Toby Young's West London Free School in Palingswick House has moved a step closer with our Council's launch of a 'consultation' with residents. Featured in one of the last remaining issues of propaganda paper 'H&F News' the Council makes it very clear that:
"The West London Free School has the backing of H&F Council who are actively helping in the search for a suitable site for the new school in the borough".
So the idea of 'consulting' with residents in the article entitled "views sought on 'free' school" seems to be a bit pointless. The real question is where the school is going to go. The original idea of the West London Free School was for it to be in Ealing, but the Labour council which took power there at the last election ruled that out. I'm also told by those in the know that they were turned down by Hounslow Council too.
Palingswick House, as you may recall, is currently inhabited by 23 voluntary sector organisations working in the borough, all of whom have been told they need to move out as part of the Council's plans to divest itself of buildings to become a slimmer more efficient local authority. But even Pravda in the same article felt it necesary to acknowledge the controversy over the idea of West London Free School (teaching unions are implacably opposed to the idea and only 16 schools have put themselves forward throughout the entire UK).
What will really add fuel to this fire is that West London Free School, when it throws the doors of Palingswick House open, will be recruiting many of its children from outside of H&F. So local organisations serving local people will make way for a school for non-local children.
But free schools seems to be the future of education in our borough and especially here in Shepherd's Bush - ARK Academies, which already runs Burlington Danes Academy in Du Cane Road, is working with the North Hammersmith Parent Group to set up the Ark Conway Primary Academy on the former Wormholt library site in White City while the proposed Rivendale Free School would be in Shepherd's Bush, but a suitable site has apparently yet to be found.
I've always seen why the idea of Free Schools is popular with parents - and my mocking the Council is simply about their way of presenting biased information as fact - there is clearly no intention to genuinely consult so why say there is? But whatever your view on the subject get used to hearing more about them - they're here in the Bush to stay.