Yet there is no doubt that until recently, the free school was about to overturn long-standing plans under Building Schools for the Future (BSF) for the Cambridge School for children with special educational needs to move into the better-suited Bryony Centre.
The free school wanted the Bryony instead, even once HFConwatch revealed that behind-the-scenes discussions on moving Cambridge into the Bryony had kept going after BSF was cancelled.
(We should note here that Young - based on what the council has told him - doesn’t agree that discussions continued behind the scenes. It might help clear this up if someone could make a Freedom of Information request to the council - click here - asking to see all emails between Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Cambridge School from July 2010 to date regarding the Bryony Centre. Any takers?)
On 17 January, Tory Hammersmith council took the wholly unexpected decision to give the Bryony to the free school for two years. Goodbye Cambridge’s hopes for now.
The head teachers both of Cambridge and of the Phoenix School, which is next door to the Bryony, expressed their grave concern, and so did Andy Slaughter. HFConwatch blogged extensively about the shameful shenanigans (see here, here, here and here).
And lo and behold, after hurried discussions with the council, the free school decided it would after all rather move into the Cambridge School’s building once vacated and not the Bryony Centre.
In his attack piece today, Toby Young somehow ignores all this. He also talks patronisingly about “bending over backwards to do what’s right” for Cambridge School and how grateful everyone there is to him, as if the free school’s decision not to snaffle the Bryony is doing Cambridge a favour for which we should all be terribly thankful.
The West London Free School may end up providing great education to local kids. It may even become a beloved part of our community, as we are sure the new Hammersmith Academy (which got going under Labour) will when it opens in September. But for now, it needs to learn to act with a little more humility and ideally with a little less Toby Young.