From 'Hackney Solidarity' April 2005 issue, for Aspland & Marcon estates
- School gates closed?
- Rents up again
- Pensioners cheated
- Recycling cash
- Re-open our youth club
School Gates Closed?
It’s great to have a new secondary school on your doorstep, isn’t it? Especially as it is non-selective, mixed and non-religious, which many parents and kids prefer.
If you can get a place there, that is. Many of the estate’s 11-year-olds who applied for Mossbourne Academy have been turned away. We’ve not met one who got in.
It seems that academies are able to use their admissions procedures to get the intake they want ie. not too many local working-class kids.
Something to do with the rich prviate benefactor deciding the school’s policy?
Rents Up Again
Rents have gone up by more than inflation - so tenants once again pay more for less. Many people can’t afford it, and it’s not as if the Council spends the cash looking after our estates well!
The Council expects us to be grateful that they are not cutting services too. The cheek of it!
It’s a double whammy for pensioners, as the annual increase in the state pension comes in later than the rent rise. So for two weeks, OAPs have to pay the higher rent from the lower pension.
Many pensioners fear robbery, but it looks like they are being robbed by the government and the Council.
For two years now, our community has been recycling, helping the environment and reducing waste.
The Council promised to give the TRA money for doing this, but has not paid a penny. The excuse? It does not know exactly how much we have recycled, so can not work out how much to pay.
Hackney Solidarity wonders if they have the same trouble calculating Councillors’ generous expenses. We doubt it!
Re-Open Our Club
Our youth club has been closed for months now - because the Council has proved incapable of taking over running it.
The TRA fought hard to set up the club, and it ran well for a couple of years. Then Hackney Council got involved, with its reverse Midas touch - everything it touches goes wrong.
Teenagers are left with little to do, with Hackney’s leisure facilities closed down or too expensive. So young people get hassled for hanging around. It’s a vicious circle that can only be broken by providing decent facilities and a real voice for young people.
If you would like printed copies of 'Hackney Solidarity', or would like to distribute it, write for it, or give it out on your street or estate, please e-mail Janine Booth.
Aspland & Marcon Estates Tenants' & Residents' Association sent the following letter to Mossbourne Academy and to the Learning Trust
Refusal of places at Mossbourne Academy to residents of Aspland estate and Marcon Court
Several residents of our estates have reported to the Tenants’ and Residents’ Association (TRA) that their children have been refused places at Mossbourne Academy.
As individuals, they are pursuing appeals. As the representative body of this community, the TRA requests you to justify the school’s admissions procedures and to assure us that there is no discrimination against our residents.
We would like you to tell us how many residents of these two estates applied for places, and how many of those were successful. We are not asking for names or addresses, but for statistics. The addresses concerned will be: 1-59 Malpas Road, 21-41 Amhurst Road, 1-7 Poulton Close, 1-81 Marcon Court.
We would also be interested to see similar statistics for residents of Pembury estate.
Aspland estate and Marcon Court are only 500m from Mossbourne Academy. The Academy is a popular choice for our residents, because it is the nearest school, and is new, mixed boys/girls, and non-religious. We are concerned that children from local Council estates are being excluded from the quality education on offer, especially as we are aware of children from much further away being offered places.
I look forward to your reply.
Aspland & Marcon Estates Tenants’ & Residents’ Association
Mossbourne places are allocated according to several factors: the ability band students falls into (25% taken from each and thus comprehensive), distance from mossbourne, distance from nearest similar school (stoke newington), inner catchment area, 1000m rad which includes 60% of intake. If students are outside catchment area but within hackney they are better off in south east of borough as they are further from possible alternative ie stoke newington and thus in a better position. over 100 appeals already this year with a 10% chance of success. mossbourne is already deemed too small for many class sizes and a total intake of 1000 would burst the building at seems. The richard rogers partnership have really messed up as have the dfes. thankfully otehr schools palnned but not until 2006/7.
Guess what? Mossbourne's principal replied to our letter, assuring us that they did not discriminate and enclosing their admissions policy. Er ... forgot to answer the request for statisitcs, then. The TRA has written again, and told the Academy that if they don't give us these figures, we will ask for them in a more public forum.
Basically, they have this fake 'non-selective' admissions policy, which goes something like this ...
Each year's intake will "usually" be 60% from within the catchment area (1km) and 40% from outside. If places from within the catchment area are over-subscribed (which of course there are, because there is a terrible lack of school places in Hackney, and Mossbourne is one of the very few mixed, secular, secondary schools in the area), then applicants all sit an exam (hmmm, very non-selective). The results are banded into quarters, and from each quarter, places are allocated by distance from the school. There are a few other quirks, but that is the basic gist.
In practice, this has meant that the majority of 11-year-olds on our estate (500m away) who applied did not get a place. However, kids from quite some distance away - including out of the borough - did. It is possible that it is now easier to get in to Mossbourne if you live (in certain places) outside the catchment area than inside it. This makes a mockery of the government's claim that Academies are based in deprived areas in order to benefit the local area.
Mossbourne is in a very deprived area. It is right next to the Pembury estate, a huge (privatised) Council estate with a lot of social problems.
The laughable thing is that apparently, one of the reasons that they don't guarantee places to people in the catchment area is to prevent the phenomenon of massive house price increases in the neighbouring streets. The idea that flats on the Pembury will suddenly cost half a million is a joke.
Our Tenants' & Residents' Association is keen to campaign for an increase in the 60% quota. We believe the school should guarantee a place to any applicant for whom it is the nearest school, and try to accommodate as many as possible of other applicants too. Everyone should have the right to a place at their local school.
We are not in a position to launch such a campaign alone, but hope that other TRAs and the teaching unions might take us up on the idea.