The July H&F council cabinet meeting saw the final humiliating climb down in the Tories’ desperate and botched attempts to use Fulham secondary schools as a means to generate money.
As parents, teachers and pupils will remember, the disastrous series of events started with the shock proposal to sell off Hurlingham and Chelsea school, one of the most improved secondary schools in the country, in order to cash in the value of the land the school sits on. A grassroots campaign by local parents and schools resulted in the Tories having to reverse this decision.
Still in search of land for luxury housing developments, in an attempt to shore-up their electoral support that would make Shirley Porter proud, the Tories then turned their attention to Fulham Cross and Henry Compton schools. They proposed that the two single-sex schools should remain single sex but merge into a single site, so that one of the valuable sites should be sold off. This bonkers idea was quietly assigned to the Tories’ bulging dustbin of failed schemes at the cabinet meeting last week.
One of the real tragedies of this sorry saga is that the council has been too distracted by the games being played by their Tory political masters to focus on raising standards in our schools. Results have plummeted at Burlington Danes School, leaving what was once an impressively improving school, teetering on the brink of failure. Moreover, where is the grammar school the Tories promised in their election campaign?
Surely it's time for cabinet member Cllr Anthony Lillis to step aside in favour of a more sober and coherent approach to schools, that puts the education of our children before a land grab? But while local parents, struggling to get by in the credit crunch, worry about their children’s future, the Tory councillors have had huge pay raises (voted for by themselves) to cover most of their children’s private school fees.