Tower Hamlets forecast

Prediction of an increase of 4% more children and 1,600 extra school places needed.

I think  that the Council shuts down a secondary school with a brand new building in a pleasant healthy air and green-leaf environment just because it has had some bad statistics in the past is beyond comprehension.

Why doesn’t this council show initiative and revive Raine’s Foundation school with innovative intervention instead of closing it down?

Perhaps it has to do with finance, that debts accrued over falling pupils numbers and the resulting per-pupil funding short-fall caused a deficit and the only way to absorb that deficit is to close it down and start afresh?

chest-hospital

Raine’s is next to the Chest Hospital, view from Victoria Park, 1 minute away from the school

We need to achieve continuation for Raine’s pupils and the current strategy is to move them to Oaklands. Oaklands also has a nice new building but less capacity than Raine’s has at the moment and the envronment is far less nice than the Raine’s neighbourhood. You will not find many trees around Oaklands school but you find many trees around Raine’s school.

I would rather see Raine’s extended and the building used for education as it is in a healthier environment. Health is important.

Tower Hamlets council is going to deliver a decision on the consultation tonight at the Cabinet meeting.

Whilst clean air strategies are being developed to make the air cleaner all around the borough, methods include extra charges for vehicles who enter the inner London zones, at the moment we still have too much difficult areas. It would be inventive of the council to move schools into clean air zones rather than leave schools where they are and wait for another few years until traffic measures bring carbon levels down.

Unfortunately there is a distinct lack of flexibility both in national and local government policies to adapt to health needs because institutions are too fixed on locations.

In Fairness the Mayor promotes traffic stopping measures around Oaklands school in Old Bethnal Green Road and there is an ongoing consultation at the Professional Development Centre from 9. November at 10am and 14. November at 5pm.

The Tower Hamlets dictatorship

If I understand correctly that every pupil has the right to choose a school to their liking, to apply for attendance to get an education.

Once in a school, then pupils still have the right to apply for another school for an in-term transfer to any school of their choice.

Yet in Tower Hamlets the council wants to dictate to parents what school to send their children to because the council decides to close a school down.

Without any consultation of parents the council made arrangements with Oaklands school to take over pupils from Raine’s Foundation school once they closed this brand new school.

That is not within the merits of our legal framework as it doesn’t allow pupils to make any choices and the council also did not ask parents whether they would agree to the scheme in the first place.

What makes the situation doubly difficult is that Ofsted has declared Oaklands to be an excellent school and Oaklands pupils also had some very good results last year. But, their pupils are not very polite.  I would have expected that brilliant students also have brilliant and polite personalities but that is not the case.

My daughter was sent to Oaklands in March of this year as one of the best Math students from Raine’s Foundation to take part in the AMSP Maths Feast. She was greeted with shouts of Raine’s are not going to do well. That really ruined the atmosphere.

oaklands head apology

Letter of apology from Oaklands school to Raine’s parents

Now parents went for visits to Oaklands to see whether they want to send their kids to the school and were openly insulted by pupils shouting F….k o..f Raine’s.

This promped the head teacher to make a written apology to Raine’s parents for the bad behaviour of pupils hoping that parents will still send their kids to the school as it is save.

Obviously the whole scheme is flawed from start to finish. An education authority should never dictate to parents what school to send their kids to.

I don’t think that good exam results alone are a good indicator that pupils will actually be welcome at a school when that school has a certain ethos that is determined by one particular class of pupils.

I have now written to Ofsted because I think that the process to shut Raine’s and transfer pupils without formal consulation is legally flawed.

Ofsted should never stop inspecting schools. Even the best schools should get an inspection at least every 5 years and there should be a better ability of parents to contact Ofsted directly if they feel they cannot make themselves heard at the school.

Unfortunately with those constant ministerial changes of our current Conservative government it is literally impossible to get heard. The cut-backs of civil cervants makes government departments under-staffed and any communications do not get read properly with excuses that they need to await a new minister to take up the post.

The school and council should have consulted with all parents prior to making any arrangements. The school did arrange a meeting with the head of Oaklands schol but parents weren’t told that an amalgamation was on the cards and so the meeting was very sparsely attended. Parents were clearly told in the spring that nothing would change to the education arrangements in the future. See notification-of-change-of-leadership-arrangements

We have now decided to not even consider a place at that unhospitable Oaklands school.

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