A leading headteacher of a top-performing secondary school has attacked Hammersmith and Fulham Council saying that “politics has overridden the value of education”. Carol Jones the Head of Fulham Cross Girls’ School had improved results by 12.5% during her three years in the role. Fulham Cross has also become the only non-faith secondary school in the Borough to have a waiting list. But, Carol Jones is now moving to lead a school in Hornsey, north London after H&F Conservatives proposed to merge her school with Henry Compton School on a single site.
The speculation is that this is because the Conservative Administration want to realise the price of the school land. The school sell-off programme began in September 2006 when H&F Council announced plans to close Hurlingham and Chelsea Secondary School in Sands End, Fulham - having valued the land at £24million. However, their plans were thwarted when it became clear that an independent adjudicator was likely to halt them in their tracks. Conservative councillors were then forced to apologise publicly to the borough’s parents with Cllr. Stephen Greenhalgh (Con), the Leader of H&F Council, admitting that he’d “made mistakes”.
Further chaos ensued when the Administration unsuccessfully tried to merge two more schools in the north of the Borough.
Then, in September 2007 H&F’s Conservative Administration closed the high-performing Peterborough Primary School amid a public outcry. At the time, they denied claims that they were earmarking the majority of the £11million land value for their Asset Reduction Strategy. Instead, they promised that all of this money would be re-invested to improve another school. This pledge was then controversially dropped five months later while presenting plans to the Annual Budget Meeting when the Administration conceded that £8million from the sale could be used for “other purposes”.
Carol Jones made her comments to Rebecca Kent of the Hammersmith & Fulham Gazette. The full interview appears on the front page of this week’s edition which can be purchased from local newsagents.