15 February 2011

Respond to WL free school consultation - support Bridge Academy - ask about EC Harris's funding

There are just seven days left to share your views with the West London Free School's consultants EC Harris about the proposal for the free school to move into the Cambridge School building when Cambridge moves (finally) into the Bryony Centre.

EC Harris's Louise Allanach wrote a letter to selected “key stakeholders” inviting comments by 22 February. We put the letter up here so anyone could comment.

As we said, we welcome this for Cambridge, which educates pupils with special educational needs. It would have been wholly wrong for H&F Tory council to ditch long-standing plans to give the Bryony to Cambridge and to have handed the centre to the free school instead.

But there's a fly in the ointment. It should be the Bridge Academy which now gets the Cambridge building, as originally planned, and not the free school interloper. The Bridge is a pupil referral unit for excluded and vulnerable young people and is in poor condition, with water pouring through the roof when it rains.

Something else that's worth considering: money. When we last wrote about this, one reader commented, "How much do the Free School's advisors, EC Harris, get paid for their support and what is the source of this funding?"

A very good question and all the more topical given a piece in today's Guardian about the lack of transparency around free schools (especially worth reading for Toby Young's knuckle-headed comments in the last paragraph).

Please show your support for the Bridge pupils and try and get some transparency about EU Harris's funding by responding to the consultation. Email louise.allanach@echarris.com (put “WLFS - Consultation Response” in the Subject box).

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