Whitehall Park School: Governance issues.
Whitehall Park School is a proposed Free School for the London Borough of Islington. The proposers are a for-profit company, Bellevue Ltd who run a number of fee paying schools, both in the UK and Switzerland. The main shareholders of Bellevue are a hedge fund based in Zurich. They have stated that their preferred site is the old Ashmount Primary School site. This site is vacant because Ashmount School has moved a short distance to a new building, on a new site. Bellevue have asked that the vacant site and building be obtained for them by the Minister; the Minister has power under the Academies act to appropriate it without paying any compensation to Islington Council.
Islington had previously decided, before this intervention, the site should be used for social housing, as the area is well supplied with school places with the capacity for more if required. They could expect to get a bit over three million pounds from a Housing Association for the site - money required for repairs to Islington Schools.
So if the Free School goes ahead on this basis there will be no three million for Islington schools for repairs, no extra social housing to relieve overcrowding, and the loss of other housing related Government grants some of which would be spent on education.
I originally blogged about this here
at the end of June last.
Since then there have been some developments, including the statutory consultation now over for several months and an unusual, extra consultation, closing date 12 noon 21st of this month, for which no publicity has been given.
I blogged about this here
In that post I explained that I am on the emailing list for the proposed school; they are at present sending an email to me daily. (They continue not to mention the consultation.) The email they sent me today, Tuesday 14 January may be of interest.
If you want to see the original in full colour, this is the link
Otherwise, here is the text of their email, for you all to read and comment on...
"Our school will be from the community, for the community, governed by the community
To strongly support excellence in teaching and learning, two of the fundamental elements of the success of Whitehall Park School will be the strength of its governance and its links with the community. This cannot happen without your help.
Following the successful recruitment of our outstanding Headmistress Designate, Laura Birkett, we are now focusing on recruiting a strong team of governors as well as a Chair of Governors to support Laura in delivering exceptional outcomes for all pupils.
In return, you will get that rarest of opportunities: the chance to shape a school from day one of its existence and ensure that every element is optimised to deliver outstanding teaching and learning.
Find out more and apply for a role on the governing body
Apply directly to Whitehall Park School by 11.59pm tomorrow..."