Smoke and mirrors, mirrors and smoke

H & F Parent's picture
There is another interview in the press* this morning with Toby Young.

Entitled "Can Toby Young's free school succeed?", the Guardian's interview contains the following nuggets:

"...the London Oratory (attended by two of Tony Blair's children), with which the school will have a formal partnership."


"If any pupils "passionately want to do a subject like DT", they can go for "a period or two" at the Oratory."

Four weeks ago, parents at the London Oratory, some of whom had written to the governors expressing concern at the proposed partnership with the West London Free School, were told this by the headmaster and chairman of the governors:

"The proposed partnership with the West London Free School has caused some concern in the feedback from parents. The initial idea behind the partnership was to assist a school that was starting up and which needed support. We have been advised that the partner should be an existing school rather than a new school and accordingly, we are now looking to identify another school with which to go into formal partnership."

So is there a formal partnership with the WLFS or not?

Furthermore, at the Oratory parents' meeting to discuss LOS becoming an Academy, the headmaster said the extent of the relationship with the WLFS would not include LOS pupils but would be at a level of staff support - currently music.

So where has this notion of WLFS pupils getting DT lessons at the Oratory come from? If it's a misquote, then I'm sure Toby Young will jump on here soon enough to explain.
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Ellen Power's picture
Tue, 05/04/2011 - 10:48

I recall vividly seeing the LOS letter to parents reprinted in the press. Very puzzling indeed...

Shane Rae's picture
Tue, 05/04/2011 - 12:11

I honestly had never heard of Toby Young before the whole Free Schools debacle started up. I had no idea he was (directly quoting the Guardian) "Anybody who has seen the film How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, based on Toby Young's autobiographical book of the same title, will know that Young is an imbecile, a prat and a pain in the hindquarters. On his own admission, he is a professional failure who has been sacked from every job he's had. He once wrote a regular Guardian column called "Toby Young on failure". "The moment I'm perceived to be even a tiny bit successful," he said in 2006, "my career will go down the pan."

Now I'm starting to get people' dismay at Toby being the Free School poster boy.

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 05/04/2011 - 13:03

When I first saw the initials WLFS I thought it was something to do with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature - a subsidiary, or something.

Ian Taylor's picture
Wed, 06/04/2011 - 09:19

I think it's great that Toby Young is the "Free School poster boy". Maybe the government will come under pressure to look at genuine ways of improving the education of all our children. Supporting what professionals are trying to do would be a good start, rather than creating doubt in the public mind so that you can bring in a system that the "sharp elbowed" can manipulate.

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