Health first

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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.

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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.

Yet in Tower Hamlets

Whilst I am positive about the Labour win in Peterborough for tactial Brexit reasons, I must say that the Labour council here in my home borough of Tower Hamlets has caused a lot of concern to local parents, pupils, teachers and school staff for wanting to close down a Christian Secondary school to amalgamate it with a non Christian council run school, which mainly caters for Muslim pupils.

Please sign an online petition against the closure.

The way the council goes about this is illegal. Also the Council has published a petition against the closure on its website without telling anybody in writing that it was there. So nobody signed the petition on the Council’s website but thousands of people signed the petition on change.org as aboe.

The closure was announced to parents and pupils at a highly stressful time. Just prior to year 11 pupils sitting their GCSE exams they received a letter from the council’s Corporate Director for Children and Culture Debbie Jones stating that the school is to close.

This caused immense stressed to the pupils who didn’t know anything about this.

What is also worth mentioning that the letter was addressed to pupils directly and not to the parent or carer of the pupil.

The new term to start in September 2019 has pupils who have applied for year 7 places and the Cabinet member for Children, Schools and Young People, Labour Councillor Danny Hassell has written to me defending his decision to cancel all year 7 places because the school is undersubscribed and because the school was visited by Ofsted and found to be in need of improvement. Also our local Labour Councillor Sirajul Islam supports the closure of this Christian school in Tower Hamlets.

It is obvious that there are many other solutions rather than close the school. The council refused to finance another Church of England headmaster financially who was drafted in to help.

At the same time the council has decided to close the school and disperse and transfer current pupils to the nearby Oaklands school or other schools by 2020.

Yet, yesterday on Facebook, the Council’s post, which promoted healthy air in the borough stated that no decision about the closure of the school has been taken yet and the decision is put off because of a pending public consultation.

The Council’s website lists the process here

The consultation is now open till 24. July 2019.

I think that the council has acted unlawfully and already decided about the closure of the school prior to even running the public consultation, which is not open yet.

Parents were invited to a meeting 7. May 2019. which was very badly conducted. In fact the council officer running the meeting, kept on grinning and smirking at parents.

There is now a public demonstration planned outside the school on

14. June 2019 between 3 – 5 pm. Approach Road, London E2

It has to be said that Raine’s Foundation has a brand new state of the art building, which cost millions to erect and is only about 4 years old. The school is in a lovely location, near Victoria Park and has a great quality of location to it.

Unfortunately only 1 Conservative councillor and 1 Liberal Councillor are prepared to support the school staying open. It is very sad that the Labour Council sees it as an easy option to close a Church of England run school with Christian values.

It seems that only a Judicial Review will help this problem. Please get in touch if you can help. And please we do not want a radical atmosphere during the demonstration.

The school has found support by other publications.

Further reference from East London Lines.

East London Advertiser 

 

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