The agenda didn’t seem too juicy – Service and Financial Planning (Draft Provisional Budget,) St Reatham Lodge Estate Conservation and the baffling Regeneration Delivery Vehicle (um, who is the Rotten Borough gonna get into bed with next.)
And then we came to the School Expansion Proposals on the agenda. Ah, this could get interesting. Having spent the day working in a Lambeth School, I was interested to find out what plans Labour led Lambeth Council have for the proposed new secondary school in the Rotten Borough.
The debate didn’t get off to a good start, when under claims from Councillor Paul McGlone that “a consululation has been carried out,” the response from the floor was one of “LIES! LIES! LIES!”
The discourse descended further with a truly jaw dropping revelation: the new secondary school in the Rotten Borough is to be sponsored by… Dulwich College.
Yep, that’s the fee paying, elitist Dulwich College across the Southwark border that has a track record of excluding kids from Lambeth. Data suggests that the admissions policy for black and Asian children ‘aint that great either.
The implication is that Lambeth Council has once again pimped out a core policy area. If you accept that sponsorship is a necessary evil within education (which is another argument in itself,) then at least you take the filthy lucre from an organisation that is aligned to the basic belief of education as a meritocracy.
Allowing Dulwich College to look squeaky clean by educating Lambeth kids, but not allowing them in the gated community of the rolling green fields of SE21, is the type of criticism that the national Nu Labour party has recently tried to use against Cameron’s Tory toffs.
How the hell then did La La Lambeth Land get in the situation where a Labour led council is pimping out education to an institution that positively encourages elitism?
“We are proud to work with a high performing institution such as Dulwich College,” boasted the good Councillor McGlone. At least that’s what I think he said. It was difficult to make out the rhetoric, drowned out by a genuine feeling of disbelief from the floor.
Of course the irony is that the ‘Dulwich College on the cheap’ school will probably trade under some ghastly Community College name. If you want a genuine community school, then let the community provide it. Which means local education provision, aka as a Comprehensive. The ‘C’ word has now been banished from the Nu Labour handbook though.
You get what you pay for of course. With termly fees of £4,524 per pupil, it’s a wonder that Dulwich College needs the extra dosh it’s going to trouser out of the Lambeth meal ticket.