The BBC is reporting that H&F Council has failed a competence test and missed out on a multi-million pound refurbishment programme for local primary schools. The Beeb explained that H&F “did not satisfy the DCSF with their building and refurbishment plans and will not receive their allocation of the £1.75bn immediately".
H&F Council’s Conservative Administration had already been telling local parents that the money was on its way and so this news will dash local parents hopes. As usual, H&F Council’s press office fails to make any mention of this bad news or the reasons why the Council failed local children and parents by not being up to competency standards. But, you can read the BBC article here.
This news comes after two and a half years in which H&F’s Conservative Administration has publicly lost the confidence of local parents and been criticised by its own advisers. The Conservative run council set up a schools commission, chaired by a Tory Peer, as a face-saving exercise after it failed in its bid to close a high performing secondary school and sell off the land. However, the Commission lambasted the Administration setting out its failing and explaining why it had “lost the confidence of head teachers and parents”. Around that time, it looked like the Conservatives had realised that they were damaging local children’s chances when, on 27th June 2007, Cllr, Stephen Greenhalgh (Con), the Leader of H&F Council admitted that his Administration “had made mistakes”. But, he and his colleagues then carried on with their plans to close more local schools, selling off the land to private establishments and being accused by local parents of undermining their children’s secondary education. Then, earlier this year a leading head teacher took the unprecedented step of publicly criticising the Administration telling the press that “politics has overridden the value of education” in Hammersmith and Fulham.
It will be interesting to see how H&F Council responds to this latest debacle. If the Administration follows its previous form then it will simply use its propaganda machine to deny there is any problem whatsoever. Nobody will be sacked and nobody will resign. I will report more on this as we continue to push the Council to act in the interest of all of the borough's children.