Tonight is the meeting on the way forward for Fortismere School, to which my colleague Cllr Gail Engert is going on behalf of the Lib Dems (as I can’t go) and putting forward our proposals.
There is a great deal of angst and bad feeling grown up in response to the school’s seeming desire to move to foundation status. The concerns are around moves to selection; reduction in intake of statemented children; and changing the criteria to enter the sixth form to only those students attaining A or B grades. People are worried that it will cause disharmony in our community of schools. However, the Government’s policy is to allow such applications.
There are, as I said, very strong views against the proposals – and yet a seeming determination from Head and Governors to go forward. The consultation is coming to a close. I asked the school to at least hold an all-parent ballot – but they have refused at this point in time.
So, what is to be done? What the Liberal Democrats have proposed is a five-point plan:
1) The closing date for the consultation should be extended and the consultation should be widely publicised in order to gather the views of the whole local community.
2) The Head and the Director of Education should meet urgently to try to resolve the conflict between the school and the Council. I’ve offered to facilitate the meeting in the hope that a way forward can be found that avoids the school pushing for foundation status.
3) The school should hold a proper public meeting to allow all points of view to be presented to parents and local community.
4) The school should be transparent and undertake to publish all the results of its informal consultation.
5) The Head and Governors should make their intentions on selection clear – and guarantee Fortismere remains a school for the whole community.
Gail’s comment for the press on this issue was, “Our five point plan ensures that all groups are properly consulted on the future of this successful school and that the results of the consultation are fully transparent. This school is a fundamental part of the local community and decisions on its future direction should take their concerns fully into account.”
Whilst I said, “It is clear that there has been a breakdown in communications between the school and Haringey Council, which has resulted in Fortismere pushing for foundation status. I want Fortismere and Haringey to resolve their differences and start working together for the benefit of parents and the local community. I have offered to broker a meeting between the two sides so we can resolve this dispute. I am hopeful that this issue can be resolved if all sides focus on what is important – the future of the school and the children.”
How does this tie in with the Haringey decision reported today for the building of a new Council comprehensive?