Maharishi Free School loses bid to open in Richmond

A Maharishi school trust has failed in its bid to open a new free school in Hampton.

The Maharishi Free School Richmond team lost out to St Mary’s Church, in Church Street, Hampton, which submitted a competing application to the Department for Education (DfE) for a primary school on the same site, in Oldfield Road. The Thomson House School, which applied to open in Barnes, Mortlake or East Sheen, was also among the 102 new free schools across the country that the DfE approved today.

Its proposal was for a primary school providing places for 336 children.

The Maharishi Free School Richmond team’s failed bid raises questions over Richmond Council’s long-term plan to overcome a lack of secondary school places in the borough.

The school, which would have taught pupils aged four to 18, was due to open in September next year. It proposed teaching children transcendental meditation, a technique based on the teachings of guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, as part of its curriculum.

Richard Scott, of the Maharishi Free School Richmond team, said: “On behalf of the Maharishi School team I would like to thank all the parents in Richmond who have been so supportive of our application. In fact I have always felt that these parents have been a critical part of our team.

“Today the DfE has published the list of approved free schools and I am sorry to say that Maharishi School was not on it. They have raised some points that they have asked us to work through with them before re-applying next year.

“This is certainly disappointing after all the hard work, but there is nothing that we cannot address while keeping the special quality of the Maharishi School; it does mean that we will not be in a position to open a Maharishi School in Richmond in 2013.”

Mr Scott said he had no doubt the school’s educational methods worked.

He said parents of children at a Maharishi free school in Lancashire had all said in a survey that they were happy with it. He added: “Our biggest concern is for the parents who will be disappointed by this decision and the children who would have been our pupils. I sincerely hope that they find a school for them that helps them to develop their full potential.”

Comments (27)

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6:47pm Fri 13 Jul 12

ChrisSquire says...

The much more important and popular inclusive New School for Twickenham bid was also unsuccessful this time but will reapply next year.

With the non-funding of the N Kingston school, two of the assumptions underpinning the council's confident forecast that a new secondary school for Twickenham is not needed have been demolished.

Will the council have the grace to admit that it has got it wrong, I wonder?
The much more important and popular inclusive New School for Twickenham bid was also unsuccessful this time but will reapply next year. With the non-funding of the N Kingston school, two of the assumptions underpinning the council's confident forecast that a new secondary school for Twickenham is not needed have been demolished. Will the council have the grace to admit that it has got it wrong, I wonder? ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

6:52pm Fri 13 Jul 12

TwickersResident says...

I think that the last info provided by the council was that secondary free school places would not be needed until 2014 - so still time for NFS4T
I think that the last info provided by the council was that secondary free school places would not be needed until 2014 - so still time for NFS4T TwickersResident
  • Score: 0

12:06am Sat 14 Jul 12

akhanw says...

The Counsils consultation document clearly specified that 100 Free school secondary places will be needed in 2013. So where are they going to come from now?
A lot of spin and misleading statements were made by the Councillors and officers at the cabinet meeting on Clifden road.
Do they have the courage to apologise to the local community and reverse the decision on Clifden Road ?
The Counsils consultation document clearly specified that 100 Free school secondary places will be needed in 2013. So where are they going to come from now? A lot of spin and misleading statements were made by the Councillors and officers at the cabinet meeting on Clifden road. Do they have the courage to apologise to the local community and reverse the decision on Clifden Road ? akhanw
  • Score: 0

8:13am Sat 14 Jul 12

Derek Winterburn says...

Friday 13 July was a sad day for Richard Scott and the Maharishi Free School Trust team. They spent thousands of pounds on adverts in glossy magazines and the R&T Times promoting their bid – adverts that eventually were withdrawn after complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority. Perhaps they should be allowed their swan song on this webpage?

But may I put it on the record that it was a happy day for the teams at St Mary’s Church Hampton, (and no doubt for the Thomson House team)? We are people who operated on a shoe-string budget, but did not need to travel the country to be in Hampton – we live and work here. We were here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, meeting parents and residents in our everyday lives. We did not undermine parents’ confidence in the local primary or secondary schools but have a track record for working in partnership with them and will continue to do so. We proposed moderate changes to the buildings at the Oldfield Centre, where we currently run the MTV youth club – not a grandiose rebuild. But at the end of Friday 13 July it was clear that it was our proposal that to deliver a good quality of education in Hampton that gained the confidence of the team in the Department for Education.

I am under no illusion that there is still much work to do – but let us celebrate for now the good news that local people have been given a chance to solve the current local problem of a shortage of primary school places, and enrich the mix of the local provision with a Church of England School with open admissions.
Friday 13 July was a sad day for Richard Scott and the Maharishi Free School Trust team. They spent thousands of pounds on adverts in glossy magazines and the R&T Times promoting their bid – adverts that eventually were withdrawn after complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority. Perhaps they should be allowed their swan song on this webpage? But may I put it on the record that it was a happy day for the teams at St Mary’s Church Hampton, (and no doubt for the Thomson House team)? We are people who operated on a shoe-string budget, but did not need to travel the country to be in Hampton – we live and work here. We were here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, meeting parents and residents in our everyday lives. We did not undermine parents’ confidence in the local primary or secondary schools but have a track record for working in partnership with them and will continue to do so. We proposed moderate changes to the buildings at the Oldfield Centre, where we currently run the MTV youth club – not a grandiose rebuild. But at the end of Friday 13 July it was clear that it was our proposal that to deliver a good quality of education in Hampton that gained the confidence of the team in the Department for Education. I am under no illusion that there is still much work to do – but let us celebrate for now the good news that local people have been given a chance to solve the current local problem of a shortage of primary school places, and enrich the mix of the local provision with a Church of England School with open admissions. Derek Winterburn
  • Score: -1

10:06am Sat 14 Jul 12

TwickersResident says...

I think it's a bit sad if you feel the need to gloat Derek.

I was not exactly a supporter of the Maharishi bid, but given that Free School applications did not actually need to have found a site at the time of application, there may well have been room for both bids.

It is how we react in times of success and failure that is one of the ways we demonstrate our humanity.
I think it's a bit sad if you feel the need to gloat Derek. I was not exactly a supporter of the Maharishi bid, but given that Free School applications did not actually need to have found a site at the time of application, there may well have been room for both bids. It is how we react in times of success and failure that is one of the ways we demonstrate our humanity. TwickersResident
  • Score: 1

12:53pm Sat 14 Jul 12

Copthall resident says...

TwickersResident Next year admissions will be based on distance not links. The Council are saying for Orleans Park that will be 1.8kms which will exclude large areas of South North and West Twickenham, based on 2011 admissions that would have been 60 pupils. Teddingtons catchment will also shrink affecting many more. There will be just 46 spare places on the Middlesex side, and the council is predicting they will reduce by 10 places per year to 2015. That was why all those parents signed up 1400 children for the new school and the first three year groups were 30% oversubscribed. It was needed next year, even more so by 2014 as all those increases in primary numbers come through. The Councils disingenuous forecasting to justify a Catholic School at Clifden Road
(and by the way the Catholic Education Officer was very clear that it will be years before Richmond Catholics are faced with no school places in the existing Catholic Schools) has cost Twickenham parents local school places and many parents of Year 5 pupils will face difficult decisions in the next 12 months as a result.
TwickersResident Next year admissions will be based on distance not links. The Council are saying for Orleans Park that will be 1.8kms which will exclude large areas of South North and West Twickenham, based on 2011 admissions that would have been 60 pupils. Teddingtons catchment will also shrink affecting many more. There will be just 46 spare places on the Middlesex side, and the council is predicting they will reduce by 10 places per year to 2015. That was why all those parents signed up 1400 children for the new school and the first three year groups were 30% oversubscribed. It was needed next year, even more so by 2014 as all those increases in primary numbers come through. The Councils disingenuous forecasting to justify a Catholic School at Clifden Road (and by the way the Catholic Education Officer was very clear that it will be years before Richmond Catholics are faced with no school places in the existing Catholic Schools) has cost Twickenham parents local school places and many parents of Year 5 pupils will face difficult decisions in the next 12 months as a result. Copthall resident
  • Score: 0

2:22pm Sat 14 Jul 12

TwickersResident says...

We all face difficult decisions every day do we not? I am not quite sure why you are directing your comments and wrath towards me?

As I see it, if the academy schools had the reputation of say, Orleans Park we would probably not be having the whole Catholic school debate. I for one would not worry about a 30-40 minute journey if at the end of it was a great school.

We should be concentrating our efforts and getting to grips with why the recenet Ofsted inspection was still pretty poor for TA.

The Catholic school thing is a red herring (unless you are against faith schools in principle, and I can understand why some people are).

Currently, my Y4 child will only really have TA to choose from - hence my feeling that many, on the Twickenham side are being disingenuous themselves to try and dress this up as purely a numbers game. They seem to just want to do anything to avoid having to join us at TA, RPA or HA. I am really pleased that NFS4T will wait until 2014 to (hopefully) open as it gives the Academies a better chance of success.

The Govt seems to agree with that.
We all face difficult decisions every day do we not? I am not quite sure why you are directing your comments and wrath towards me? As I see it, if the academy schools had the reputation of say, Orleans Park we would probably not be having the whole Catholic school debate. I for one would not worry about a 30-40 minute journey if at the end of it was a great school. We should be concentrating our efforts and getting to grips with why the recenet Ofsted inspection was still pretty poor for TA. The Catholic school thing is a red herring (unless you are against faith schools in principle, and I can understand why some people are). Currently, my Y4 child will only really have TA to choose from - hence my feeling that many, on the Twickenham side are being disingenuous themselves to try and dress this up as purely a numbers game. They seem to just want to do anything to avoid having to join us at TA, RPA or HA. I am really pleased that NFS4T will wait until 2014 to (hopefully) open as it gives the Academies a better chance of success. The Govt seems to agree with that. TwickersResident
  • Score: 0

3:28pm Sat 14 Jul 12

Copthall resident says...

Sorry if you felt that I was directing wrath at you, no wrath intended! It is just that people take the Council's forecasts at face value when it doesn't take much number crunching and investigation into the risks to see that the chances of people being left without local school places in the near future are high, irrespective of the quality issue. Plenty of those parents west south and north of the Heath Road railway bridge won't be able to move or go private. I agree we need to focus on why TA is only making "satisfactory" progress in it's efforts to improve (and more crucially why the leadership is only satisfactory) when Richmond Park Academy got a much more inspiring assessment of it's progress and leadership. I hope TA improves and becomes a valued option for your son, assuming you are in it's catchment. In fact I have friends in Whitton who enjoyed their school years there, we forget that whilst the school may have a high proportion of problematic pupils, it doesn't mean that every pupil has a poor experience. However if all the schools were of the quality of Orleans and Teddington then all those parents all over the borough who go private because they feel they have no other choice would send their children to them and, if the percentage of parents going private was just the average of the top ten most affluent boroughs in London, it would need two new five form entry secondaries to accommodate them! My wrath is focused on a schools strategy that has left so many parents in this borough feeling they have no choice of acceptable local schools, both at primary and secondary level, taking for granted that a fair proportion of them will quietly go away (move or go private), breaking up the communities that have formed over years, and that has now focused it's resources on the one part of the community that always had additional choices, at the expense of my local community.
Sorry if you felt that I was directing wrath at you, no wrath intended! It is just that people take the Council's forecasts at face value when it doesn't take much number crunching and investigation into the risks to see that the chances of people being left without local school places in the near future are high, irrespective of the quality issue. Plenty of those parents west south and north of the Heath Road railway bridge won't be able to move or go private. I agree we need to focus on why TA is only making "satisfactory" progress in it's efforts to improve (and more crucially why the leadership is only satisfactory) when Richmond Park Academy got a much more inspiring assessment of it's progress and leadership. I hope TA improves and becomes a valued option for your son, assuming you are in it's catchment. In fact I have friends in Whitton who enjoyed their school years there, we forget that whilst the school may have a high proportion of problematic pupils, it doesn't mean that every pupil has a poor experience. However if all the schools were of the quality of Orleans and Teddington then all those parents all over the borough who go private because they feel they have no other choice would send their children to them and, if the percentage of parents going private was just the average of the top ten most affluent boroughs in London, it would need two new five form entry secondaries to accommodate them! My wrath is focused on a schools strategy that has left so many parents in this borough feeling they have no choice of acceptable local schools, both at primary and secondary level, taking for granted that a fair proportion of them will quietly go away (move or go private), breaking up the communities that have formed over years, and that has now focused it's resources on the one part of the community that always had additional choices, at the expense of my local community. Copthall resident
  • Score: 0

3:57pm Sat 14 Jul 12

RichardScott says...

I would just like to address Derek Winterburn's comments above.

First I am sorry Derek feels the need to gloat - it is unbecoming of a Dean of the Church of England.
What he is all too aware of is that it was the very people who publicised those trivial complaints to the Advertising Authority who in fact lodged the complaints in the first place.
Perhaps he is not aware that ALL of the funding for the Maharishi School Richmond campaign was donated by two individuals: one was a school alumni who felt that his experience at the School in Lancashire was so positive that he wanted to make it available to other children, the other was a parent from the existing School who likewise felt that the School had been wonderful for her children.

Second I would like to remind Derek that over 600 parents representing nearly 900 children had chosen Maharishi School as their 'First Choice' school - and perhaps Derek could remind us how many signatures his bid received.

Finally, Derek suggests yet again that a state secondary school is not needed in Hampton. However, maybe Derek would like to confirm publicly what many of us discreetly kept quiet during the campaign - that he has sent his own two children to Hampton School.

On another more important matter I would like to state that in my experience Richmond Council do a very good job under very difficult circumstances.

I am ever so sorry that our bid has been unsuccessful and that I have disappointed so many parents who have been so supportive.

I really hope you find a very good school for your children.

warmest wishes

Richard Scott
Trustee, Maharishi School
I would just like to address Derek Winterburn's comments above. First I am sorry Derek feels the need to gloat - it is unbecoming of a Dean of the Church of England. What he is all too aware of is that it was the very people who publicised those trivial complaints to the Advertising Authority who in fact lodged the complaints in the first place. Perhaps he is not aware that ALL of the funding for the Maharishi School Richmond campaign was donated by two individuals: one was a school alumni who felt that his experience at the School in Lancashire was so positive that he wanted to make it available to other children, the other was a parent from the existing School who likewise felt that the School had been wonderful for her children. Second I would like to remind Derek that over 600 parents representing nearly 900 children had chosen Maharishi School as their 'First Choice' school - and perhaps Derek could remind us how many signatures his bid received. Finally, Derek suggests yet again that a state secondary school is not needed in Hampton. However, maybe Derek would like to confirm publicly what many of us discreetly kept quiet during the campaign - that he has sent his own two children to Hampton School. On another more important matter I would like to state that in my experience Richmond Council do a very good job under very difficult circumstances. I am ever so sorry that our bid has been unsuccessful and that I have disappointed so many parents who have been so supportive. I really hope you find a very good school for your children. warmest wishes Richard Scott Trustee, Maharishi School RichardScott
  • Score: 0

6:23pm Sat 14 Jul 12

Concerned_Resident says...

That's nice. The government is not giving councils money to build new schools and it appears not to be allowing other organisations to do so. So where does it expect the extra spaces needed are going to come from?

That said, the council doesn't seem to be having problems funding at least one establishment that seeks to indoctrinate the borough's youth.
That's nice. The government is not giving councils money to build new schools and it appears not to be allowing other organisations to do so. So where does it expect the extra spaces needed are going to come from? That said, the council doesn't seem to be having problems funding at least one establishment that seeks to indoctrinate the borough's youth. Concerned_Resident
  • Score: 0

6:45pm Sat 14 Jul 12

Derek Winterburn says...

1. Please, I am not gloating. I said it was a sad day for Richard and his colleagues, after all the expense and time that he and others went to. I am surprised that this website gave air to his statements about the failing of his bid without referring more substantially to the fact that two bid were successful. I was only responding to material that I assume he offered to the reporter. Nevertheless I said that he should be allowed a final say on the matter.
2. I commonly meet people who believe that the Maharishi School is going ahead (even today); they have gained this perception from the ad campaign and the press coverage. I do not believe therefore that either the complaints against the ads were trivial or indeed ineffective.
3. Richard and I well know that the simple numbers of registrations is not the whole story. Ours were considerably less than his because we are aiming for a much smaller size school. We have more than enough to open the school next September.
4. I made no reference to the need or not for a secondary school in Hampton.
5. At the end of the day two Free Schools will open in Richmond. That is good news.
6. Let me say once and for all that I take no position about the educational quality of the Maharishi school in Skelmersdale, nor the philosophical background to its curriculum. It was my contention that what was being offered did not ‘fit’ our community.
1. Please, I am not gloating. I said it was a sad day for Richard and his colleagues, after all the expense and time that he and others went to. I am surprised that this website gave air to his statements about the failing of his bid without referring more substantially to the fact that two bid were successful. I was only responding to material that I assume he offered to the reporter. Nevertheless I said that he should be allowed a final say on the matter. 2. I commonly meet people who believe that the Maharishi School is going ahead (even today); they have gained this perception from the ad campaign and the press coverage. I do not believe therefore that either the complaints against the ads were trivial or indeed ineffective. 3. Richard and I well know that the simple numbers of registrations is not the whole story. Ours were considerably less than his because we are aiming for a much smaller size school. We have more than enough to open the school next September. 4. I made no reference to the need or not for a secondary school in Hampton. 5. At the end of the day two Free Schools will open in Richmond. That is good news. 6. Let me say once and for all that I take no position about the educational quality of the Maharishi school in Skelmersdale, nor the philosophical background to its curriculum. It was my contention that what was being offered did not ‘fit’ our community. Derek Winterburn
  • Score: 0

10:52pm Sat 14 Jul 12

Riverman says...

Copthall resident rather lets the cat out of the bag by saying that in his view the parents feel that they have no choice of " acceptable" schools to the west, south and north of Heath Road!! Would he like to define "acceptable" for the benefit of those people who don't live to the east of Heath Road.
Copthall resident rather lets the cat out of the bag by saying that in his view the parents feel that they have no choice of " acceptable" schools to the west, south and north of Heath Road!! Would he like to define "acceptable" for the benefit of those people who don't live to the east of Heath Road. Riverman
  • Score: 0

10:45am Sun 15 Jul 12

Copthall resident says...

Riverman I used the word acceptable in the context of the experience of many parents across the borough who have found themselves with no choice of local primary or secondary school deemed by Ofsted as acceptable. It isn't for me to define that, regardless of my gender, that is why we have Ofsted!

My main point is regardless of quality there are not enough spare school places on the Middlesex side. As I say above were the Academies judged good or outstanding by Ofsted then the problem would be worse.
Riverman I used the word acceptable in the context of the experience of many parents across the borough who have found themselves with no choice of local primary or secondary school deemed by Ofsted as acceptable. It isn't for me to define that, regardless of my gender, that is why we have Ofsted! My main point is regardless of quality there are not enough spare school places on the Middlesex side. As I say above were the Academies judged good or outstanding by Ofsted then the problem would be worse. Copthall resident
  • Score: 0

10:30pm Sun 15 Jul 12

Riverman says...

Copthall resident - I think you will find that parents are only too happy to travel great distances in the Borough or to go to Tiffins if they feel that the schools are " acceptable". There are also 200 spare places in the Borough schools so its not a matter of shortage of places. So why aren't the parents getting themselves onto the governing bodies of those schools they deem to be unsatisfactory or does it take an OFSTED inspection to highlight the problem? If everyone pulled together all the secondary schools in the Borough could be excellent and reflect the high standard of our primary schools which are no.1 in the whole country.
Copthall resident - I think you will find that parents are only too happy to travel great distances in the Borough or to go to Tiffins if they feel that the schools are " acceptable". There are also 200 spare places in the Borough schools so its not a matter of shortage of places. So why aren't the parents getting themselves onto the governing bodies of those schools they deem to be unsatisfactory or does it take an OFSTED inspection to highlight the problem? If everyone pulled together all the secondary schools in the Borough could be excellent and reflect the high standard of our primary schools which are no.1 in the whole country. Riverman
  • Score: 0

12:48am Mon 16 Jul 12

Copthall resident says...

Riverman wrote:
Copthall resident - I think you will find that parents are only too happy to travel great distances in the Borough or to go to Tiffins if they feel that the schools are " acceptable". There are also 200 spare places in the Borough schools so its not a matter of shortage of places. So why aren't the parents getting themselves onto the governing bodies of those schools they deem to be unsatisfactory or does it take an OFSTED inspection to highlight the problem? If everyone pulled together all the secondary schools in the Borough could be excellent and reflect the high standard of our primary schools which are no.1 in the whole country.
208 spare places in the borough last year, 186 forecast this year, 122 in 2013 including 100 from a Free School that are not now going to materialise. With almost 2000 pupils in school thats a very small margin of error. It is generally accepted that to meet audit committe requirements you should have a margin of 6% not 0.01%. And the spare capacity is all on the Surrey side. I'd be interested to meet these parents who are "only too happy" to travel great distances to access an "acceptable" school, wasn't that stress the mainstay of the Catholic School argument?
[quote][p][bold]Riverman[/bold] wrote: Copthall resident - I think you will find that parents are only too happy to travel great distances in the Borough or to go to Tiffins if they feel that the schools are " acceptable". There are also 200 spare places in the Borough schools so its not a matter of shortage of places. So why aren't the parents getting themselves onto the governing bodies of those schools they deem to be unsatisfactory or does it take an OFSTED inspection to highlight the problem? If everyone pulled together all the secondary schools in the Borough could be excellent and reflect the high standard of our primary schools which are no.1 in the whole country.[/p][/quote]208 spare places in the borough last year, 186 forecast this year, 122 in 2013 including 100 from a Free School that are not now going to materialise. With almost 2000 pupils in school thats a very small margin of error. It is generally accepted that to meet audit committe requirements you should have a margin of 6% not 0.01%. And the spare capacity is all on the Surrey side. I'd be interested to meet these parents who are "only too happy" to travel great distances to access an "acceptable" school, wasn't that stress the mainstay of the Catholic School argument? Copthall resident
  • Score: 0

9:15am Mon 16 Jul 12

Riverman says...

Then chat to the parents of children at the two Tiffins and Waldegrave. I think you will find that they are overjoyed that their children are in those schools and wont mind the journeys involved. People in Sheen would fight to get their children into TA if it was of the same standard. It's all down to excellence.
Then chat to the parents of children at the two Tiffins and Waldegrave. I think you will find that they are overjoyed that their children are in those schools and wont mind the journeys involved. People in Sheen would fight to get their children into TA if it was of the same standard. It's all down to excellence. Riverman
  • Score: 0

10:36am Mon 16 Jul 12

LizzyJ says...

Riverman, nobody is denying that families will travel to good schools (or to flee bad ones). I think you're missing the point here.

Twick Academy is not, yet, a 'Good' school. We all hope it will be soon. Yet, despite that, it is already close to full. Its new building is nearly ready, and that in itself might be enough to fill it up. If they also get a move on pulling their socks up and get a 'Good' from Ofsted next year (and lets all hope they do, for everyone's sake) then they will become rapidly oversubscribed. Then there will be nowhere for children to go. Get it?

As regards parent helping them with pulling their socks up - that's already happening. However, they're starting from a pretty low base, have to 'buy in' the innovative/experimen
tal Kunskappskolan methodology, and turn around the performance of a significant number of teachers who have previously been rated as 'inadequate'.

And what about you Riverman? Are you in there helping too?
Riverman, nobody is denying that families will travel to good schools (or to flee bad ones). I think you're missing the point here. Twick Academy is not, yet, a 'Good' school. We all hope it will be soon. Yet, despite that, it is already close to full. Its new building is nearly ready, and that in itself might be enough to fill it up. If they also get a move on pulling their socks up and get a 'Good' from Ofsted next year (and lets all hope they do, for everyone's sake) then they will become rapidly oversubscribed. Then there will be nowhere for children to go. Get it? As regards parent helping them with pulling their socks up - that's already happening. However, they're starting from a pretty low base, have to 'buy in' the innovative/experimen tal Kunskappskolan methodology, and turn around the performance of a significant number of teachers who have previously been rated as 'inadequate'. And what about you Riverman? Are you in there helping too? LizzyJ
  • Score: 0

10:49am Mon 16 Jul 12

Copthall resident says...

I do indeed still discuss with parents in Sheen how in the end the journey to Waldegrave and Tiffin was a source of stress and they are left wondering if it was worth it. Not that Waldegrave is an option now since the B catchment ends at Manor Road and noone has to travel from further than Clifden Road in the main A catchment. We would all have been more overjoyed if the Council had taken the steps necessary to turn RPA round (and that needed money, leadership and educational resources not a few well meaning middle class parent governors) so we had an option of an acceptable local school, instead of letting it deteriorate further. Inexcusable when it is surrounded by some of Richmond's best primaries

However the fact remains that quality isn't the issue, it's school places. With two risks having materialised and just 22 spare places in the borough in 2013, there is no more slack in the system to ensure that parents have a school place if any of the other risks materialise, and actually they are risks that have more chance of materialising. We all really did think the Dof E would approve the Free School for Twickenham.
I do indeed still discuss with parents in Sheen how in the end the journey to Waldegrave and Tiffin was a source of stress and they are left wondering if it was worth it. Not that Waldegrave is an option now since the B catchment ends at Manor Road and noone has to travel from further than Clifden Road in the main A catchment. We would all have been more overjoyed if the Council had taken the steps necessary to turn RPA round (and that needed money, leadership and educational resources not a few well meaning middle class parent governors) so we had an option of an acceptable local school, instead of letting it deteriorate further. Inexcusable when it is surrounded by some of Richmond's best primaries However the fact remains that quality isn't the issue, it's school places. With two risks having materialised and just 22 spare places in the borough in 2013, there is no more slack in the system to ensure that parents have a school place if any of the other risks materialise, and actually they are risks that have more chance of materialising. We all really did think the Dof E would approve the Free School for Twickenham. Copthall resident
  • Score: 0

11:07pm Mon 16 Jul 12

akhanw says...

Congrats to Hampton church school . It's great to see an inclusive Coe school that addresses local community needs. Its sad to see Twickenham free school rejected and that the Catholics did not care about having 50 percent community spaces.
Richard frankly speaking I am surprised your bid did not get through despite all the money you had from rich donors and lobbying you were doing with friends in high places . I wish you better success next time if you focused on meeting our local community needs as opposed to your TM followers .
Congrats to Hampton church school . It's great to see an inclusive Coe school that addresses local community needs. Its sad to see Twickenham free school rejected and that the Catholics did not care about having 50 percent community spaces. Richard frankly speaking I am surprised your bid did not get through despite all the money you had from rich donors and lobbying you were doing with friends in high places . I wish you better success next time if you focused on meeting our local community needs as opposed to your TM followers . akhanw
  • Score: 0

11:57am Tue 17 Jul 12

akhanw says...

Riverman - The council should provide good school places and not expect parents to send kids to schools with under performing teaching. How many council members send their kids there and lead by example ?
Riverman - The council should provide good school places and not expect parents to send kids to schools with under performing teaching. How many council members send their kids there and lead by example ? akhanw
  • Score: 0

3:16pm Tue 17 Jul 12

Kjgheo says...

akhanw - I consider myself to be a Christian. Along with many parents I have spoken to, I do not want to send my kids to a religious school because I want them to decide for themselves when they have enough information, what religion, if any, they want to follow, and if the religious schools communicate how un-Christian they are, as you and Derek have done on here, that goes ten-fold. I hear enough tales from the bible quoted as absolute fact that have been indoctrinated into my primary school age nieces and nephews at religious schools. Your comment about the Catholic school illuminates just how biased and un-Christian you are. You can't even resist being spiteful about a different brand of your own religion.

Derek, you are conspicuous in your own absence - I would like to hear your confirmation of the very interesting fact that you send your children to Hampton School. Any comments?

akhanw , you accuse the Maharishi bid of not focusing on local community - are you serious? They got 900 children registered as first choice - against the CoE bid of how many? Less than 20% of that figure? Derek, a response please? And do not give the usual 'we are a smaller school so got less numbers', we all know that is rubbish because it doesn't matter how many places there are, we as parents will register in the hope that we will get our kids a place. The above figures alone speak for themselves.

As regards TM followers - I asked about this at the meeting (yes, I went to one as I was keen to hear a balanced view - not biased and ignorant opinion) and asked the question about TM and how many TM people in the Hampton community would be sending their kids. I was told that whilst there are many people who have learnt and do TM in the area, none of the children are appropriate age for the proposed school. So that is 900 kids plus 600-odd parents and none are ‘TM followers’. I asked about their other school in the north and how many pupils at that school were part of the TM community, and was told a tiny minority (I think it was 3 or 4 as most of them are past school age) and how many since it became a free school and was told 1 out of 80+ new children last year. And that they had up to 17 applications for each school place. Interesting. So much for your ‘meeting needs of your TM followers’ comment. Looks to me like the needs of the TM community in the north have been well and truly met already with a successful and popular school and now other people are and want to benefit too.

If I have learnt one thing from watching this whole free school issue unfold, it is that there is a shocking number of ignorant and lazy people that cannot be bothered to look and find out info for themselves, who would rather just sit at a computer and spout rubbish. Shameful. I do wholeheartedly agree with your subsequent comment that councils should provide good school places - and your question about how many council members send their kids there.

The fact still remains that there is a significant black hole and shortfall for secondary places in the Hampton area. This issue is NOT going to go away.

Mr. Scott, I read your post on here with interest and am impressed that a parent and ex-pupil were so confident and happy with their experience of your existing school that they felt willing to contribute to allow other parents and kids the choice of experiencing the same kind of education. I personally do not think that you need apologise for the fact that your bid was unsuccessful this time at all, in fact your conduct and that of the school you represent has been impressive and impeccable in the face of rude, underhand and nasty attempts to undermine your application, much of it backed by people who do not live in the Richmond area, and are part of the political anti - Free School lobby from what I can see of it. If you do decide to apply again I sincerely hope you are successful.
akhanw - I consider myself to be a Christian. Along with many parents I have spoken to, I do not want to send my kids to a religious school because I want them to decide for themselves when they have enough information, what religion, if any, they want to follow, and if the religious schools communicate how un-Christian they are, as you and Derek have done on here, that goes ten-fold. I hear enough tales from the bible quoted as absolute fact that have been indoctrinated into my primary school age nieces and nephews at religious schools. Your comment about the Catholic school illuminates just how biased and un-Christian you are. You can't even resist being spiteful about a different brand of your own religion. Derek, you are conspicuous in your own absence - I would like to hear your confirmation of the very interesting fact that you send your children to Hampton School. Any comments? akhanw , you accuse the Maharishi bid of not focusing on local community - are you serious? They got 900 children registered as first choice - against the CoE bid of how many? Less than 20% of that figure? Derek, a response please? And do not give the usual 'we are a smaller school so got less numbers', we all know that is rubbish because it doesn't matter how many places there are, we as parents will register in the hope that we will get our kids a place. The above figures alone speak for themselves. As regards TM followers - I asked about this at the meeting (yes, I went to one as I was keen to hear a balanced view - not biased and ignorant opinion) and asked the question about TM and how many TM people in the Hampton community would be sending their kids. I was told that whilst there are many people who have learnt and do TM in the area, none of the children are appropriate age for the proposed school. So that is 900 kids plus 600-odd parents and none are ‘TM followers’. I asked about their other school in the north and how many pupils at that school were part of the TM community, and was told a tiny minority (I think it was 3 or 4 as most of them are past school age) and how many since it became a free school and was told 1 out of 80+ new children last year. And that they had up to 17 applications for each school place. Interesting. So much for your ‘meeting needs of your TM followers’ comment. Looks to me like the needs of the TM community in the north have been well and truly met already with a successful and popular school and now other people are and want to benefit too. If I have learnt one thing from watching this whole free school issue unfold, it is that there is a shocking number of ignorant and lazy people that cannot be bothered to look and find out info for themselves, who would rather just sit at a computer and spout rubbish. Shameful. I do wholeheartedly agree with your subsequent comment that councils should provide good school places - and your question about how many council members send their kids there. The fact still remains that there is a significant black hole and shortfall for secondary places in the Hampton area. This issue is NOT going to go away. Mr. Scott, I read your post on here with interest and am impressed that a parent and ex-pupil were so confident and happy with their experience of your existing school that they felt willing to contribute to allow other parents and kids the choice of experiencing the same kind of education. I personally do not think that you need apologise for the fact that your bid was unsuccessful this time at all, in fact your conduct and that of the school you represent has been impressive and impeccable in the face of rude, underhand and nasty attempts to undermine your application, much of it backed by people who do not live in the Richmond area, and are part of the political anti - Free School lobby from what I can see of it. If you do decide to apply again I sincerely hope you are successful. Kjgheo
  • Score: 0

2:45am Wed 18 Jul 12

akhanw says...

Kjgheo you are entitled to your opinion but you should not assume you are the only one who attended public meetings . Do you imply that those who did not agree with maharishi jjust surf the and are ill informed ??

Anyway let's see next year what proposals are submitted and how much support they get. People will be better informed about repeat proposals

The free school results do make me wonder what is the magic sauce needed ? If Twickenham free school did not make it despite the overwhelming support, it will demoralise lot of potential free school parents and groups. Interesting article here
http://www.guardian.
co.uk/education/2012
/jul/16/free-school-
community-involvemen
t?newsfeed=true
Kjgheo you are entitled to your opinion but you should not assume you are the only one who attended public meetings . Do you imply that those who did not agree with maharishi jjust surf the and are ill informed ?? Anyway let's see next year what proposals are submitted and how much support they get. People will be better informed about repeat proposals The free school results do make me wonder what is the magic sauce needed ? If Twickenham free school did not make it despite the overwhelming support, it will demoralise lot of potential free school parents and groups. Interesting article here http://www.guardian. co.uk/education/2012 /jul/16/free-school- community-involvemen t?newsfeed=true akhanw
  • Score: 0

12:46pm Wed 18 Jul 12

Kjgheo says...

I am entitled to my opinion as is everyone else. What I, and no-one else is entitled to do is post inflammatory, incorrect and defamatory information regarding people and organisations on the internet either.

I was stating, very clearly, that a huge number of the posts I have seen contain inaccurate and poorly researched information. Attending meetings does not guarantee getting to the truth of the matter, but asking pertinent questions of those involved and checking their answers for accuracy does.

I saw the article you have linked to and completely agree, there are some very worthwhile instances and conditions that would lead parents and groups to be interested in setting up their own Free School - and the amount of misinformation and ridiculous hoops you appear to have to negotiate - not to mention the seemingly erratic nature of approval criteria seem to be enough to make all but the hardiest of applicants turn away.

Still not heard back from Derek W, I note.
I am entitled to my opinion as is everyone else. What I, and no-one else is entitled to do is post inflammatory, incorrect and defamatory information regarding people and organisations on the internet either. I was stating, very clearly, that a huge number of the posts I have seen contain inaccurate and poorly researched information. Attending meetings does not guarantee getting to the truth of the matter, but asking pertinent questions of those involved and checking their answers for accuracy does. I saw the article you have linked to and completely agree, there are some very worthwhile instances and conditions that would lead parents and groups to be interested in setting up their own Free School - and the amount of misinformation and ridiculous hoops you appear to have to negotiate - not to mention the seemingly erratic nature of approval criteria seem to be enough to make all but the hardiest of applicants turn away. Still not heard back from Derek W, I note. Kjgheo
  • Score: 0

3:47pm Wed 18 Jul 12

Gareth_Roberts says...

Kjgheo - if you have a concern regarding the lack of secondary places in the future then you need to target your comments at the current administration who, in effect, have put their places forecast on red only to find the ball landing on black.

Sixth Forms will shrink the Year 7 intake in all of our secondaries and the majority of our Year 7 children will be excluded from the only new school in the pipeline - had the 50:50 approach been adopted it could have had an ameliorating effect. Finally encouraging all secondaries to become academies means the council will hand over any bargaining chips they used to have over admissions policies.

As a side issue I can't understand what relevance there is in knowing where Derek Winterburn chooses to have his children educated. His business, if you ask me.
Kjgheo - if you have a concern regarding the lack of secondary places in the future then you need to target your comments at the current administration who, in effect, have put their places forecast on red only to find the ball landing on black. Sixth Forms will shrink the Year 7 intake in all of our secondaries and the majority of our Year 7 children will be excluded from the only new school in the pipeline - had the 50:50 approach been adopted it could have had an ameliorating effect. Finally encouraging all secondaries to become academies means the council will hand over any bargaining chips they used to have over admissions policies. As a side issue I can't understand what relevance there is in knowing where Derek Winterburn chooses to have his children educated. His business, if you ask me. Gareth_Roberts
  • Score: 0

10:26pm Thu 19 Jul 12

gaurav says...

Ever since the Council announced their new secondary school plans last October, RISC has pointed out the huge gamble they are taking by basing it on a set of questionable assumptions. One of the assumptions was that there would be 100 new secondary places/year at Free Schools in 2013. Another was that a third of the places at Grey Court school in Ham would become available to borough pupils in 2015 because of a big new secondary openingin Kingston. Now we know that there will be zero secondary places at Free Schools in2013. And last week there was a major public meeting in Kingston to talk about the failure of the school there to receive any funding in the two years since it was formally agreed. Even if a new funding route is found,no-one knows whether or when it would be approved, how big it would be andwhether it would have any significant impact on Grey Court. At the same time the Census figures just released show that there were 12%more 5 to 9 year olds in the borough in 2011 compared to 2001,and 18% more 0to 4 year olds. In Hounslow, which accounts for around half the out-of-borough children at Richmond secondaries, there were 11% more 5 to 9years olds and an astonishing 38% more 0 to 4 year olds. On top of these increases, more borough parents are opting for state rather than private schools. The Council even ran out of primary places in St Margaret's last year for that reason. The Council is not planning any net increase in capacity at existingsecondaries. They are only now exploring the feasibility of a site for a newsecondary for 2016 or 2017 to cope with the big growth in pupils coming outof the primaries. The only new secondary capacity planned before then is the Voluntary Aided Catholic school at Clifden Road. But that will effectively be closed to children of non-Catholics. Unless there are major changes in plans for school places during the next 12 months, the Council's own figures suggest there will not be enough secondary school places in the borough by 2014. Non-Catholic parents, especially those in Twickenham, will be hit. The Council still has the chance to reverse their decision to give the Clifden Road site to the church for an exclusive Catholic secondary, and instead use it for a school open to all, including children of Catholics. Why don't they take it?
Ever since the Council announced their new secondary school plans last October, RISC has pointed out the huge gamble they are taking by basing it on a set of questionable assumptions. One of the assumptions was that there would be 100 new secondary places/year at Free Schools in 2013. Another was that a third of the places at Grey Court school in Ham would become available to borough pupils in 2015 because of a big new secondary openingin Kingston. Now we know that there will be zero secondary places at Free Schools in2013. And last week there was a major public meeting in Kingston to talk about the failure of the school there to receive any funding in the two years since it was formally agreed. Even if a new funding route is found,no-one knows whether or when it would be approved, how big it would be andwhether it would have any significant impact on Grey Court. At the same time the Census figures just released show that there were 12%more 5 to 9 year olds in the borough in 2011 compared to 2001,and 18% more 0to 4 year olds. In Hounslow, which accounts for around half the out-of-borough children at Richmond secondaries, there were 11% more 5 to 9years olds and an astonishing 38% more 0 to 4 year olds. On top of these increases, more borough parents are opting for state rather than private schools. The Council even ran out of primary places in St Margaret's last year for that reason. The Council is not planning any net increase in capacity at existingsecondaries. They are only now exploring the feasibility of a site for a newsecondary for 2016 or 2017 to cope with the big growth in pupils coming outof the primaries. The only new secondary capacity planned before then is the Voluntary Aided Catholic school at Clifden Road. But that will effectively be closed to children of non-Catholics. Unless there are major changes in plans for school places during the next 12 months, the Council's own figures suggest there will not be enough secondary school places in the borough by 2014. Non-Catholic parents, especially those in Twickenham, will be hit. The Council still has the chance to reverse their decision to give the Clifden Road site to the church for an exclusive Catholic secondary, and instead use it for a school open to all, including children of Catholics. Why don't they take it? gaurav
  • Score: 0

12:29am Fri 20 Jul 12

ChrisSquire says...

The 2012 admissions report (pp. 11-12) yields these total secondary offers by local authority of the pupil:

LA: 2011/12; 2012/13; Change.

Hounslow: 160; 181; + 21.
Kingston: 165; 171; + 06.
Wandsworth: 59; 62; + 03.
Others: 31; 19; - 12.

Totals: 415; 433; + 18
The 2012 admissions report (pp. 11-12) yields these total secondary offers by local authority of the pupil: LA: 2011/12; 2012/13; Change. Hounslow: 160; 181; + 21. Kingston: 165; 171; + 06. Wandsworth: 59; 62; + 03. Others: 31; 19; - 12. Totals: 415; 433; + 18 ChrisSquire
  • Score: 0

1:53pm Fri 20 Jul 12

akhanw says...

So this means out of borough students have increased and not reduced as claimed at the cabinet meeting
So this means out of borough students have increased and not reduced as claimed at the cabinet meeting akhanw
  • Score: 0

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