WLFS Primary School - 2FE Entry at Cambridge Grove

Tracy Hannigan's picture
I found this Summary of Open Decisions indicating that WLFS has proposed to expand to be an all age school.

I do not recall seeing this school in Nick Gibb's recent response statement listing pending free schools so wonder if it is within the umbrella of the current free school agreement with WLFS (Secondary).

I specifically am wondering what the admissions criteria are going to be.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Be notified by email of each new post.


Leonard James's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 16:37

Allan you are governor at Stoke Newington right?

Janet Lallysmith's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 16:59

Because you're the one who's just set up a school and the other two are a teacher and governor respectively?

Janet Lallysmith's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 17:00

And you.

Ian Taylor's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 20:43

Toby. Just for the record. If there is a secondary school teacher in Devon called Ian Taylor, it is not me. I hope he is not receiving agro due to my comments here. I don't work or live in Devon, or near Devon. Sorry.

Cannot see what where I live, or work, has to do with WLFS or government policy.

I do believe in equal opportunity though, and am against patronage by self appointed elites. I don't think that is exclusive to Devonshire folk.

Must have touched a nerve I guess!

Tracy Hannigan's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 12:08

Some schools have released detailed information on their submissions as part of the process (everything from applications to funding agreements) and it doesn't seem to have created any more of a tide of information requests than existed before. The most interesting one to see will be Langley Hall, I think - given its peculiar admissions arrangement.

I despair at thinking we will have to wait for the DfE to release all 24 agreements at one time. When I last asked about this, the DfE said there was no date planned but it would happen in the future sometime. I do hope it will be in my lifetime ! Part of what has stirred up so much cynicism is the insistence on keeping so much virtually secret, yet vocalising about wanting to empower local people, provide choice, etc. As the active and involved parent of a primary school aged child I'd be worried if my potential secondary school wouldn't answer some of these kinds of questions.

And, though it was a diversion, I'm interested to know why there are apparently fewer FSM children in secondary relative to primary (if combining primary and secondary results in a higher and possibly less comparable FSM number) - do all of these FSM primary children somehow go 'out of borough' for secondary school? (I've raised my concerns about this 'out of borough' criteria within a long skinny borough before so won't again - will be interesting to see what the criteria becomes when the boroughs get rearranged!)

Allan Beavis's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 12:11

I thought the DfE were publishing when the first 24 were opened? That was back in September. It is looking increasingly as if both the DfE and Free School supporters don't want us to know something.

Janet Lallysmith's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 22:08

On your last point, me too. Some of the primaries near WLFS have 60% pupils on FSM. That's a huge difference.

A guest's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 12:13

Out of interest Toby, did you consider banding as a way of selecting pupils for your school?

Toby Young's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 18:36

Allan, So your children are at Stoke Newington School? According to Edubase, 28% of the pupils at SNS are on FSM, compared to a taxpayer-funded secondary school London Borough of Hackney average of >40%. By that measure, SNS is less socially inclusive than the WLFS. It's a bit rich to claim that the purpose of the free schools policy is to enable taxpayer-funded schools to be "selective" when the school my colleagues and I have set up is actually less "selective" than the community school your children attend.

I don't know if you're aware of this, but SNS, like all the other community schools in Hackney, is not run by the local authority, but by a private company called the Learning Trust. (For more details on the Learning Trust, see here http://www.learningtrust.co.uk/about_us/.) Is this really the model you're recommending for the rest of England? I don't have a problem with responsibility for maintained schools being removed from local authorities and turned over to private companies – as it has been in Hackney – but I thought you did? In fact, doesn't the survival and continuing improvement of SNS prove that the free market reforms you disapprove of won't actually undermine the sorts of schools you approve of?

One of your main objections to the free schools' policy is that it will increase social division. But you ignore the degree to which our education system already reflects the social divisions in our society. In Hackney, for instance, just under 25% of children of school age at taxpayer-funded schools are educated at voluntary-aided religious schools. In addition, there are 24 independent schools in Hackney, 23 of which are faith schools: 16 are Jewish, three are Muslim and four are Christian. I'm afraid this sort of segregation is inevitable in a multicultural city like London and it's hard to imagine how you'd eliminate it without forcing religious parents to send their children to secular schools against their will.

I believe that free schools will reduce the inequalities in our education system by extending opportunities to children from middle and low-income families that are currently only available to those from high-income families – and if that means enabling them to send their children to faith schools, so be it. This belief may be proved wrong – we won't know for at least five years and comparisons with Sweden and America are meaningless because there are too many variables to control for – but please do me the credit of accepting that I'm sincere in this belief. To constantly claim, as you do, that the people behind the West London Free School want the school to be socially exclusive is both false and defamatory. I want the WLFS to have a "fair and mixed intake", just as you claim SNS has, and all the free school pioneers I've met want exactly the same thing. We cannot begin to have a grown up debate about how best to drive up standards in our state schools and increase opportunities for all until you accept that 99% of the people who've set up free schools are as committed to fair admissions as you are.

Guest, As I'm sure you know, fair banding does not guarantee social inclusion or a mixed ability intake. On the contrary, it is often used as a way to disguise covert selection – one reason Fiona Millar isn't in favour of it, I believe. We considered it for the WLFS but rejected it. We didn't like the idea of parents trying to game the system by encouraging their children to do badly in the admissions test. Any system that rewards under-achievement, however well-intentioned, cannot be right.

Janet, I've told you exactly what we're planning to do: We're going to apply next year to open a 2FE primary school in LBHF in 2013 and in the course of doing that we intend to observe the spirit and letter of the law, just as we did in the course of setting up the WLFS. I've also confirmed that we intend to publish our Funding Agreement in due course and explained why we haven't done so already. Given how candid I've been, I don't think it's unreasonable – or diversionary – to expect a similar degree of candour from the critics of the WLFS.

Janet Lallysmith's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 22:02

This tide of waffle is an attempt at distraction from your lack of transparency and refusal to answer very simple questions put to you.

What on earth do you mean 'by a similar degree of candour'? A teacher and governor have not just apportioned huge amounts of public funds set up a school. They're hardly in a similar position to you.

Allan Beavis's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 22:50

Is it not a little bit tiresome, that having already pointed out that your introduction of FSM statistics is a feeble attempt at distracting attention away from calls for why West London Free School will not publish its Funding Agreement, you now still persist in trying to draw me into a tit for tat comparison of relative FSM numbers?

I hate to think that you spent the best part of the afternoon trawling for evidence to prove a point which does nothing to explain why you won’t reveal your Funding Agreement. So what if Stoke Newington School has 28% FSM? The fact is, the school’s intake is drawn from a catchment area and that catchment area reflects the diversity of the population around the school. More than that, unlike the overzealous Free School founders intent on pursuing and concealing their agenda by trumpeting their altruistic mission to the poor, SNS has never made a meal of its FSM or SEN intake for the simple reason that it has never felt it necessary to patronise them or any other group of students. How you can put pen to paper and claim that the school’s fortune, or misfortune, in being located in an area with not enough poor children to satisfy your prejudice and thus be less “socially inclusive” and more “selective” than other schools such as yours, beggars belief.

If only you had spent more time keeping yourself up to date about FSM numbers at your own school as you do in trying to uncover the figures for SNS for no better reason than to indulge in a misguided attempt to play trumps over school intake when the question you are being asked is about your Funding Agreement. You replied as “utter balls” (what is the Latin translation for this, anyone?) a report that WLFS had received, and responded to, an FoI request about the number of children on FSM http://schoolduggery.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/free-schools-and-disadvant... and demonstrated you knew very little about this issue at your own school.

You are right that comparisons with Sweden and America are meaningless but this is in direct contrast to your previous utterances, where you fell over yourself, as does the government and the New Schools Network, to praise them. That Free Schools are so publicly identified as being modelled on the American system ought to be cause for concern when its failure to be scaled up in America stands precious little chance of succeeding in the UK. WLFS may be the success story – and I hope so for the children under your care – but that’s like saying KIPP or HCZ is representative of all Charters. They aren’t.

Thank you for the information on the Learning Trust. You are quick to gleefully point out that it is a “private company” and that I ought, therefore, to condemn it but you omit to mention that it is also a non-profit making organization. Therefore, it is hardly an advertisement for the good practice of profit-making, free market companies in schools is it Toby? Neither do you mention that 10 years ago Hackney schools were placed in the care of the Learning Trust as education in Hackney was found to be wanting under the direct control of the council. The Learning Trust has overseen a great transformation in schools in Hackney and did so by replacing the responsibilities of the council to steward the schools under its care, without lining its pockets. Why did you attempt to portray the Learning Trust as a for-profit making company?

You may say you want a “fair and mixed” intake but surely even you can see the difficulty in many people believing this when they read your frequent and public polemics in which you pander to snobbery (“Eton of the State Sector”) whilst making gay or lesbian people – children, parents and staff, feel very unwelcome at your school. You will have alienated and put off more people by condemning people as “dunces” (do you have a dunces corner for the SENs at your school Toby?) when they don’t agree with your right-wing politics, which in itself would be offputting to parents who are left wing and might want their children to attend WLFS. Sniggeringly pointing out grammatical errors on a comments thread, “Utter balls” and general bullying rhetoric is not the conduct of a school founder keen to promote himself as someone who welcomes all and sundry to his school. It is not helpful when your headmaster gives an interview to the Independent and states that WLFS might not be the best place for the less academically inclined – for example those who can’t handle Latin perhaps?

You should therefore not be surprised when people allege covert selection based around your own pronouncements and you would forgive them the smidgeon of cynicism when they read that you are as committed to increasing opportunities for children as you are in promoting yourself through your columns, television appearances and books.

There is no reason for you to delay in publishing your Funding Agreement when a number of Free Schools have voluntarily done so. Hiding behind not wanting to pressurise the others sounds altruistic but also looks like another excuse to duck transparency.

Leonard James's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 00:27

Incredible! After all the guff from the LSN about FSM numbers at free schools and segregation all you can say about Stoke Newington's numbers is 'who cares'? Clearly, and predictably, FSM data only matters to you when it affirms your own opinion.

Jake's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 01:00

You never actually say anything of any interest do you Butthead? All you do is spend considerable time criticising or insulting anyone who disagrees with you on the Luddite Schools Network. What do you actually add to the reform debate by way of any progressive dialogue or positive ideas of your own? Change the record. Its really boring. Left wing versus right wing - its so dull. You're so dull. What we need is a Third Way!

Ben Taylor's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 01:55


You have just written that you are in agreement with the principle and practice of a company limited by guarantee running a chain of schools, said company is the Learning Trust. However you are against another company limited by guarantee running a school called the West London Free School, which differs in running only one school and having the addition of being backed by a charitable foundation. It seems both companies operate in the same, or very similar, legal and ethical framework with regard to performance of their duties and powers. What is your reasoning? It can’t be the profit making potential because both companies have the status of not being able to create and distribute profits to shareholders.

You are trying to have your cake and eat it with free school means. Either the average FSM % for a given area and a consequent reflection of that within the area’s schools does matter, or it doesn't. If it does matter SNS needs to reflect if its own disparity is significant and what it will do to change if it is significant.

Toby Young's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 02:10

I think the difference is more profound than that. Learning Trust describes itself as "not for profit" rather than "a charity" which suggests it isn't a registered charity, but, rather, a for-profit company that has decided not to try and turn a profit from this particular line of work. The West London Free School Academy Trust, by contrast, is a registered charity. Perhaps you could clarify, Allan?

Allan Beavis's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 09:35

No Leonard. What is incredible, clear and predictable is your inability to understand text. I did not say FSM data doesn't matter. It was The Hon Toby Young who introduced it into the thread in a misguided and patronising attempt to argue that a school in Stoke Newington is less socially inclusive than the WLFS because it doesn't have enough data busting underprivileged children. The point I made was that the intake was very diverse but drawn from its immediate catchment area. How this misuse of data is supposed to affirm my opinion says much more about your prejudices than it does about me, Leonard

Allan Beavis's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 09:43

No I haven't. Learn to understand what is written Ben.

Leonard James's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 09:56

I see. But how do you know that free schools are not drawing from thier 'local cathment area' - you have implied that selection caused the observations regarding their FSM numbers.

A guest's picture
Thu, 29/12/2011 - 22:15

Toby, my question was a genuine one. I did not know the answer. I had not heard that the system could be gamed. Many schools have a fair banding admissions policy in order to (try to ) ensure they have students from across the ability range.
I am not entirely convinced that parents can successfully encourage their children to under perform to get a place. Covert selection also happens by offering only an academic curriculum ??

Toby Young's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 02:16

The "covert selection" charge against us only makes sense if you take it for granted that a group of mixed ability pupils can't tackle an academic curriculum. We would dispute that. The founding principle of the WLFS is that every pupil can benefit from an academically rigorous curriculum, regardless of background and regardless of ability.

Toby Young's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 02:34

I've just had a look at Learning Trust's accounts for 2010-2011 – it's not a registered charity – and in the last financial year it made a pre-tax "surplus" of £27,042,441. Guess how much tax the company ended up paying on this? £218,143. Yes, you read that right. Personally, I don't object to private companies doing whatever they can to minimise their tax liabilities, but Allan might want to take a closer look at last year's accounts:


A guest's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 13:49

Actually, I do think I dispute this. Pupils who are are working at grades E, F, and G at GCSE need a curriculum that is catered for their needs. (Pupils can be operating at this level for a variety of reasons. For some pupils however hard they try they are not going to achieve C grades in Maths and English etc.) I think your headmaster recognises this. Why would some people defend the existence of grammar schools if they did not think that some pupils benefit from an academic curriculum and others would not. The schools where I live (not London- few private schools and no grammars) recognise this and pupils after discussion with parents and teachers chose different pathways at GCSE. This is not necessarily a straight academic/ vocational split either. All the schools have an academic pathway and bright children from whatever background are not prevented from following it. If you take an alternative pathway this does not mean you will not be challenged to think and question what you are doing.

Janet Lallysmith's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 08:37

Would you mind clarifying what you meant by " We didn’t like the idea of parents trying to game the system by encouraging their children to do badly in the admissions test." as I really don't understand your point.

Also, the main thing that your through-the-night Googling confirms is the unreasonableness of you keeping your funding agreement out of the public domain to be honest.

Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 09:55

Thank you for the link Toby to the accounts of the Learning Trust. I note from their financial statement that the Council's contract with the Learning Trust ceases in 2012 and the Council has agreed to take over the company on 1 August 2012. The company will retain fewer financial resources in 2011/12 and will pass more resources to schools who will be able to decide how best to deploy these resources. I presume (but correct me if I'm wrong) that any surplus in the Trust's accounts would be transferred to the Council on 1 August.

Allan Beavis's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 10:37

Toby –

You persist in creating a storm to draw attention away from refusing to answer questions about your Funding Agreement.

Whatever the fiscal status of The Learning Trust may be, you yourself have pointed out that it has not made a profit out of its 10 years stewardship of Hackney schools. Perhaps this was a condition imposed and accepted by the Trust when it was given the responsibility? This does not put it in the same bracket as companies such as Cognita and IES. You mention a surplus – will this be handed over to the Council when responsibility for education is handed back to Hackney in summer 2012? The crucial point here is that you yourself have pointed out it hasn’t actually profited from overseeing the borough’s schools.

You asked me if this “really is the model you’re recommending for the rest of England” as if living in Hackney meant that its citizens automatically endorses the organization that oversees its schools. There are plenty of citizens in H&F who oppose that council’s endorsement of WLFS.

You bring up the tax liability of the Learning Trust. Is there any evidence that they have acted fraudulently? I don’t have a problem with companies acting within the law to pay the right amount of tax. You asked me to examine their accounts but what on earth has that got to do with the fact they made no profit out of overseeing Hackney education and your refusal to publish your Funding Agreement?

You said you “don’t have a problem with responsibility for maintained schools being removed from local authorities and turned over to private companies – as it has been in Hackney – but I thought you did?” Schools in Hackney have NOT been removed from local authority stewardship. The Learning Trust has fulfilled the co-ordinating role of the LA, has vastly improved education across many schools in the borough and, most importantly, been accountable to the local community. This is in direct contrast to a stand-alone Free School, accountable only to central government, competing, rather than collaborating, with other schools in the local area; able to vary the Admissions Code and narrow its Curriculum and to act “selfishly” as you implied here http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/06/im-supporting-my-local-sec....

Your founding principle that every pupil can benefit from an academically rigorous curriculum, regardless of background and regardless of ability may or may not be true but how does this principle square up with your headmaster telling The Independent "It might be that that kind of curriculum is not appropriate for all children – but it is a curriculum that will enable them to think for themselves."

Covert selection works in many ways and one way is to pump out frequent, offputting, public and inflammatory statements to alienate those who do not share your political or ideological doctrines. I also do not see how children are encouraged to think for themselves when their schools founder makes it clear he is ready to mock gay and lesbian issues; denigrate and smear his political opponents; mock left wing liberals; call people “dunces”. I don’t think this is the most appropriate or inclusive way for a Chair of Governors to conduct himself is it? It seems to me that anyone who does not prescribe to your right wing view of the world at your school would be too afraid to express themselves because their founder acts in a way that, unfortunately, could be construed as bullying.

The usual gaggle of “choice” trolls are trying to assist you in your attempt to derail the issue with contrived outrage over FSM, Luddite-ism and trying to now claim I support free market intervention in schools. All utter nonsense and doesn’t answer this question:-

Why are you refusing to publish your Funding Agreement when a number of other Free Schools have voluntarily done so?

Toby Young's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 09:44

Suppose you divide all the applicants into four bands according to ability: top 25%, middle 50% and bottom 25% and then allocate places within each band according to straight-line distance. If the distance you have to live from the school to qualify for a place in the top or middle band is smaller than the distance you have to live to qualify for a place in the bottom band, parents who don't live close enough for their children to qualify for a top or or middle band place have an incentive to encourage their children to do badly in the test in order to qualify for a bottom band place. These conditions arise quite often. The more academically successful and popular the school, the more likely the school is to have band-specific catchment areas that sit within each other like concentric circles, with the smallest circle belonging to the top band. Why? Because academically successful schools will inevitably have more applicants from children of above average ability.

Toby Young's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 11:59

Your faith in the Learning Trust is touching. But I must take issue with your claim that "responsibility for maintained schools" has "NOT been removed from local authority stewardship" (your capitals). If the Learning Trust is playing the role that the Local Education Authority in Hackney used to play, then, surely, that is precisely what's happened? And given that the Learning Trust is a private company, in what sense is SNS more "accountable" than the WLFS? The SNS is accountable to the Learning Trust which, in turn, is accountable to its Board of Directors – an unelected body that is itself accountable to no one since the Learning Trust has no shareholders, apparently (see the link at the end of my previous post). The WLFS, by contrast, is directly accountable to the Secretary of State for Education, a member of Parliament and an appointee of the democratically-elected government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. By any measure, the so-called "community schools" of Hackney – which you most certainly are holding up as a model that the rest of the country should follow – are less democratically accountable than academies or free schools.

You persistently claim that my politically incorrect remarks across a range of areas have had the effect of discouraging a broad range of people from applying to the WLFS. Where's your evidence for this? We had over 500 applicants for our first 120 places and we've had over 1,000 for our next 120 places, making us the most over subscribed taxpayer-funded school in the borough by a comfortable margin, possibly even the whole of England. I can assure you that these applicants are from all walks of life – a fact reflected in our first cohort of pupils which, as we've established, is more representative of the local borough than the "self-selected" cohort at SNS.

Just to recap Allan, the school you're a governor of is less democratically accountable than the WLFS, less socially inclusive and less popular. Yet, somehow, your school is the embodiment of virtue while mine is the embodiment of vice. Isn't it about time you got off your high horse?

Allan Beavis's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 13:42

Toby –

Your rant goes to the heart of what is so divisive about the Free School policy and how you, as it flag bearer, has tarnished it with a polarising dog eat dog ultra-competitive stance in which your entire operation has been to promote the cause of a handful of schools educating a minuscule number of children by attempting to denigrate and degrade even the most successful of models that existed before Michael Gove allowed you to take advantage of a shift in policy in which you saw your opportunity. Even now, you trumpet the oversubscription of WLFS as if your school has the monopoly on being oversubscribed. It doesn’t. All it means ultimately is that WLFS is the new kid on the block. Yours – along with the other Free Schools and new Academies – can be assessed alongside pre-existing schools when you publish your results. Note I use the verb “assess”, not “judge” – unlike you, I am not out to trash the achievements of any school in order to plead the case for community schools. You reduce the debate to “Your” and “My” school. Unlike you, I am concerned with equality for all children in the country, not just those at “my” school.

Instead of answering the question why you are not publishing your Funding Agreement, you attempt to make vague and futile insinuations about the Learning Trust and comment as if I personally am wholeheartedly endorsing the Learning Trust. You also claim out of thin air that I am holding up “community schools” in Hackney “as a model that the rest of the country should follow”. Where is the evidence that I say this? Most of the schools in Hackney are Academies anyway, all created and stewarded by the Learning Trust.

Just to re-cap Toby:-

Where is your evidence that SNS is less socially inclusive when it strictly draws its intake from its immediate catchment area? The Leaning Trust handles all admissions. To be less socially inclusive, the Learning Trust would have to dishonestly give priority access to less or more privileged children. Which it doesn’t. The catchment area is made of the diverse community closest to the school gates. The school has never made a meal out of its FSM and SEN numbers – it is you who introduced this into the debate and it is you who had no idea about your own schools FSM numbers. Hackney is not Chelsea. You sneeringly wondered a few months ago how many transgendered people that might be at SNS. If they were, and they lived in the catchment area, they would be offered a place, alongside any other child of any socio-economic background, sexual orientation, race living in the same catchment. It is entirely ridiculous of you to try and compete on social inclusion because you – and other Free Schools - are under criticism for not serving the most disadvantaged when that was one of the main thrusts of the campaign.

You claim the Learning Trust is “accountable to no one”. This is simply not true. You also claim that SNS less democratically accountable than WLFS. Well, for start, the Trust is locally accountable to the community it serves; to Hackney Council, who monitor the services the Trust provides; to external auditors; to the DfE and to OFSTED. They answer to their stakeholders, who include parents, pupils, staff, governors and members of the wider community and they engage them in their decision-making processes. Parents who have specific complaints about a school can take their case to the (impartial) Learning Trust and Headteachers and Governors seeking advice or clarification can use and benefit their services as they have an overview of the issues affecting the whole borough, not just one stand-alone school. I wonder how long it would take for Michael Gove to respond to a parent’s complaint about Admissions or a child protection issue at a Free School? Centralisation is not going to make the democratic process easier or fairer.

With so many good schools now in Hackney, most of the applicants to SNS are in, or just out of, the catchment area. And it is oversubscribed. Those closer to other schools would therefore not make SNS a first choice as they would stand very little chance of being offered a place. The catchment is a radius of well under a kilometre. Of the 1,000 applicants to WLFS, only 45% are admitted by proximity, the rest by American-style lottery and aptitude for music. Hardly a fair comparison but it is you who competitively compares for no better reason than to justify the large amounts of money you are getting creamed off the budget for existing schools to educate a tiny minority of students.

Instead of further posturing and setting off fake sirens, don’t you think it’s time to get off your high horse and explain the creation of a WLFS primary school, how it may affect admissions into the existing WLFS and why you will not publish your Funding Agreement?

Fiona Millar's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 16:43

Surely the Learning Trust is accountable to Hackney Council ?

Fiona Millar's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 16:46

I think the key piece of information to look out for with free schools is whether their FSM figures are significantly different to those in the surrounding community and other local schools. If they are not there is a good chance they are managing to engineer a more favourable intake from elsewhere.

Allan Beavis's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 16:49

Yes it is and it is clear they do, as their website makes crystal clear.

Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 10:22

Toby – I now understand why I was confused by your answers to my earlier question about whether a request had been made to the Secretary of State (SoS) to extend the age range of WLFS.

You answered: “…the WLFS is not applying to expand its pupil numbers and/or age range”

This seemed to be contradicted by the Council statement: “West London Free School has requested to extend their provision to include primary school education on the Cambridge Grove site from September 2013”

In a later answer you wrote: “We’re going to apply next year to open a 2FE primary school in LBHF in 2013”

In other words, you are not applying to the SoS in 2011 but you will be applying in 2012. However, you did put in a request to the Council in 2011. And there lies my confusion – I thought “applying” and “requesting” were the same thing.

Toby Young's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 11:40

Glad we've cleared that up Janet.

Rosie Fergusson's picture
Tue, 10/01/2012 - 14:21

Now here's a conundrum. On 20th Dec Mr Gibb, Schools MInister, provided a written answer to a parliamentary question on Free Schools Finance ;

Question from Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what methodology his Department uses in respect of the calculation of revenue funding for free schools; how much he has allocated to each free school in 2011-12; and how many pupils were enrolled in each school as at September 2011.

Evasive Answer: Mr Gibb [holding answer 19 October 2011]: "Annual revenue funding for free schools is equivalent to that received by maintained schools and academies in the same local authority area.We estimate that the free schools which opened in September 2011 have over 3,000 pupils enrolled in total. Information about the number of children on roll at each school will be collected in the annual school census and published in due course."
He then provided a schedule of the 2011-12 fundign for all the Free schools open so far which totalled £18,473000.

Think this ace accountant may have made a mistake somewhere in claiming comparable funding with existing schools as this averages £6157 / free school pupil ; compare to existing schools in Leeds Bradford get roughly £4000 plus £300 per pupil if they convert .

WLFS got £825,000 .

The well-established 100 year old Sandbach school of 1200 pupils got £4077.50 p per pupil as a free school so it seems fair to say that the NEW-build Free Schools are currently getting well over their fair share of funding as they build up their pupil numbers.

All at the expense of the funding of existing schools.

Still lets put in in perspective 3000 pupils, mainly primary is only 0.05% of the school population..long may it continue that way .

Toby Young's picture
Tue, 10/01/2012 - 14:25

I can assure you the WLFS does not get £825,000/pupil. We get the same amount as maintained schools and academies in LBHF, as Nick Gibb said.

Rosie Fergusson's picture
Tue, 10/01/2012 - 15:32

Boy ...that would be some school if £825,000 per pupil...meant £825,000 total for year as stated in Hansard..which I think works out at £6875/pupil.....allowances do tend to be higher in poorer urban areas..on the assumption that all schools in an area address the same proportion of socio-economic problems.

Toby Young's picture
Tue, 10/01/2012 - 15:44

Can you provide a link to that Hansard answer? I didn't see it.

Working out the per pupil budget of a school is not as straightforward as dividing the total pupil budget and dividing it by the number of pupils since you get considerably more for pupils on FSM.

Tracy Hannigan's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 13:53

Sorry to interfere with the heated asides raised but I'd like to jump back to my original concern and point.

I am very interested to know if the Trust has yet discussed admissions arrangements for the proposed Primary. It may be too far in advance to have been touched on yet, I realise - but given WLFS formed its admissions with consideration of impact on other local schools as well as concerns about fair banding, I was wondering if there were any formed thoughts at all on the primary admissions process, and if not - what process will be undertaken to develop one.

I would imagine if a simple straight line distance was used for a 2FE Primary, then the 45% straight line distance portion of the existing 4FE WLFS admissions arrangement would be occupied mainly by those attending the primary (if existing, or 'tighter' catchments are in existence, depending on the ages of children in the vicinity etc). This would obviously have significant impact on local primary schools - particularly if they are virtually, by straight line distance, essentially guaranteed WLFS admission. (It keeps things simple for harried parents!)

I would also like to know, if its been considered yet, whether or not both forms of entry will enroll at once (I presume so) and if more than Reception will be filled in the first year of opening. To date H&F has not provided any real evidence of a sustained or increasing need for primary places and it seems that the reality on the ground is that children are not rolling in the aisles...if there is something out there that I have missed or that has not been provided by FoIA (based on the omissions in the postcode data, I'm wondering....) - I'm happy to hear it!

Leonard James's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 17:08

Re: FSM figures. These figures for Stoke Newington may be illuminating.


Janet Lallysmith's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 17:57

Illuminating in what way? Other than 'proving' that Stoke Newington is pretty upmarket these days and, by using the Fair Admissions Protocol aka LBH, it's intake is pretty middle class. The nearby primaries have FSMs of between 17-26%, so all seems pretty coherent to me.

Leonard James's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 21:16

The LSN has used such comparisons as evidence of free schools causing segregation. Glad to see that you are against the practice.

Leonard James's picture
Mon, 09/01/2012 - 06:52

Could you provide a source for this data. The DfE compare schools tool is saying something very different.


Allan Beavis's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 17:27

Illuminating only if the school had something to conceal. Much more illuminating would be the contents of the WLFS Funding Agreement.

Leonard James's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 17:37

Why are less disadvantaged children attending Stoke Newington then Allan? Remember you have implied that Toby is covertly selecting his intake on the basis of similar figures.

Allan Beavis's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 17:50

No I didn't. Why do you find it so difficult to understand what you read? I did not imply anything of the sort. It was Toby Young who brought up FSM figures to detract from the fact that he was being asked to publish his Funding Agreement. Stoke Newington School was not founded by an attention seeking individual who was given £15m to set up a school largely on the boast that its existence was to give opportunities to the poor. Stoke Newington School does not parade its FSM or SEN figures to score points - it is an inclusive school which admits its intake from the catchment area, which is a mix of a diverse population of people. What would you like SNS to do? Bus in hundreds of poor children from miles away and outside the community to satisfy your FSM fetish?

Leonard James's picture
Fri, 30/12/2011 - 19:35


Perhaps you would like to pursue your comments on this thread:


So what does Toby Young have to do to prevent you from accusing him of 'sending out deliberately offputting signals' to 'undesirables' - bus in the 13 students he needs to match the average % FSM students for the LEA from miles away?

This website published the FSM data from schoolduggery in order to stick it to the free schools, you commented on it and came out with some ridiculous conclusions on top. Funny how you are not so bothered, and I am a 'fetishist', now the data isn't going your way.

Allan Beavis's picture
Sat, 31/12/2011 - 08:40

Anyone interested enough to read what Leonard means by @schoolduggery "sticking it to the free schools" can read his rebuttal here on his blog http://educationalopinion.blogspot.com/

Leonard James's picture
Sat, 31/12/2011 - 09:36

Thanks for promoting my blog I don't recall ever mentioning it so well done for looking it up. A slight correction - my issue isn't with schoolduggery it is with the LSN's interpretation of his data.

By the way did you edit your last comment? A significant advantage don't you think?

Allan Beavis's picture
Sat, 31/12/2011 - 10:12

More nonsense Leonard. You're on a carousel of circular arguments chasing your own confused tail. I'm done.

Leonard James's picture
Sat, 31/12/2011 - 10:33

If you think I am wrong debate with me instead of resorting to misrepresentation and ad hominems.


Add new comment

Already a member? Click here to log in before you comment. Or register with us.