Belleville School Consultation Results are out!

Author: Forthbridge School Campaign

You can read the results paper that will be presented to the Education Overview Committee on Wed 12th Jan HERE.

It’s a complicated read-through, but in essence 55% of respondents have voted FOR the first GPA and also 51% of respondents have voted FOR the second GPA.

However the Council are now planning to ALTER the area of the second GPA from that which they proposed in their consultation!

The Council now intend to create an additional zone from south of Broomwood Rd down to just north of Thurleigh Rd and include this zone in the second priority area proposed. Here is the NEW map showing the “two-part” second priority area.

Distances will still be measured from the Belleville site!

I am quite gobsmacked by this change of plan and would make several points:

(i) During the consultation the serious issue of school access for residents south of Broomwood Rd came to light. The council were seemingly not as aware of this as they might have been. They are now clearly so concerned about their statutory obligation to provide school places to these people that they have folded this in to their planned changes, in effect prioritising that statutory concern above any concerns of Northside residents.
(The Alderbrook expansion has now been approved and the council feel they cannot influence the closer Honeywell school due to its foundation status)

(ii) Addresses in the streets in this new zone south of Broomwood Rd are, in general, closer to the Belleville School main site than many properties in Northside second priority area (especially those to the east of Elspeth Rd).
As within a Priroty Area admission is still based on distance, this geography means that much demand for places from the Broomwood/Thurleigh Rd zone will likely take priority over most addresses on the Northside, especially those close to the Forthbridge school site (this is of course being the absolute intention of the new zone)
(Thus the Priority Area around the Forthbridge site will become in effect a third priority area!)

(iii) More importantly these recommendations mean the Council are now going to implement a change in admissions policy that they did NOT actually consult on!

As well as the sheer unfairness of such an action, this undoubtedly this raises a clear, serious concern about due process!

The Council’s Education Committee on Wed 12th 7.30pm is held at Wandsworth Town Hall and there is a public gallery.

Please let us know if you are able to attend the meeting – the more people we can get to attend this meeting and show our shock at these “recommendations” the better.

The Shaftesbury Ward Councillor Jonathan Cook has promised to speak against these at the meeting.

You can find the list of councillors on the Education committee on the Council’s website if you wish to contact them.

PS More detail & appendices, item 8 on the agenda HERE.

UPDATE 11/01/2011: Conservatives councillor James Cousins says:

the council has got this wrong […] If you were deliberately trying to invent a scheme that was bad for Shaftesbury residents, it would be hard to come up with something better than the council has for this. It’s a fundamentally flawed scheme. […]

My real objection is that it’s just plain wrong. Do we really want to say to a parent living next to a school, listening to the noise from the playground, seeing the traffic dropping off and collecting children each day, that their child can’t attend because someone living a mile away had a better claim? I cannot see the justice in it. The counter-argument is that it’s just the same a living next door to a private school or a faith school. But it isn’t the same, this isn’t a private or a faith school: it’s a secular, non-selective state school, funded from our taxes.

Read more on his blog: Belleville: the worst admissions policy in the country?

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