Left, right! Part 1

Here is some info about Lewisham Bridge Primary School Quagmire. I see no evidence to back up the claims of Permanent Revolution or the Socialist Party, that the Green Cllrs voted to privatise this school but judge for yourself, here are the key related motions……………………..

1. MOTION 2006

“This Council wholeheartedly endorses the decision by Mayor and Cabinet to select Lewisham Bridge as its preferred site for the new school to create an all-through 3-16 integrated school. This Council therefore agrees to work constructively with Mayor and Cabinet to minimise the risks associated with this project and overcome any potential obstacles in order to ensure the new school is delivered by the target date of 2010.”
The motion was supported by Labour, Lib-Dems, Greens, Conservatives and Socialists and passed unanimously.

2. MOTION 18 July 2007

“This Council notes with disappointment the decision of the then Secretary of State for Education not to grant Lewisham exemption from the competition requirements of the Education Act for the purpose of establishing a new all-age school (with primary and secondary provision) on the Lewisham Bridge site. Given that the only legal possibility now for Lewisham to build a new community school for the north of the borough is for the Council to enter a competition process under the terms of the Education Act, we call upon the Mayor to apply to the new Secretary of State for the necessary approval to be given for the council to submit a proposal for a community school on the Lewisham Bridge site.” This motion was proposed by the Socialists and supported by the Lib-Dems and Greens. This motion was opposed by Labour and the Conservatives and was defeated 26 votes to 20.

3. MOTION 20 MAY 2009

“This council reaffirms its commitment to addressing the need for additional secondary school places in the North of the borough and the growing demand for primary school places borough wide; notes that a review of the decision by English Heritage to list Lewisham Bridge Primary School has been sought by the Council; understands the concerns of parents about the impact of the current decant upon their children’s education; therefore calls upon the Mayor to review these arrangements at the earliest possible opportunity; and further calls upon the Mayor to explore all options for building an all through school at Lewisham Bridge.”
This motion was supported by Labour, Lib-Dems, Greens and Conservatives and opposed by the Socialists.

“In the debate, the Green councillors made clear their continued regret that neither the Government nor the Mayor were willing to pursue the community school option and Greens made clear that they expected the new school to be returned to local authority control by any genuinely progressive future government” Cllr Darren Johnson

If I found any evidence to back up claims made by SP or PR then I would be the first to call the Greens on it….http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/CouncilMeetings/

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4 responses to “Left, right! Part 1

  1. Thanks for this – very useful.

  2. First on a personal note I sat through a debate in the council chamber where Darren Johnson told me that it would be more disruptive to my child if he was immediately returned to his school as opposed to him having to travel by bus every day for the next 2 years at least. I'm a bit sick of explaining to people how disruptive this decant is to our children. Kids are tired, ill, we have no contact with teachers, buses are late or cancelled. Lewisham needs a new secondary school but not at the expense of a community school. Darren Johnson is spinning that line without mentioning that it will be a privatised school. I have been told by Sue Luxton that it is a shame that this is a PFI project leading to a trust, but it is the best compromise we can get. Well I don't make compromises for my kids.The 2007 motion should have gone further and called on the council to challenge the competition process – PR argued for the SP to amend their motion accordingly our arguments fell on deaf ears.To be honest these motions mean nothing. Look at the facts Gayle:Lewisham does not have planning permissionLewisham are attempting to knock down a Grade II listed building that has served the working class community for over 100 years.Lewisham have reduced the school to a one form entry thus adding to the shortage of primary school places in the borough.This is not an isolated attack on a local primary school. The plan at Lewisham Bridge is part of Lewisham Council's strategy to implement New Labour's neo-liberal agenda for education. We are seeing academies and trusts being established all around the country. This is the break-up of local authority run education. This is the break-up of unionisation amongst school staff. The Greens can't be wishy-washy on this. Where do they stand on the proposal for Goldsmiths to run a trust involving 3 local secondary schools? Are they going to support us in that campaign?Lewisham Bridge Primary School is not a quagmire – it is very very simple. As I said before this is a neo-liberal agenda and its goal is to wash its hands of the responsibility of educating our children. The Greens are implicitly supporting that. I'm not here to defend the SP's position. I think they have made many mistakes along the way – but that's what happens when you think that power lies in a council chamber. I will defend PR's position. We have always argued that this is a plan to privatise our schools. We have consistently made the links between this school, the plan for Haberdashers to take over Monson Primary School, the plan for a perfectly good SEN primary school to be closed. We're not waiting around for a progressive government we're fighting back now.

  3. Overall I find very little that I disagree with in your statement and I can see that you feel strongly about this situation and rightly so; I do feel however that your criticism of the Greens is misplaced, it is obvious that Labour are the real culprits. Rather than being complicit in privatising your school they are explicitly trying to turn it into a trust and refusing to allow it to be turned into a community school. Oddly, PR have supported Labour, and by association their education agenda, in elections just gone.This is a local issue. The Green Party believes the people best placed to make these decisions are those in the local community. Ultimately, it is Labour that has taken this choice away from parents, leaving those dedicated people in the local community trying to make the best of a bad lot.

  4. The Greens have been explicit in their support for Labour's neo-liberal agenda. They have had 2 opportunities to oppose this proposal. First they could have joined with PR and challenged the Council's plans to allow Leathersellers to run it. Second there have been 2 further opportunities to reverse the decision to decant the school. Each time the Greens have voted with Labour. In the first motion to reverse the decant 5 of the Green councillors joined with Labour to block any debate of the motion! Romayne Phoenix, Green Left abstained on that one and unfortunately she was absent for the last debate. PR supports Labour like a rope supports a hanging man. The council in Lewisham has exposed New Labour for a pro-capitalist privatising war-mongering party. In Lewisham the Green Party have decided to ally themselves with New Labour ironically exposing their own reformist politics. In this campaign PR has been critical of all parties who support privatisation and the break-up of working class communities and in Lewisham we are part of a coalition of activists leading the fightback against privatisation. The working class community around Lewisham Bridge have no confidence in Labour or any of the councillors to fight with them. The Greens had an opportunity to win support amongst our community and they have failed. They clearly cannot provide an alternative.This is not a local issue. From the day we took to the roof I have been in contact with many campaigns around the country: Save Our Schools Glasgow, Save Charlotte Turner, anti-academies campaign in Baroow in Furness, St Pauls Way, Haggerston in Hackney, Brent anti-academy campaign. Medway, Tamworth and Cardiff are also actively fighting back and PR have called a planning meeting to link these campaigns into a national network. By reducing it to a local issue you draw a smokescreen across the real agenda: neo-liberal privatisation of our schools. The Green Left are more than welcome to join our fight, come down to Lewisham Bridge anytime.