Saving Raines

rainespen

This armband and pen is given to pupils collcting their results.

After their Judgement of Solomon, Tower Hamlets Council made an amazing climb-down and withdrew their application to stop the admissions to zero for the school-year 2019/20, e.g. the year 7 intake. Also year 10s can now continue their education at Raine’s.

Parents were literally sent from pillar to post with letters sent that all pupils with year 7 places in 2019 need to change schools, which promply many did. Now, suddenly the council amended their policy and pupils can now attend year 7 of Raine’s. There are 150 places available, as permitted by the Office of the School Adjudicator.

That should infuriate the many who made plans, changed them, and are asked to change them again. Whilst the Council offered parents who changed schools a grant of £115 for a new school uniform, they should now also offer all parents who already bought uniforms for other schools and now need to switch back to Raine’s uniforms extra money to do so.

The Council pubished yesterday on 15. August 2019 at 10:36 a.m. Report on the outcome of the public consultation on the closure of Raine’s school and the expansion of Oaklands. A decision will be published on 25. September 2019, after which a further consultiation period will be made available till the end of this year.

Interestingly the withdrawal of the council’s application to stop further pupil admissions has not been mentioned in this report.

Parents were effectively scared to leave Raine’s and move pupils to Oaklands by Pupil Services at the Town Hall. This had been done illegally prior to any consultation taking place. This did a considerable amount of damage to Raine’s because year 6 pupils, wanting to transfer to Raine’s were told they could not do so, even when they had places allocated.

Of course it will considerably raise the costs of the school when the school doesn’t know within the normal period of time how many pupils, if any at all, they will have to educate during the following year.

revision-books

A pile of revision books given at the start of the holidays, what holidays?

However from the perspective of a Raine’s parent, the situation with the school looks very good. The Raine’s Foundation School website has had a major overhaul and we are now even able to use an App to keep abreast of developments.

We are adamant that Raine’s is an excellent school with brilliant teachers and provides a great basis for pupils to achieve best results. My daughter is already revising for next year’s GCSE’s.

See what Mickey Ambrose has to say about it.

 

 

Advertisements

More telling off for Tower Hamlets

Now the Ombudsman has upheld a claim against Tower Hamlets Council for obstructing investigations. See report from ELA here.

What is the point in Tower Hamlets having a Mayor when nothing good comes of it. First there was the scandal around Lutfur Rahman, allegations of election fraud, led to his downfall and then the government sent in observers to shadow the council administration.

But whilst the investigators left satisfied that things are in order the Ombudsman finds otherwise. And of course the legal action against the council in respect of the illegal activities trying to close down schools make me question how effective any Mayor in Tower Hamlets may be.

There are obviously huge muddles going on, which even the Mayor cannot resolve.

I have never negatively spoken about Tower Hamlets and especially not John Biggs, with whom I sat on the Police and Community Safety Board for years until John Biggs decided to close down a 300 year old school, which is attended by my daughter. We love Raine’s Foundation school #300moreyears.

 

 

 

 

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.

Sexist Tower Hamlets

Please can anybody who has the time to support a protest at the Tower Hamlets Council Town Hall next week on 17. July 2018 from 17:30 onwards. Many parents from the school will be attending an academic reward evening that the brilliant Raine’s Foundation hosts for hard-working pupils at Raine’s Foundation school on that day.  Please read the latest up-date on the protest in an East London Advertiser article.

So far the protests have brought the council to amend the consultation documents on 3. July due to the legal pressure that the Steering Group has brought.

Raines-summer-concert-2019

End of term summer concert, which the new headmaster Patrice Cavanan failed to attend.

Any plans to transfer pupils to Oaklands school are not very popular. Tonight’s school concert was not even attended by Patrice Cavanan, the Oaklands head teacher who is now in charge of Raine’s.

It does’t matter how many rainbow flags and rainbow pedestrian crossings Tower Hamlets has installed, when it comes to education, they give boys’ education preference by using a simple trick.

The agenda of the full council meeting on 17. July 2019 lists 3 petitions:

CCTV, Stepney Green school, Raine’s Foundation school.

By only counting the signatories on petitions for schools from residents actually living in Tower Hamlets, the council ignores almost half the Raine’s school signatories and gives the school less importance than Stepney Green because they received more Tower Hamlets based signatories simply because the parents who want to stay that school boys only reside in Tower Hamlets.

Local parents want to prevent Stepney Green school from becoming a mixed school and want it to stay boys only.

Of course this shows that there are a lot of parents in Tower Hamlets who prefer boys education alone and who do not want girls mixed up. A time-lapse into old-fashioned values perhaps? Malala has been shot for defending girl’s education.

Raine’s Foundation school, is Church of England affiliated and provides an excellent all-round education for children from all genders. The school runs an online petition. To date 2,859 have actually signed the petition but the council counts less than 2,000 signatures because they don’t live in Tower Hamlets.

Yet the catchment area for Raine’s isn’t exclusive to Tower Hamlets, pupils are coming from all the neighbouring boroughs but the council only counts signatories from Tower Hamlets itself.

That is highly discriminating. Hence the parents that want a school to stay a boys school get more time at the council to debate their issue than the parents who want their school for all to stay open.

 

 

Health first

action activity adult athletes

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The best part about being a human is being as healthy as possible. At least that is what we are striving for.

Here in Tower Hamlets, school children are thought to have 10% less lung capacity, compared to children in rural areas.

Tower Hamlets schools are normally encoached in busy traffic areas, with roads, right, left and centre.

For example Bishop Challoner School is unfortunately a good example of a school being in a totally traffic polluted area. The school is judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted because of exam results only. The school is siutated in Commercial Road.

For Ofsted good results are everything, they do not consider other health considerations when they judge a school, which I think is very sad indeed.

On the other hand, Raine’s Foundation school, is a secondary school situated near Victoria Park, an area classified as almost suburban, with leafy streets, access to Victoria Park for PE and much less traffic, as roads around the building are one lane only.

Raine’s Foundation school is classified as ‘in need of improvement’ by Ofsted and because of this, parents won’t apply to send their kids there.

Parents as well as Ofsted only care about exam results.

Tower Hamlets Council  now wants to close Raine’s Foundation school because of the poor exam results, poor in comparison to national results.

Why does nobody care about the children’s health? Isn’t it better to run a school in a healthy area because the kids will be better off throughout their life, if their lungs breathe healthy air?

I personally want to fight to keep the school open just to give children the chance to attend a healthy school. Because sacrificing health in exchange for good exam results will have long-lasting effects on the children’s health.

Access to green spaces, a nice playground, a nearby park will have a great effect not only on children’s mental health but also the physical health.

I want everybody to write to their MP to ask for support to change the classification criteria for schools in respect of a healthy environment.

Having lives before politics

I am astounded to read that

  • Michael Gove took Cocaine
  • Rory Stewart smoked Opium
  • Jeremy Hunt had a Cannabis Lassi
  • Boris Johnson snorted cocaine and smoked drugs as teenager

Although these events are kind of ancient, e.g. they have been described by

Mr Gove who told the Mail: “I think all politicians have lives before politics. Certainly when I was working as a journalist I didn’t imagine I would go into politics or public service.”

I think that is the source of the problem of our increased drug culture in Britain, that taking them is seen as having a life.

On the front line, living in Tower Hamlets, a borough that has a high drug dealing problem, we find that it’s the social users, the ones that have jobs and earn enough money to consume drugs, have a substantive responsibility towards the drug dealing problem. If they wouldn’t buy the drugs, the dealers would have less reason to sell.

I can only hope that people are starting to realise that it would be better for all of us not to take any class A, B, or C drugs whether in politics or not.

Tower Hamlets Council is currently  conducting a substance misuse strategy survey on how to best combat drug use and how to educate people about it. They suggest that care leavers and high risk groups like pupils who have been excluded from schools should be educated about the dangers. Yet, the council seems to forget that it is those established high earners and middle class university graduates that also need educating.

Drugs are very common these days and it is definitely not easy to say no.

Yet if a pupil in a school these days would be caught out in any way with drugs whatsoever, they would be expelled and had little chance to ever enter a high-profile political post.  It doesn’t help to play down the drug taking of major politicians and put it down to life before politics.

What should happen is that children who nowadays get themselves in trouble whilst in school should not be expelled but helped instead so that they have a future equally as those politicians who now admit their failures once they had a career.

It is more than cynical that Michael Gove feels fit to admit his drug taking when he used to be Minister for Education who fell through the net.

Perhaps also our alcohol drinking culture should be called into question as this also has severe health implications both on our minds and on our bodies.

But the moral of the story is though that nobody is perfect after all.

 

Peterborough for Labour

I must say I like it that Labour won Peterborough ahead of the Brexit Party. It is a clear indication that people voted against Brexit in an area that previously was predominantly pro-Brexit.

Now, that most of the lies and rumours about how glorious Brexit is, have been dispersed, people vote for remain.

I think Brexit was all along a red herring to keep people’s attention on a right-wing nationalist agenda for the purpose that the Conservative government could re-create Victorian values in Britain.

The Conservatives lost many councils in the recent council elections for the reason that people are fed up to the teeth with the cut-backs they have to suffer to do with care for the elderdy, children, schools, rubbish collections and so forth.

Councils are running out of money and its this Conservative goverment that is responsible for it.

Whilst the government keeps on saying people didn’t vote for the Conservatives because the Conservatives failed to deliver Brexit, the reality is that people didn’t vote for the Conservatives because of the severe cut-backs on local council spending and overall policies.

Policies, which saw the wider introduction of Benefit cut-backs for the disabled, the Universal Credit, that left people queueing for Food banks to be able to survive, Zero hours contracts and a reduction in overall wages value by 6%.

Obviously Nigel Farage was very deflated about the second place in Peterborough but I think it indicates the line of pro and against Brexit voters in favour of the against.

Yesterday’s D-Day 75. Anniversary, saw veterans in tears over Brexit planning because they fought for freedom in Europe and want to keep it that way.

This article is not meant to be a blank cheque of support for Labour, who have many faults but it just shows that on the political strategy people voted tactically for the party that could counter the Brexit party in that local by-election.

Added on 7/6/19, the newly elected MP Lisa Forbes was caught into questions over alleged anti-semitic behaviour.

 

 

Tower Hamlets Council refuses to give residents appointments for gas checks

The council just sends inspectors round to people’s addresses without appointment. That is in breach of established safety procedure.

Bogus callers are an all too common problem in Tower Hamlets. The Bogus Gas inspector has robbed many pensioners of their live savings. To help protect residents from bogus callers a best practise became established, which had the following routine.

Council sends appointment to resident advising them of a contractor coming to carry out some work. Resident could agree on a password for the contractor to use.

Contractor had to show the resident their ID card and allow resident to call the council to make sure they are genuine.

But now the council has refused to even make appointments and just sends contractors to people’s houses and if they are not in, they do not leave a calling card. In fact it is not possible at all any longer to even know when a contractor called.

The council now takes people straight to the Magistrates Court to obtain a court order to enter a premises on the excuse that they have been refused entry to carry out gas checks.

I just wonder why they now terrorise people in that manner.

Especially as this does not ensure that the gas check is actually carried out within the statutory 12 months of the previous one. To ensure that gas checks are carried out the landlord or council must send out appointments so that residents can arrange a more suitable time to carry out this gas check if the proposed appointment is unsuitable.

In fact I just had such a letter advising me that there is going to be a court hearing in July to obtain a court order to break into my flat to carry out a gas check, when I wrote to them asking for an appointment so that I can have my gas check but they just do not want to give me this appointment for a gas check.

I have been a resident here for over 35 years and each year I have had my gas check without problems, now the council does not want to give people appointments any more but just seeks orders to enter by force.

A burning issue

The Mayor will have to take legal action against the Fire Brigade because the LFB refuses to comply to a requirement, set by the Mayor Boris Johnson, to carry out a consultation with the aim of closing fire stations in various London boroughs. The thought behind this is to cut 7p of council tax and also statistics show that the LFB attended less fires recently. LFB argues that a freezing of council tax will pay for the stations to stay open.

Yet it is quite clear that the fires they attend are often in multi-storey buildings, especially in London. Fires nowadays often need more than one engine because of our density of buildings and the high-rise nature of them. There is nowadays better fire prevention in wiring and most appliances and fittings are safer, but once something does happen, it tends to be enormous rather than little.

It is in a way good that the whole problem will come before a judge because both sides are heavily biased. The Mayor is obsessed with cutting council tax and the Fire Brigade of course doesn’t want to close stations or loose fire fighters. A court will put a very objective viewing on the problem.

Councils turn into businesses

Since Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has challenged councils to make money and sell their services to adapt to the current climate, it seems only reasonable to expect that councils should also be allowed to publish their own papers as this would make service delivery more viable and would also construe a profit making line of business as advertisements can be sold in papers.

Yet Eric Pickles is particularly clear that he does not want councils to print their own papers and has practically outlawed this. There is an obvious contradiction in strategies.

Ii think in an area like Tower Hamlets, the council can make something of Eric’s proposals because council is here the biggest employer anyhow and many services are run central to the local authority or in partnership with it.

Normally every business must make their own publications as a ‘Cost of Sales’ strategy and advertise what they do surely, Mr Pickles can not allow one law for some and another for others? Or what is the exact legal basis for his speech in the House of Commons?

So far councils cannot keep all the revenue from sales of homes and rents, which is partly what Boris Johnson wants to have for the City of London. Where rent revenue and stamp duty make a large part of a council’s income it is essential that this revenue can be kept to churn out better services for those providing the funds in the first place.

I think Mr Pickles wants the best of both worlds, the council that works as local authority and provides funding for central government with the revenues the council’s create but also Eric Pickles wants councils to be entrepreneurs. But where is the proper definition of  the new business status that councils have gained?

It has to make sense and not be some kind of hybrid part business philosophy that sounds good and romantic but is legally unworkable and not viable.

Previous Older Entries

Blog Stats

  • 52,762 hits