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.

 

Honest decisions

I respect former Chancellor Sajid Javid’s decision to stand up to the government after all. One sees he is a grassroots politician because he can’t forfeit his advisors who helped him all along. He can’t discard them for a new team, appointed from above, just prior to the delivery of his first budget.

Character is also shown by the former Tower Hamlets, Conservative Councillor Andrew Wood, who stood down, a day after he had been refused – again – a potential parliamentary candidacy spot from his party. Being the only one of two opposition team councillors, together with councillor Peter Gold, Councillor Wood was tending to help against the closure of Raine’s Foundation school. Yet, the very rules his own government introduced made opposition to the Labour Council’s decision impossible.

Perhaps the more rules, the Tories’ introduce, which turn out to work against historic principles, – in this case a Church of England school having to close in an increasingly Islamic council – the more their own grassroots representatives feel unable to actually oppose Labour decision-making, especially if those decisions are strictly following government rules.

The results of the Big Society is markedly visibly also on our own housing estate, where the local community centre becomes less and less available to local residents for family occasions on Saturday afternoons but stays open for Extinction Rebellion to cook up disruptions to London’s daily life.

Community Centres need to be for the community but if the community has no ability to actually run the centre, the availability becomes solely available for those who have the money to pay and don’t need close supervision. Of course Extinction Rebellion, sponsored by Billionnaires has plenty of money to rent local community centres, whether they are on the Police dodgy list or not.

I think local residents should be consulted on whether they will support that their community centres are used by radical groups or not.

I have decided to be cautious and no longer promote the decisions of the local Residents Association, who are very partial to Extinction Rebellion. Though they are all home owners, it’s not the poor local tenants who help those causes.

I’ve run a local website to promote Neighbourhood Watch and community safety but perhaps the close association with Extinction Rebellion has promted my local Residents Association to ask me to ensure that I do not represent them on my website.

We all have to be able to do as we see fit and act in our own and the best interest of those around us.

Funnily enough, Tower Hamlets have just announced a demonstration around Bethnal Green Station for the 22. February, which will bring all traffic to a standstill. Our council will be pleased that they were able to prepare that activity in one of their local Community Centres here in Tower Hamlets.

 

election promises

A good point has been made in a TV discussion today in that any party can promise as much as they like but if there is no majority government, whoever wins will probably not be able to put any of the promises into reality.

Labour promised free university education once before and took that back. It is extremely unlikely that Labour will get a majority government to put those promises into action.

For us here in East London, we are seeing the stark reality of a borough being run by Labour, which is leading to the closure of a Church of England Secondary school and 6. Form because the Labour led council is seeking this as a problem solution.

Pupils in the school are severely affected by the stress the closure of the school causes and all we get in answer to questions is that the school is not profitable enough. Hence a large school with a capacity of 750 has to be closed in favour of a nearby smaller school, who is supposed to absorb the extra pupils, being spewed out by the closing school.

How much sense does this make to anybody?

The Church of England school, that owns the property to provide education by having not only one but two modern school buildings is being closed so that another smaller school can take over education in the area.

Council will no doubt threaten purchasing at least one building by way of compulsory purchase.

It would have been possible to do it the other way around, by integrating the smaller school with the larger school. But it seems that just because the larger school is affiliated to the Church of England, the Labour run council rather dismisses that school in favour of a non denomination school.

Demographics show that the Christian population in Tower Hamlets is shrinking. the 2011 Census shows there are only 30% of Christians left, compared to 38% Muslims, the rest are from smaller churches or have no religion.

2018 estimates now put the Bangladeshi population numbers above the white ones.

It is quite obviously discriminating against the Church of England, whose admission policies are not restricting access to the school to Church of England members. All church schools usually accept members of all churches as long as their church leaders attest to their church attendance, whether that is Mosque, church or chapel. There is also a percentage of places guaranteed for non denomination pupils who live locally.

The council applies a rule which is based on the per pupil income, yet there are a lot of schools in Tower Hamlets which do not supply their accounts yearly and they are not strictly scrutinized to that extent.

It seems an easy option for Tower Hamlets Council to close a Christian school, when Christians appear in the minority and are the least able to fight back and loose the least vote when it comes to elections.

The schooling can be done by a Christian organisation as long as it serves the national curriculum and results are good.

Yesterdays’ parents were scared for their children but the council will only offer help once problems have ocurred. There is little appetite to do preventative measures. My daughter says she has been threatened with being knived if she wants to join certain local schools and that threat is enough for us not to go there. We really do not want to find out whether such threats are really going to happen.

Obviously if one group of residents is being marginalised the preferred groups may want to bully those who are driven out.

 

 

Measuring air quality

Just trying to compare air quality in various areas of East London because a comment to my last blog pointed out the good air quality at the northern end of Tower Hamlets.

So I used some air quality measurement websites to get exact results.

Using the London Air Quality Network, a message popped up that the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has opted not to be a member, so detailed information cannot be displayed. this service is run by Defra.

When I go to another site, addresspollution.org, all I can find is the same information for all areas of Tower Hamlets, an amber warning sign, saying that air pollution exceeds legal limits. The same message appears whether it is for E1 with the highly polluting Commercial Road or E2 near Victoria Park.

There is no distinction and that propably serves the current council strategy to deploy services by cost rather than distinct air quality.

This makes it very difficult for recent immigrants or residents of Tower Hamlets to actually know which areas are healthier than others. Just because a recent comment on my previous post pointed out that planners knew in the 19th. Century that the area around Victoria Park had health benefits.

So it is easy for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to argue that parents didn’t choose Raine’s because of the healthy location, because they make it impossible for peole to find out that the location actually is healthier.

The Raine’s Nov 2019 consultation

green leafed trees under blue sky

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

After the issue of the statutory closure notice, the Council put on another public consultation. I went there tonight, despite having problems with my foot, and sat there for the duration.

All those council representatives gone on about was the past decisions, problems occuring in the past and that financially the school is not viable because nobody wants to go to the school.

Of course nobody can go to the school because they won’t let anybody enrol. Just the pupils who are now in year 11 have to go to the school because they started their GCSE courses there last year.

There is a residential trip forthcoming but some pupils would not want to go there because they would just be incredible sad all weekend because their beloved school is about to close and some pupils simply cannot cope with that.

I mentioned during the meeting, that my daughter actually started her secondary career off at Bishop Challoner school in Commercial Road; an area with an immense amount of traffic outside.

My daugher never had breathing problems before but when she started going to Bishop Challoner she started to get short of breath, kept on coughing and it became so bad that she was given a brown inhaler.

After two years she changed school to Raine’s Foundation, the school next to Victoria Park, and then, after about 1 1/2 years attending Raine’s her consultant told her that her breathing is absolutely fine and that she can throw away her inhaler.

So the council said that people did not send their kids to Raine’s because of the clean air in the past and then I said that in the past people weren’t aware of those climate emergency issues and surely if it is put to them now that a school like Raine’s in a healthier air environment is good for their children, they would surely prefer to send their kids there.

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