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Latest Wapping secondary school news

Latest Wapping secondary school news

Many people have been asking What’s In Wapping if we have any news about a Wapping secondary school since our last update in February.

While it seems that establishment of a school in Wapping is not imminent there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes.

In November 2010 the Wapping and Shadwell Education Trust (WSET) submitted a well-received application to the Department for Education (DfE) for a 450-600 pupil secondary school.

But in February 2011 the DfE changed the application process, forcing all secondary school applicants to reapply with a full business case by 15 May 2011.

Undeterred, WSET have been producing the detailed plan and are reapplying as required.

MP Jim Fitzpatrick met WSET on 1st April and raised the proposal yesterday at his monthly meeting with Tower Hamlets Mayor, Lutfur Rahman and CEO of the borough Kevin Collins. Further discussions are taking place.

Register interest and feedback on Wapping High School

To improve the chances of a secondary school for Wapping, Shadwell and Limehouse WSET urge you to register your interest before 15 May 2011. Registering interest does not commit you to applying for a place at the school and if you do not have children of secondary school age you can still support the proposal.

Consultation is ongoing and WSET encourages feedback and questions via their website www.wappinghigh.org.

No funding will be released until a further additional period of pubic consultation takes place after 15th May.

The Wapping and Shadwell Education Trust

Below is an interim update from the Wapping and Shadwell Education Trust with details of possible sites for the new school.

Last November the Wapping and Shadwell Secondary Education Trust submitted an application to open a new secondary school to the Department for Education (DfE). We received feedback that the application was strong. Unfortunately, due to an overwhelming number of applications the DfE decided to change its application process (very frustrating).

The new process is much tougher than the previous one. Applicants must now prepare a full business case, to a high level of detail. For example we must describe how many hours per week children will study each subject.

Preparation of the business case involves a huge amount of work, especially for a volunteer group. However, we have a fantastic team supporting us including a former head teacher of two London academies. An education lawyer and a leading education consultancy are providing support pro-bono.

Evidence of Demand

The new application form asks us to demonstrate that local parents support the application. Looking around the country the parent groups that have successfully set up new schools (both under Labour and now) are those in which large numbers of parents and residents have supported the project. So far we have had a fantastic response. Nearly 400 families representing over 570 children have registered their interest.

But this may not be enough, we would like to have the names of 800 children to send out a clear message to both central and local government. We strongly urge any parent who wants the choice of sending their child to a small local co-educational secondary to  register their interest on our website before May 15th. (www.wappinghigh.org/registration-form)

Borough-wide the evidence of demand is clear. By 2013 Tower Hamlets will lack 90 secondary school places and the shortage increases every year from then on.

Possible sites

Three sites are being actively pursued, two north of the Highway and as mentioned before the vacant land at John Orwell. We hope to release details on our preferred site by the end of April. The delay in selecting a site is partly a result of feedback from the DfE.

Although we can demonstrate that all of our site options offer excellent value for money and are cheaper than the solutions proposed by the local council, central government has indicated that our proposal is more costly than others from around England. To a rational person this argument is ludicrous. It is meaningless to compare our plans with those from Cornwall or Northumberland where property is so much cheaper. Are our children to be disadvantaged simply due to where they live?

Please help make sure that local children aren’t overlooked by emailing Mayor Rahman or Michael Gove (secretary of state for education). You can do this very easily from our website [ www.wappinghigh.org/email-mayor and www.wappinghigh.org/email-gove ]

Public Consultation

Public consultation is ongoing. If our application is approved there will then be a dedicated period for public consultation before funding is released. If you have any questions or comments about these proposals please contact us via our website.

Wapping school report

It’s hardly surprising to hear from WSET that “central government has indicated that our proposal is more costly than others from around England”.

The local cost of living is a business expense that should be accounted for like any other when evaluating a project. Surely WSET’s statement that their plans are cheaper than the alternatives put forward by LBTH is more relevant to the proposal?

Register your interest in Wapping High School

To register your interest for a Wapping secondary school and provide feedback to the WSET visit www.wappinghigh.org.

 

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