The Future of the John Roan School…
…once again rears its troubled head.
Your readers may already have heard that the governing body of the John Roan met on 28 February and voted to move their support ‘in principle’ of the move to the Peninsula to a support ‘in fact’. No doubt the Council, which was represented at the meeting by the customary heavy mob, is already preparing its press statement, but let me just feed you some counter-news.
The governors were given a report from Christine Whatford (be careful to keep the ‘d’ at the end of her name: it’s an easy mistake to make), the acting Director of Children’s Services, which updated governors on the state of play concerning the conditions the governors had laid down in order for their ‘in principle’ agreement to become ‘in fact’. Strangely enough, if there had been movement on some of these publicly stated conditions (and that’s a big ‘if’), none of them had been resolved – not even the gasholder, which the local MP had admitted to being a ‘deal-breaker’.
Despite that, the Council, represented in boring force by its predictable bully boys made it clear to the governing body that, were the move not to go ahead, there was no Plan B for the John Roan. (Let’s just spend a second remembering that the person who coined the expression ‘There is no alternative’ – often abbreviated to TINA – was Margaret Thatcher, a politician clearly more beloved of Greenwich Council than we had thought. They’ve certainly learned more than we’d imagined from her way of operating.) Just in case she hadn’t made this point clearly enough, Ms Whatford stuck around for the governing body debate even though, as an invited speaker, she had no place to be there.
Thus pressured, and with abject support from the chair of governors (a one-time employee of the local MP), the vote was passed 10–5 to support the move of the school to the Peninsula. There wasn’t quite enough time to debate it in full because the deputy chair of governors (David Gardiner) had another meeting to go to, bless him, obviously one that is much more important for a man who is tipped to step into Mr Raynsford’s shoes and whose children were selectively educated (please don’t let him or anyone else query the use of that word ‘selectively’) at Haberdasher’s. In fact – perish the thought – was there ever a possibility that the meeting had been brought forward to the earlier time of 6pm in order to facilitate his attendance at this second meeting? Let’s hope not: that would be to question the integrity of our chair and deputy chair too far, surely.
Argue it as it might, the Council has sold the school, its pupils, staff and stakeholders almost literally down the river. After one of the Council supporters has attempted to put an opposing position to mine, we’ll be able to give you even more worrying news about the Council’s, designers’ and governing body’s complete failure to consult fully on the impact of the noise pollution on the ASD pupils, one of the apparent jewels in the crown of this new design, soon to be exposed as tawdry tat.
The Phantom is worried.
Tell me. Being ignorant on these matters, I wonder how the Council can sell off land that belongs to the John Roan School, which I always assumed was a charity?
I always get a huge postbag when we come to these discussions – let’s keep the gloves on, though, folks…