16 December 2010

Who is behind the West London Free School?

We’ve been having a look at the group of thrusting individuals that make up the Steering Committee of the would-be West London Free School. These are the people that think it so important to have a state school which teaches Latin that they are prepared to let over 20 charities be expelled from Palingswick House and services for disadvantaged children and families be forcibly “relocated” from the Askham Family Centre to make way for their school.

Charlie Ben-Nathan is a former independent school teacher.

Caroline Bondy was educated partly in the independent sector. She is married to Toby Young, the public face of the free school.

Edward Hobart went to boarding school. 

Suzie Hobart is married to Edward Hobart. 

John McIntosh was headmaster of the Catholic London Oratory School and is now an adviser to Ampleforth College (Catholic boarding school) and a governor of St Philip's Preparatory School (Catholic private school) and More House School (girls-only private school).

Stefan Bojanowski went to the London Oratory School. He is grateful to have had the opportunity to study Latin”.

Caroline Ffiske is a former Hammersmith Tory councillor and current partner of Harry Phibbs, Hammersmith Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement.

Toby Young is the author of “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” and co-author of “Who's The Daddy?”, a play that pokes fun at Boris Johnson's affair with columnist Petronella Wyatt. He is the the son of Michael Young, who helped establish the Consumers' Association, the National Consumer Council and the Open University and became a Labour peer.

The other Steering Committee members are Jo Alexander, Mita Bhattacharyya, Mustafa Erdem, Simon Hugill, Cosmo Lush, Justin Tooth and Tim Waters.  

If anyone has any more interesting facts about these leading state educationalists, please do share them with us.


Anonymous said...

And who are you?

SayNoToBKFS said...

@anonymous - and who are YOU???

This website is providing just the sort of scrutiny that is absolutely needed.

Anyone who has looked into Free School proposers will not be surprised by this. Here in Bedford we have a campaign team led by the seemingly innocuous Mark Lehain. He will not release the names of the others in his campaign team (he hasn't even set up a steering group). I made a Freedom of Information request to the DfE to release the full details of Lehain's Stg2 proposal and was refused on grounds of 'commercial interest'.....it's scandalous. He's even barred people from making comments on his website & FB pages, so adamant is he to control what's said about his proposed school.

buddyhell said...

This is interesting,
"Caroline Ffiske is a former Hammersmith Tory councillor and current partner of Harry Phibbs, Hammersmith Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement". I'm not suggesting that there necessarily something untoward going on here but surely there is a conflict of interest?

Anonymous said...

Why are you so against having another state secondary school in Hammersmith & Fulham?

I mean, there are many things which people are understandably against, but an extra school isn't normally one of them.

Some might think your just being an ideological killjoy.

buddyhell said...

@ Anonymous. Is a free school actually a "state secondary school" as you appear to be suggesting? How do you qualify that statement? Some evidence for your assertion would be nice. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Just in the interests of openness and balance, and because you seem to think it is relevant to the debate, could you tell us your own educational background ? Greg Hands has suggested you were educated at the fantastically exclusive and expensive St. Paul's private school (like George Obsorne) ? If true how come you are entitled to pontificate on state education provision when similar qualifications in the Free School crowd apparently disqualify them ?

buddyhell said...

I hope that wasn't addressed to me because Mr Hands knows nothing about me.

HFConwatch said...

And HFConwatch was educated at a North London comprehensive. But it's good to know we're the talk of the Tories, no matter how ill-informed they are. Did Mr Hands also offer an opinion on why the free school advocates wouldn't take any questions from the public at their recent public meeting?

Anonymous said...


Are free schools state schools? Err, yes. Read the Academies Act.

Anonymous said...

toby young went to oxford with david cameron. so he's definitely going to get whatever he wants. regardless of what he will destroy in the process.

Anonymous said...

Did you realise that Mita Bhattacharyy works for the Tory Party's Shafsbury Partnership.

The Tory Party set up the shafsbury partnership to reform society.

And the Shaftsbury partnership is now setting up schools to be controlled by the Tory party - instead of your councils.

They tell us free schools are about giving parents control - when if fact it about the Tory party transferring control of schools from councils which are accountable to the Tory party controlling schools.

look on the Shaftesbury partnership website and you will see it was set up by the big society policy writers and is to be the new company running the country

Miss Bhattacharyy and the Shaftesbury Partnership are also pushing to set up another "free school" in London in Great Dover Street http://www.london-se1.co.uk/forum/read/1/140409