Objection to controversial Richmond school approval

May 25, 2012

The Accord Coalition – which campaigns for inclusive education – has expressed dismay at Richmond Council’s controversial decision last night to accept a bid for a new voluntary aided Catholic school.

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, said ‘This decision means opening a school that can discriminate against non-Catholics in its admission policies, whereas the area needs a school open to children of all faiths and none. The Accord Coalition had supported local efforts to provide a more open system of education. Sadly the Council and Diocese have ignored calls from both inside and outside the Borough against opening a school that will judge the children it admits on faith grounds’.

The decision was made at a meeting of its Cabinet Committee last night. It follows on from a recommendation, by seven votes to six, by the local authority’s Education Scrutiny Committee on May 15th to approve the plan. Those voting in favour included the scrutiny committee’s representative from the local Catholic Diocese.

The plan has proved highly contentious, and attracted national media coverage last month when it was revealed that local MP and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Rt Hon Vincent Cable MP, and his Cabinet colleague, the Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, had both expressed their support for the proposed school to be able to admit only up to half of its pupils on religious grounds. The Council has controversially also provided support for the proposed school, including buying a site, whereas religious sponsors normally provide the land at faith schools.


Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign is a grass roots group that has brought together local people of a wide range of beliefs and backgrounds, including some Roman Catholics, who are campaigning to ensure that new schools in the Borough of Richmond are open to all children, regardless of religious belief or practice. RISC was formally endorsed by the Accord Coalition last ye

4 Responses to Objection to controversial Richmond school approval

  1. VR on May 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Please be aware that your text is wrong when you say “the area needs a school open to children of all faiths and none”

    The council have been very clear that they do not NEED a secondary school. They are trying to help over 200 Catholic children who leave Catholic primary schools every year and leave the borough having to do so.

    I appreciate that you do not support VA faith schools, but giving a false picture of what is happening in Richmond does your cause no favours.

    A new Catholic secondary school has been supported by the majority of respondants to the pre-statutory consultation, statutory consultation and council consultation.

    This school is parent led, not church led and is a welcome addition to Richmond’s family of schools.

    • Justin Owen on May 27, 2012 at 7:21 am

      Your comment that Richmond does not NEED a new secondary school shows a total disregard of the facts known to parents of any child at a state run primary school in the Richmond area where year on year bulge classes are now the norm.
      If some schools now taking up to a 50% increase in yearly intake does not indicate that more school places at secondary level will soon be needed then the is no evidence which does.
      Local Catholics wish to actively discriminate against children of different faiths and seem to regard others’ unwillingness to allow this as discrimination against them.
      To say the school is parent led is untrue as well, as there has been a well known campaign to highlight the issue from the pulpit,.

  2. Richmond Resident on May 27, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Justin – this has been a parent led campaign – parents have been writing to the diocese and council for years petitioning for this school. Of course local priests have been supportive but the two petitions were set up by local parents and it is parents who have talked to other parents at school, been available after church to explain the proposals etc.

    I know that Risc would like everyone to believe that they are up against the ‘mighty power of the Church’ but it is parent power that has made this a successful campaign.

    Personally, I am praying that, with the other (bigger) site available at Edgerton Road (less that half a mile away from Clifden Road) and with the positive looking free school proposals, there is an opportunity for joy all round.

    I think that

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