After the Consultation...
The fight goes on

Firstly we’d like to apologise for the interruption in service. This has been mostly due to technical issues and your correspondent being distracted rather than a lack of things happening.

In fact there has been plenty happening. The Consultant’s Report has been published and we’d like to thank Dawn Hill for passing us a copy for us publish it on the site. SSCIL has generally welcomed the recommendations it contains.

However, tucked away in the appendices is a document by the Church Schools company laying out their vision for the governance of the school. Unfortunately it is a long way away from the secular school we have campaigned for. It is also a country mile away from the ‘light touch’ we were led to believe during the consultation meetings.

At a recent meeting of the Executive Committee of Lambeth Council, the report was passed with amendments tabled by Councillor Botrall. These include that the council takes another look at whether a 'feeder school' system can somehow be 'legal' (at the moment, it isn't) and the proposed Governance of the school. We had hoped to meet Stephen Twigg to discuss the report and the council's reservations but it was not to be....

Keeping Up the Pressure
We were a lead story all day on friday the 19th of July on BBC London, TV and radio. The story was: on last day of school, hundreds of kids in London still don't have secondary school places and guess what? The problem is especially bad in Lambeth, where 60 children are without places." The reports featured a child from Sudbourne School in Brixton, and showed the SSCIL demo outside the town hall protesting Brixton's exclusion from the City Academy.

Radio interviewed Devon Allison, some of the children and a parent whose child only got into Dunraven on appeal for a medical issue (she broke her leg!). Most important, they got Stephen Twigg, the minister who cancelled a meeting with us on tuesday and made him answer a few embarassing questions!

Finally, we’d like to extend a fraternal tip of the hat to South Middlesborough City Academy Project who have a remarkably familiar problem – A City Academy foisted on unwilling parents to be sponsored by a religious grouping. However, in this case the religious sponsors are the Vardy Foundation which has been at the centre of rows about teaching ‘creationism’. And we think we’ve got problems………

What is SSCIL?
The Secondary School Campaign In Lambeth (SSCIL) is a group formed by local residents who recognise the desperate need for a new secondary school in the centre of the borough. At present 600 children leave year 6 from local primaries every year, yet there is no local secondary school. In fact, the borough of Lambeth has only 60% of the secondary school places it needs to accommodate Lambeth's children. To get into any school, 11 year olds are tested, interviewed and worried, until they finally get a place. Even then, over 100 children didn't find a secondary school place this year.

Inspired by parents who successfully campaigned for the Charter School in Southwark, we and the 1,000 local people who have signed our petition, have worked to create a co-educational, non-denominational, non-selective 11-18 school in the heart of our community.

After some 18 months of campaigning we now have the promise of a new Secondary School on the old Henry Thornton site by Clapham Common. Victory? No, this is not the Community School that we have campaigned for. Instead we have been offered a "City Academy".

A City Academy is one which is "sponsored" by the non-public sector to the tune of £2 million with the rest of the money coming from Central Government. The only sponsor we have been offered is the Church Schools Company, a Church of England charity. This has raised suspicions that this is not the non-denominational school we have campaigned for.

Recently, the Church Schools Company met with parents as part of the consultation period. While, the CSCo clearly means well, many are unconvinced that it can provide the kind of school suitable for a multicultural inner city area like Lambeth.

If, like us, you want the children of Lambeth to have a first class school that doesn't involve long distance travel contact us here.