Thursday, 22 November 2012

Local Councillors come out against Free Schools:

Following letters from Defend Waltham Forest State Schools supporters, two Councillors have already written back to indicate their support for our campaign. Wood Street ward councillors Angie Bean and Peter Barnett have sent us the following replies:

Councillor Angie Bean, Wood Street ward: “I do not support or encourage these Schools.  The Labour party will reverse this legislation when they come to power. Regards Angie.”

Councillor Peter Barnett, Wood Street ward, “I am happy to make clear my total opposition to free schools for all the reasons you lay out in both your emails.  I assure you I will do all I can to represent that view in council.”

It’s really good news that our concerns will be raised in the Council and a big thanks to our Councillors for coming out in support of the campaign.

If you haven't already done so, please write to your councillors today. You can find out how to do this and some model text you might wish to use here:

It’s also interesting to note that the prospect is raised here of Labour reversing the legislation that ties the hands of Councils in relation to their options for building new schools.

Labour’s position on Free Schools is not absolutely clear, as indicated here, but they do echo concerns we have raised here, such as:
  • “The schools are being funded by money taken from other schools
  • There is no account of how the schools will be joined up with other local schools and services. We don’t want a free-for-all undermining other schools”
At the least, it seems highly likely that if Labour were to win the next election, the strong-arm promotion of Free Schools will end and that Councils will have more freedom to explore other ways of catering to growing demand, which removes much of the – incorrect - ‘there’s no alternative’ rationale underpinning WSSI and Oasis’s proposals.

Those people who have been tempted by the WSSI/Oasis propaganda might reflect not only on the impact that a Free School could have on the borough’s local authority schools, but also on the fact that the national policy scene could change fast. Even, conceivably, before the Free School gets built.  

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