Wednesday, 17 October 2012

New Petition launched - Support our local authority schools

Defend Waltham Forest State Schools has launched a new petition. This is aimed at putting pressure on the Council and the Department of Education to recognise that the answer to any growing need for school places lies in expanding access to our local authority schools, not in risky and worrying experiments with Free Schools.

Sign our new petition here

And pass it on to help it grow!


  1. Having been through the list of names on your petition, I have found one person who is already educating their child at Forest School. If this petition is for anti-selective, anti-education for profit and pro local authority, why would this person sign it, as clearly by their own actions they support none of your aims?

    It would appear you have not been giving the signatories the correct information in order to gather support for your petition.
    What incorrect information would make this person sign your petition?
    Telling them the free school will be a evangelical christian school as opposed to secular, then this would not be correct. If you tell them it would exclude poor or ethnic families, this would not be correct. If you tell them it risks the jobs of local teachers, it would not be correct.
    The free school campaigners rely solely on facts - both existing and forward projections of school places required in Waltham Forest. They also rely on history - our recent and personal experiences of children without primary school places, and an LEA slow to react due to under funding.
    The LEA have no finance to open new schools and none will be forthcoming under a Tory government. The NUT's solution of 'waiting till the next election and see what Labour may do IF they get voted in' is no solution for our children.

    1. Dear Diana,

      The Christian ethos of existing Oasis schools features in their prospectus, in the person specification for teaching and non-teaching posts, and in policies such as those concerning children with Special Educational Needs. Oasis Community Learning describe the life, message and example of Christ as "shaping and guiding every aspect of each of our schools.”

      We would expect a secular school not to feature a specific religious affiliation in its ethos. We believe that the statement of a religious ethos presents a barrier to full inclusivity.

      Like you, many supporters of Defend Waltham Forest State Schools have recent, personal experience of difficulties with primary school places. The demand for reception places is due to peak in 2014/15. Total primary places are projected to peak in six years time. These children need school places. However, being familiar with the projections you will know that the demand for reception places begins to fall after 2014, and the number of total primary places falls in seven years time. We do not believe that introducing a permanent, secondary Free School -- one that will not participate in a coordinated response to local variation in pupil numbers -- is the appropriate response to these projections.

      Free Schools present potential risk to jobs of local teachers when they compete for pupil places. An example of this occurring is at the Oasis Academy Salford. (The Secretary of State for Education is required to make an impact assessment when he considers whether or not to approve the opening of Free Schools. Unfortunately he has decided not to make these reports available under the Freedom of Information Act.)

      We agree that complacency and poor planning on behalf of the local authority are not acceptable. Our petition is addressed to the local authority.

      The Local Authority is not able to build new schools, but it can develop existing schools, including their expansion across sites. Willowfield Humanities College in Walthamstow is receiving £20 million to move to a new site and expand. This is money from central government. Leytonstone School will receive £10 million for buildings. Buxton School in Leytonstone and George Mitchell School in Leyton have new funding under central government’s Priority School Building Programme (PSBP).