place. Labour has made education  a weapon and pushed teachers in a position where they are no longer able to speak out what they think. That is very bad indeed and is about as bad as banning newspapers from libraries as it happened in Newham.

How good is comprehensive education

I am quite tired of all the rhetoric about education, how good or how bad it is because it is a nightmare to try and educate a gifted child in normal comprehensive education.

I went to WH Smith today to pick up some Revision books in English and Maths for 6 – 7 year olds. The first exercise in English was ‘find all the vowels’ in the words listed below. I did this because child’s school refuses to give homework to children.

OK, I thought easy enough, but had to find out, that, to my complete amazement, that my child never heard of the term vowel before because her teacher never taught her about this. Yet this is obviously perceived to be a normal part of the curriculum for a 6-year-old or it would not be in the revision book for 6 – 7 year olds.

Give me the name of any Grammar school within London and I walk twice around the globe to get a place for my child in that school. I rather travel hours to and from school than keep my child in a dumbness factory locally.

I had asked my child’s teacher whether the child can get some special help to further her learning because the child achieved 2 grades over the expected average learning achievement for his age and been told that “the child is not all that good”. (Observe the linguistic skill required of a teacher to utter the words “not all that good”)

I wonder whether Comprehensive schools see it as their duty to keep comprehensive school children as dumb as possible but keep them in school all day to give them supervision and learn them behaviour that the state feels is acceptable but not to teach the children too much so that they don’t get too clever. Why else would schools not even try to actually teach children?

And to add, just listening to the song, “I’m free to do whatever I want”. that makes me think of course that one has to be fully aware of all the choices to be able to make an informed decision about what one wants to do. Children, who are not educated properly never get the chance to even know what is there waiting for them. I would go so far as to say that it is a crime on children in particular and humanity as a whole not to educate children properly.

are church schools supposed to be political?

When I read this week’s East London Advertiser online, free of charge, very nice, thanks ELA, I noticed, to my amazement, that 2 local church schools refuse to publish their SATS tests for reasons of unfairness.

At least this is how I understand the absence of SATS results for St. John’s C.o.E school, Bethnal Green and St. Elizabeth Catholic Primary school (as well as many other religious schools). That is quite a shocker because normally churches distance themselves from worldly value statements in that religious and political values are seen as different matters, that do not necessarily complement each other.

I think those that trumped the unfairness of SATS results around are those left-wing teachers who think that way. Why on earth have those left-wing teachers managed to infiltrate 2 religious schools in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

In St. John’s C.o.E. we’ve seen a suspension of Homework, except reading, because teachers have enough to do already, at least so I understood a remark from a governor. In St. Elizabeth the new headteacher must support the non publication of SATS results.

Amazingly in the case of St. Elizabeth previous SATS results made the school famous and since then the school bloomed. We could see new extension built, playground equipment installed and the 2 former schools of St. John and St. Elizabeth Catholic schools amalgamated.

Also amazingly I found that a nearby non-religious comprehensive junior school, Bonner School, published the (joint) best SATS results in the  borough. This school has relatively little special needs pupils whilst St. Elizabeth publishes that over 1/3 of pupils have special needs.

For a parent that wishes to achieve the best possible grades for my child, I am puzzled as to choice. Wouldn’t most parents go for the best results school instinctively?

Being schooled in Germany I never knew schools refusing participation in the test for ability method. There all churches equally supported the Grammar school system, that excelled with regular test results. I therefore think that the anti-test-result phenomenon is particularly characteristic for the UK.  I just feel sad that some church schools fall for the left-wing propaganda that makes education a type of class-war method in that left-wing teachers try to tell us that poor people cannot achieve as much as rich ones. It is of course not true that only rich children can be good at school, see the brilliant example of Bonner School.

I think all parents have the right to know SATS results and schools should be obliged to publish those results because those tests are mere expressions of facts and not value statements for poverty or wealth.  It is kind of sad if church schools use religion as a ground to achieve badly in learning.  In that they only accept religious pupils but those religious pupils apparently are not good learners, at least that is what the policy seems to be about to me.

In the UK of course there are many church schools who  usually perform well in the school league tables. But why now accept the left-wing argument that performing well in education is no longer in fashion? Do church schools now want to advocate the philosophy that it doesn’t matter how well a school does as long as they pray well enough? Through history it was always the church that drove forward academic excellence and it shows a sad case scenario that many Tower Hamlets church schools of Catholic and Anglican denominations want to advocate Labour and left-wing politics rather than educate pupils with religious culture as admission criteria.

That teachers refuse to give pupils homework because they feel overworked and underpaid is a novel situation at St. John’s C.o.E. school, that hopefully is not being copied throughout the UK or all our pupils are going to miss out.  Children should never have to suffer from left-wing ideologies.

Previous Older Entries

Blog Stats

  • 52,819 hits