Where is my MP?

My local MP is Rushanara Ali. I have seen her giving interviews to the local newspaper but all my correspondence has stopped with her.

Is it that all local MP’s suddenly dropped all their cases?

The Housing Ombudsman expects people who have unresolved matters to discuss to have an 8 week cooling-off period, during which people are expected to mediate their cases with the help of councillors or members of Parliament.

So far I have not even had my old cases resolved and I have heard nothing from my MP.

Especially in a Labour run borough, with a Labour MP, you would expect that local services do actually communicate with their subjects.

I have tried to discuss the situation with my local Labour Councillor, who apparently also is in charge of Housing in the borough, but he has flat out refused to get involved.

I don’t think you can just let everything slide because of Corona Virus. It seems that the Labour position is to keep everything closed just to ensure nothing happens.

 

 

trees as weapons

trees can be a force for good or for bad

As a good force they capture carbon and keep it in the wood they produce. For that to happen a tree has to be 20 – 30 years old and not be allowed to rot be destroyed otherwise.

A bad side-effect of trees can be that they can destroy buildings either with their roots (subsidance) or branches if they are too near to buildings.

Remember Zac Goldsmith, former Tory Mayoral candidate, he wanted to tear down council estates and replace them with newer private buildings.

The government has now promised to plant thousands of new trees and people have to watch out that they do not use them to destroy existing council homes.

On our estate, Tower Hamlets Homes has planted two large tree species, Silver Birches, which reach a height of about 15 meters and get huge crowns, very near 2 council houses, in fact within 3 meters of the building. Tree saplings are allowed to sprout along the whole length of the building. Those trees should be planted 10 meters away from a building.

Not only will these trees take away all light from residents, they will also destroy the guttering and external decorations of the buildings and their roots will cause subsidence as our summers get dryer each year.

_99859938_mixmayanpic.png

Picture copied from a BBC article originator WildBlue Media, channel 4

We are not supposed to accept trees just because there is a hysteria about earth warming and a climate emergency. We do not want our homes to look like that do we? Down the line our culture can disappear under trees. Good for the planet though.

Council estate residents have to be alert to the fact that some councils may plant trees to near to council buildings to destroy them, so they have an excuse to tear them down. If you have residents associations who are tree huggers mainly you cannot rely on them to do something about it.

Our homes are the priority. We do need trees to support us, we need to plant them in appropriate locations.

 

The Lorelei effect

bee beehive bloom blossom

Photo by Anton Atanasov on Pexels.com

Heinrich Heine, a German author published his version of the Lorelei, as the beautiful blonde lady, who sat on the rock, above the river Rhine and lured men to their deaths.

I am very sceptical about blaming women only but today, the luring with charm applies to all genders.

There are just some people who are very convincing and irresistable to the point of distraction.

I would call the decision to allow the planting of lots of fruit trees all over the estate and the installation of a bee hive on a busy London council estate such a decision-making process.

I can predict that the combination of lots of sweet fruits, which will be rotting on the ground, will drive those bees wild and also invite wild wasps to our housing estate and cause a lot of problems.

Yet nobody seems to care or want to look ahead into the future and predict this is going to happen. Grown adults are blind to the reality of the situation.

Of course from a naturalists point of view, that is sheer heaven but if you look what happened to the countryside where the Mayan temples once stood, they are over-grown now with jungle, perhaps that is what will happen to our estate in the future, if those environmental extremists have their way.

People in cities often get romantic ideas of what nature is like and that we need to be more in tune with nature, yet we need to be sensible and have policies, which are suitable for our environment.

We are very densely built up, with a school and surrounded by busy roads, those bees have nowhere to go to let off steam. Talking to someone at Tower Hamlets Homes, they say, THH would never purchase a bee hive for the estate, yet, that is what they did.

Seems charming somebody in some department worked.

Thinking about Heathrow

Extinction Rebellion is a movement sponsored by Billionnaires and those having gotten rich from the old way of doing business.

Now, come to think of it, Britain being an Island nation, relying on transport and especially so, air travel, Extinction Rebellion pours a lot of energy and money into fighting the expansion of Heathrow Airport, just as Britain has left the EU.

Of course the Paris Climate agreement needs to be properly referenced in thecourt proceedings about a third runway, but the loss of the expansion case is only a temporary stoppage and will be addressed by the appeal that Heathrow Airport plans to do. It’s a matter of changing the wording and show proper reference to the agreement.

Whilst I strongly support the reduction of carbon emissions world-wide, which would include an improvement of air-travel for all countries. Extinction Rebellion spent and continuous to spend an awful lot of energy to concentrate on Britain, doing an extra sacrificial deed and asks us to cut off our almost only viable connection to the outside world.

Of course we do have ships, we do have the Euro tunnel to Paris and Belgium but why ask Britain to be the first to reduce commercial activity.

Of course if Britain cannot have air capacity, they would re-channel air traffic via France but the air travel as a whole will not be reduced.

It is a matter of changing methods of transport and trade world-wide, so that all nations have a fair amount of responsibility.

It seems doubly weird that Keir Starmer, prospective leader for the Labour Party, strongly supports Extinction Rebellion and so does Sadiq Khan. Is it any wonder that Extinction Rebellion now has put up camp in one of London’s most left-wing council’s namely Tower Hamlets and moved into our commutiy centre.

Apparently residents have not been consulted prior to this. Our local area is getting deprived of services and they get replaced by birds, bees flowers and fruit trees; and we hold a totally free, yearly fireworks extravaganca nearby. As if that will pay our council taxes.

I  suppose you can achieve sensible world-wide policies by supporting inventions that develop the new technology we need and not by stopping traffic. Extinction Rebellion put their eggs into the demonstrations basket. How crude.

Their radical actions are designed to actively disturb our economy by stopping traffic, interrupting public transport to weaken our economy but that does not help changing technology.

turning up noses at poor white children

I have to put the distinction of colour into this post as traditionally Christian children were white and that explains the term of working class and under-achieving white boys.

Perhaps the latest round of austerity helped to increase that problem with under-funding of schools and policies that drive poor people out of cities; that led to an emptying of working class families from Tower Hamlets.

Whilst at the same time there is an influx of immigrants from coloured back-grounds, which are mainly of the Muslim religion, the problems encountered through that, make a Church of England Secondary school in Tower Hamlets the victim of council cuts in education provision.

Whilst Raine’s accepts pupils from all backgrounds, religions and creeds, many pull up their nose on the C.o.E. school and prefer to achieve in the newer, less historic schools of the borough.

If we add into that equation, the deep hate against the monarchy, a weak Church of England school seems the perfect victim to cull that extra bit of establishment in the borough.

Fair enough, you don’t like the monarchy, but why let it out on vulnerable children?

Whilst councillors vehemently deny this and sway popular argument against the school, the governor minutes from Raine’s Foundation school show clearly that at one point, they had almost the whole swathe of pupils under child protection in the school.

Repeatedly the councillors try to deny that the proportion of pupils on child protection could not have been as high as stated, yet the minutes of the governors board dated 21. September 2017 clearly states that the cases of children with short-term child protection issues had gone up to 32% and that 210 children had CP issues. A fact firmly denied by Councillor Hassell.

Tower Hamlets council says the achievements of the school are not high enough, yet the school followed the legacy of their founder, Henry Raine’s, to educate the poor of the borough. Whilst a lot of schools just expel and put out of the way into special provision and often into the hands of criminal gangs, Raine’s actually educated those kids.

What Tower Hamlets wants to see is excellence in education – that is a good aim – and get rid of those nasty pockets of under-achievement. Moving families out of the borough is one way of achieving this; yet it is just a momentary whitewash.

But Christine McInnes’ attempt to appear to have ulturistic concerns for education in the borough is politically tainted.

It would be cheaper in monetary terms, for tax payers, to save the school. Already £17 Million have been poured into the new and refurbished buildings and it would be more than feasable to reduce the intake of other schools and channel pupils to Raine’s rather than close Raine’s and throw the pupils and staff into the wind.

Raine’s Sixth form is superior compared to Oaklands, yet Tower Hamlets sent Raine’s Sixth formers into Oaklands, who cannot continue their chosen curriculum. It is clearly discriminating what is happening here.

Clearly the school has educated many children well enough to send them to university. Yet councillors simply never mentioned the positive achievements of the school.

It appears they hate the monarchy so much that they want to show-case a Church of England school as sheer failure to have a good reason to dimish the hated part of the monarchy, that comes in the shape of the Church of England and victimise a school full of followers.

You may believe in God or not, you may like the monarchy or not, but why let it out on a bunch of children. The school has provided an immeasurable amount of support to the poor of the borough and prevented a lot of kids falling into the wrong hands and did a lot of good.

It would have been fair if Christine McInnes and Councillor Hassell at least would have found the charity to mention the many kids who went onto A-levels and university but they could not bring themselves to do so. Shame on them.

Obviously the school had building work going on for about two years. An extra building was added whilst the old part was re-furbished. In that time, the intake had to be reduced. Yet the council takes this intake reduction as a reason to declare that the school is no longer popular and parents do not want the school.

TH-school-map-criteria

Raine’s school is located at the most northern part you can see on this map. Away from the underground network, in a green and leafy area near Victoria Park

The north of the borough is a bit of waste-land with little service provision. Our local schools are just about the only services available here. The area is near Victoria Park.

The council now has increased admissions for Oaklands on 26. Feb 2020, the only other near school, by 60, before even the last appeal procedure against the closure of Raine’s has completed, deadline was 28. Feb 2020.

They just added one word proposed closure, whilst the closure process was started 2 years agao already. The council wants to force the poor white children out of their comfort zone and force them to mix with the newer immigrants in the setting they prefer rather than the other way around.

You can see the new borders of admission preference areas this council has created to parcel local pupils and bunch them into certain schools into areas, that have been drawn up for reasons unknown. Look at the area borders and you wonder what’s wrong with this council.

As you can see from the map, north-east is nothing but park, the area borders onto Hackney and Tower Hamlets council expects local Hackney schools to accept some over-spill from the closure of Raine’s because it can’t afford to keep the school open. Yet the council is well able to keep on running the annual fireworks display, free of charge, in Victoria Park, which is mainly visited by Hackney residents, usually a total of 75.000 spectators. Not even the Mayor of London puts on free fireworks on New Year’s eve any longer, they charge for those now, and ticket the event. Yet the Mayor of Tower Hamlets feels fit to put on free fireworks displays but shuts down schools to save money.

negativity rules the roost

I have again watched the webcast of the call-in meeting of 18. February 2020 to question the decision of the Mayor to close Raine’s Foundation school.

I find it very disturbing that those councillors pushing for closure have not had one good word to say about the school. There are pupils in the school who are high achievers and part of the talented pupil program. Pupils go onto university. The Raine’s Sixth form is rated good and performs better than Oaklands.

Yet, all the councillors purported was that the school is a failure.

Councillor Hassell stated that the pupil numbers showed a drop-off from 2011 – 2015. Yet he forgot to mention that during that time, half the school was closed due to building work going on. The Upper school had the new building added and pupils were moved to the Lower School. The Lower school was occupied by pupils up until 2016. Then the lower building was closed due to refurbishment.

A pupil had fallen to her death in October 2010 because she was sliding down the bannisters and improvements to the building were made to prevent such further tragedies. This tragic accident had a great impact on applications of pupils.

According to the HSE, 55% of all accidents in educational facilities are due to slips and trips. There were 2.000 reported cases in 2014 alone.

Again, the lamenting about falling standards over a long perioed of time, when this is all historical and firmly rooted in the fact that the school had an extraordinary amount of children on child protection.

Repeatedly the councillors try to deny that the proportion of pupils on child protection could not have been as high as stated, yet the minutes of the governors board dated 21. September 2017 clearly states that the cases of children with short-term child protection issues had gone up to 32% and that 210 children had CP issues. A fact firmly denied by Councillor Hassell.

Clearly that is a Christian school who has taken on the kids most in need of support and this very act is thrown back into their face and they are blamed for doing the Christian thing and educating those most in need of support.

And also the head teachers report at the time stated that attendance had gone up by 1.8% and was above the national average.

Again on 30. November 2018 it was minuted that the school had a high number of CP issues and vulnerable students.

Obviously all those comments Christine McInnes made about obvious bad behaviour during an inspection can be apportioned to the large number of special support students in the school, who had not been there long enough and were being worked with.

The school should be commended for tackling such issues and preventing further exclusions of pupils, as exclusions often lead to pupils being drawn into criminal gangs.

A complaint made to the Council about incorrect statements made by Christine McInnes about the ownership of the Lower School Building in Old Bethnal Green Road makes it clear that the promises the council made to pupils, that if they change to Oaklands, they will be able to benefit from the Raine’s Lower Building is proven as incorrect as the Council does not mainly own the site.

To date the proposal is to increase the intake of Oaklands school by 60 pupils per year but no building is set aside yet, to cope with the extra intake.

The whole strategy around the amalgamation and between Raine’s and Oaklands and the closure of Raine’s is put on assumptions.

 

TV interview about Raine’s closure

A freelance journalist and camera operative will be outside of Raine’s Foundation school in Approach Road today at 2pm today, 22. Feb. 2020 and all our residents who want to participate in this filming are more than welcome to join us. The interviews will be shown on national TV.

Please let us know how the closure of Raine’s school affected you and your family.

Whilst we see a few school amalgamations taking place in the borough, Raine’s parents were hit especially hard as our closure and planned amalgamation does not go anyway as planned. We did not expect this to happen as we just had a brand-new building with refurbishments of the Lower school, costing £17 Million, money that will not be spent in the best interest of Council tax payers in the borough.

Our parents work locally and expected to send their kids to the local school and we all paid our council taxes, which were invested into that new school building. Instead the council wants to spent more money on building a new school in Wapping instead and close our school here in Bethnal Green.

Please come outside of Raine’s school this afternoon and voice your concerns.

LBTH council budget 2020

Looking at the latest budget discussions published by Tower Hamlets Council, it seems to cause offense that the council wants to raise council tax by 3.99%, citing among other an ever tightening belt and less funds.

So, I look at the docs, which are published in that respect and I find it impossible to get a reference stating why the council put £17 Million into building and improving Raine’s Foundation buildings and how the tax payers of this borough actually benefit from that.

It seems easier to get a building improved for free and then close the school rather than continue education there. Is that a logal loophole that has been exploited?

I have asked my local MP Rushanara Ali and Councillor Danny Hassell for comment, which I shall share as soon as received.

Anyhow I am looking at a document called budget amendments pack and it contains some interesting facts and figures.

There are two main motions

  1. From the Conservative group
  2. From Lib Dems

Obviously the wasted £18 Million in total on Raine’s Foundation expenses and the additional cost of building a brand new school in Shadwell makes up a considerable amount of expenses. Yet, I can’t see any direct reference in the large amount of documents published.

Perhaps it would be easier to actually have a fully transparent easy to read list of documents.

So The Conservative group propose and end to a loss of reserves through inflation by investing the money.

I agree that purchasing solar wind farms would be a great idea but can’t see where they actually could be built in Tower Hamlets. There are however different proposals on environmentally friendly heating by using ground heat.

Purchasing cheap for rent flats for key workers in the borough is a great idea but that would mean that all those who change jobs and stop working for services in the borough would have to move out and that creates a whole new lot of problems.

I agree that a publicly owned charging system for electric vehicles is very good, yet the main point of problem is that the electricity itself needs to be green electricty.

Again the Conserverative group complains about how often the name of Mayor Biggs and John Biggs is mentioned in the now 1/4 publication of East End Life and ending this publication would mean a mere saving of £864 k per annum. A small sum compared to the £18 Million that has been gifted to the Church of England and the Raine’s Foundation.

Of course the ‘hail our leader’ philosophy is nothing new. In Iraq for example there were big billboards with Saddam Hussein everywhere.

But mentioning a person by name repeatedly does nothing to disperse with policies, which are damaging.

Anyhow social media has run away with election campaigns, false news and plastering us with news about some politicians endlessly for years now.

It is concerning that the East End Life budget is higher than the spending on CCTV in the borough, but that does not necessarily mean that we need to get rid of East End Life.

What is however concerning is that quite a lot of money is put into mother tongue language classes and that money should be used instead for ESOL classes to help the 27% of adults in the borough who do not speak English.

Anyhow, I highly recommend that people spend time and do the number crunching. Today’s media is full of glam gossip, we need more reality publications.

 

Council gifts Church of England £18 Million

raines school

the brand-new building of Raine’s Foundation school

As the Raine’s Foundation saga now nears it’s bitter-sweet end, it emerged last night that in fact the winner is the Church of England and one of it’s charities, the Raine’s Foundation Trust.

Apparently Tower Hamlets Council has invested £17 Million Pounds into the new building in Approach Road and into the Lower Building in Old Bethnal Green Road.

I gotten this information solely from watching last night’s call-in meeting, screened via a life-stream from the Tower Hamlets Council chamber. As a Steering Group Committee member I am on a confidentiality clause and I am not allowed to discuss what is said in Steering Group meetings.

Yet yesterday’s council meeting, mentioned in my previous post, says everything we need to know. Not only invested the council £17 Million into buildings, owned by the Church of England, they also put up £1Million to fund the education of pupils in an under-used school, which is to close.

Fancy that the school needs to close because they have no money to repay the funds lost through the failure of raising an incomee from the government because of the low pupil numbers.

Apparently the council was unable to strike a contract to say that they have a claim on the estate. No, it’s a gift to the Raine’s Foundation mainly, who can take the building and walk away with it.

So whose losing out? Perhaps the local parents and pupils who love their local school and who have been thrown out of it by the use of clever arguments, saying, the performance isn’t good enough, the pupil numbers aren’t high enough but the buildings stand and are ready to use.

That’s very clever of those who made a packet out of this one. Apparently school’s finance is not closely monitored in line with regulation each year.

Needless to say the Council meeting last night refused to allow the call-in and so the Mayor of Tower Hamlets won’t be looking at the closure order again.

Interestingly one of Christine McInness’s favourite arguments all along is that pupils usually do one grade better if they do something else. So, if you go to Raine’s you get one grade lower, if you get a job you get one grade lower too. She says all the teachers at Raine’s are not doing well and that meeting last night, totally trashed the governors of the school as incompetent.

But who is really incompetent here?

She also said that 95% of pupils in Tower Hamlets go to Excellent or above average schools. The government statistics show that in Tower Hamlets the truth is very different.

Out of 19 Secondary schools 11 – 16 years provision there are

  • well above average 4 schools
  • above average 5 schools
  • average 4 schools
  • below average 4 schools
  • worst and not improving 1 schools
  • well below average 1 school

Raine’s is on position 17 in this list. The number 17 however, seems the lucky number as the council invested £17 Million into the buildings of the school with nothing to show for it.

But whilst the new government now refuses entry visas to low-skilled workers, whose going to educate those who will be doing the fruit picking and toilet cleaning in future? Those will hardly be entering the UK in the back of lorries. If we are to supply labour ourselves, do they really need the highest grades in all schools for all pupils anyway? Has Britain entered a downward spiral?

Raine’s call-in discussion

I am watching the discussion on tape about tonight’s call-in meeting. Councillor Gould raised a very interesting point. That the school was already failing when the council decided to put £17.000.000 into the school and then deciding that it needs closing and the school went onto a downward spiral.

I, as parent representative on the Steering group was faced with an enormously negative atmosphere and argued with the governors that something positive about the school needs to be published.

Hence at least they now publish a newsletter on the website, which shows that pupils enjoy the school.

Hopefully councillors ask for the Mayor to look at the decision again.

 

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