Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information
On the advice of the DfE I have been trying to get in Touch with the proposers of the Islington Free Primary School. Not having much luck so far. I emailed them orignally weeks back and got no response. I sent them following the DfE advice another more subatantive email a fortnight ago, no reply. So I thought I would do a follow up tonight and put a copy up here for you all to see.
From: David Barry
Subject: Fwd: Islington Free Primary School: Statutory Consultation
Date: 29 August 2013 23:28:14 BDT
Dear Sir or Madam,
It is now just a fortnight since I last emailed you. In case you need to be reminded the email I sent is appended below.
It might have been courteous of you to at least acknowledge my email. After all your repeated failure to respond to me in any way does not give confidence regarding your actual willingness to engage with the local community.
However fortunately the DfE have proved themselves rather more helpful. In an email to me the day before yesterday, they wrote:-
"The proposer group have decided to delay the start of their statutory consultation until later in the year, on the basis that the Department’s discussions with Islington Borough Council about a potential site for the free school are still on-going and the proposers would prefer to undertake their consultation once they have a site clearly identified.
The proposers are in the process of producing a new website for the free school and a re-direct facility will be added to their existing website by early next week, details of the consultation will appear on their new website in due course"
However this does not mean that my original email to you is out of date, as it contains a number of suggestions regarding how a consultation might be carried out which I believe you should find useful, and which are even more timely given the delay.
I continue to look forward to hearing from you,
Begin forwarded message:
From: "David A O.Barry"
Date: 15 August 2013 22:36:27 BDT
Subject: Islington Free Primary School: Statutory Consultation
Dear Sir or Madam,
Islington Free Primary School - Statutory Consultation
(My apologies for the impersonal mode of address, your website provides no further information as to whom I should send this email other than to the generic "firstname.lastname@example.org" )
Mr Russell Broomhead of the DfE suggested I write to you directly regarding the timetable for, and nature of, the Islington Free Primary School consultation
Timetable for Consultation
Mr Broomhead wrote - first on the 26 July then on the 9th August - about this, stating:-
"the Islington Free Primary School Trust would be undertaking their statutory consultation from 21st August to 2nd October 2013."
As there has been no other notification of this, there has clearly been some delay - with only three working days now remaining until the original opening date of the consultation, it is too late now for you to give proper, public, notice.
He then suggested:-
"it may be worth contacting the trust directly to find out what their plans are for carrying out their consultation"
(Which is what I am now doing........)
Consequently I would be grateful if you could let me know what the revised timetable is. Perhaps it is still to be decided? In which case a general indication of the likely time scale would be helpful.
Means of response to consultation
He also suggested I ask: " .... what platforms they will be offering to respond to their consultation. " In which connection I would wish to make some constructive criticisms of your existing mechanisms for communication.
1. Registering for further information on your web site, which has the drawback it appears that in so doing one is recorded as a positive supporter of your project, rather than merely some one who wishes to be kept informed.
2. A non geographic "0845'"number, which is significantly more expensive to ring than an ordinary number. In particular as it costs most for a pay as you go mobile - north of 40 pence a minute - this raises significant issues regarding social inclusion. Also as it provides a share of the revenue between you and the network operators over which calls are made, it raises the question as to whether it is entirely proper for you to make revenue from a consultation process; I believe you should re think use of this number which in any case goes straight to voice mail, and I have to say, in my experience, lacks follow through.
3. Email, which is how I am responding, but it would be better to have a named person to which responses could be addressed. I have to report, with regret, that a previous email to this address was not answered.
I believe it would also be good practice to provide a geographical, postal address.
Nature of consultation
Mr Broomhead observed:
"the legal duty to consult is on the free school trust to undertake this and to decide which people they think are appropriate to consult. The Department’s expects this will include all groups or people upon whom the trust believes the opening of their school may have an impact. Examples include nearby schools, the local authority, any surrounding local authorities, groups with an interest, the local population and faith groups."
I look forward to hearing from you, and to hearing details of your consultation, and in particular how you propose to fulfill the expectations of the DfE that you will consult with "nearby schools, the local authority, any surrounding local authorities, groups with an interest, the local population and faith groups" and further the mechanisms will be available for response (including arrangements for public meetings), and of course, the timetable for all of this.
I believe that the local community would wish to engage with you about this project and awaits the opportunity to do so,
Member of the Whitehall Park Residents Association, (Local resident), Islington School Governor.
As t whether another school is needed or not, there is much confusion (in my head at least).
The LGA claims that almost half of boroughs will be short of primary school places within two years, and two thirds shortly after. The LGA press release picks out a few particularly bad areas, but does not list Haringey or Islington. The press release does not point me to the source data.
It is sometimes a bit difficult to follow detailed reports, but what I think this Haringey report on school place planning is telling us is:
in section 1.1 there is a table which suggests that there will soon be a shortage of reception places although overall there are enough primary places
in section 2.2 there is an analysis by planning area, looking less far ahead, which picks out the same problem in Highgate and Stroud Green , with a couple of other areas on the cusp