We're getting good coverage in the local press too, with recent reports in the Walthamstow Guardian, which you can read here and also, more recently, here.
We need to keep on pushing now to make this petition as big as it can be before the end of term.
We have a real chance to stop the proposed Free Schools and to win support for an alternative solution to the demand for secondary school places that allows our community schools to expand.
How you can help us build the petition:We have been out petitioning and leafleting around the schools this week and we're out again next week. This is our known petitioning schedule over the next week:
Fri 5 July: 8:30am @Henry Maynard Juniors (Mel and Mickey)
Mon 8 July: 8:30am @ Barncroft (Mark - 07881 586667)
Mon 8 July: 8.45am @Winn’s (Jonathan)
Tues 9 July: 8.30am @Henry Maynard Juniors (Mel an Jonathan)
Fri 12 July: 3:30pm @ Thomas Gamuel (Mark - 07881 586667)
If you can join us and help us, please do!
If you can do your school and want some support, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to get someone to come and help you.
If there is anything you can do to help get our petition circulating on networks or email lists in the borough that you may be part of please do so. Every signature counts.
Follow our campaign:
Sign up for blog updates on our homepage.
Also, follow us on Twitter at @OurSchoolsE17
And we're on Facebook here:https://www.facebook.com/groups/577376562284827/
And here are just a few of your comments so far:
This is just a few of the comments left on our petition, giving a flavour of the kind of response we're getting and the concerns being raised by residents of Waltham Forest:
“We need resources putting into our excellent existing schools, not fringe groups trying to set up non-accountable schools that are not wanted by the majority.”
“I would like the goverment to focus on improving existing community schools rather than giving money to free schools - often faith-led - who will not be held accountable to the local community.”
“I think I can say that what most of us want is good quality state schools that have democratic oversight by local authorities. I think people locally should have the right to decide what sort of system they want, what works for them as a community in other words.”
“Free schools built in the wrong place without local consultation are a scandalous waste of money during times of austerity, taking much needed funding away from the majority of children in an area, to fund a privileged few. Free schools are blighting our communities and turning parents against each other! Proponents of Free Schools do not consult the local community and their impact statements are laughable. Problems are appearing all over the country, from Bideford to Stoke Poges, London to Suffolk and beyond. It is a disgrace and our kids deserve better from this government!”
“Please save us from Free Schools. There are some highly dubious groups involved in them in Waltham Forest, including an organisation that is proud of its Christian ethos on its website, but does not mention it at all in literature aimed at parents in LBWF.”
“I am against Free Schools, the main reason being that we have done decades of work to integrate our various faiths within one community and I am proud of our country's efforts to do this. If something as important as education is to be conducted seperately this sends us back decades at a time when extremists would love to promote exclusivity. This can only be bad for the community and more importantly bad for the children.”
“The lack of accountability for free schools is very worrying. They are undermining the state school sector and are also largely faith based which only encourages segregation and exclusion.”
“I feel that free schools, especially faith schools will deepen the divide in the community. Until recently Waltham Forest, a very diverse cultural community, appears to have little racial discord. I worry that with the recent upturn in religious motivated crimes, that segregating pupils will lead to an inherent lack of cohesion between faiths in my community. My children went to a good local community school, with strong community ethos and clear regulations, set out by the Local Education Authority, that had to be followed. I strongly disagree with this proposal and feel that free schools will undermine the great work done by community schools in this area.”
“We have local schools that are rated very highly by Ofsted and which form the central focus of our tight knit community. The way forward is to support these schools that are used by all members of our community, not to bring in these Free Schools.”
“The Local Authority is best placed to monitor demand and ensure schools have the capacity to cope. What happens to free schools once demand shrinks?”