Wednesday, 8 December 2010

West London Free School : Askham Family Centre?

Toby Young's search for somewhere to house his West London Free School appears to have taken a new turn, with the Askham Family Centre on Askham Road in Shepherd's Bush now being fingered as the likely venue by Opposition Leader Cllr Stephen Cowan and a Labour attack blog called H&FConWatch. They allege that the centre will be handed over and no rent charged to the school. This marks a change from the widely held view, reported by the BBC, that the Paddenswick Centre in Hammersmith was about to be made available.

I have to say I don't know what their sources are for this story and the attack blog was running it a couple of days ago, but I didn't report it because attack blogs are just that - they attack. I get lots of rumours sent to me quite regularly but generally only report those I can stand up, or at least seem very strong. For the leader of the Labour Party in Hammersmith & Fulham now to be saying so publicly would indicate there is more to this than just rumour, so perhaps the Council themselves would like to confirm whether or not the family services based at this centre, thus far shielded from the cuts, are now to be asked to leave to make way for this School?

Siting the West London Free School here, and just down the road from the Phoenix High School, headed by Sir William Atkinson (left) who has won award after award for having turned Phoenix around from a failing school just years ago, would you have to think have quite a detrimental effect on them as parents from the catchment area fight desperately to get into the new shiny academy rather than Phoenix down the road. Imagine how you'd feel as a kid walking to the "lower" school past the shiny new one every day.

Local residents on Wormholt Road and elsewhere may also have some issues with the parking it's likely to generate - after all many of the children will be coming from all over London!

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