Labour Councillor twitters about Crown Woods

by Cllr Spencery Drury

As Labour Leadership hopeful Cllr John Fahy takes to Twitter, Greenwich Conservatives are asking if he should be using this medium to attack members of our local community?

In a tweet last week, Woolwich Councillor John Fahy took time out of what was clearly a busy day to tweet about Crown Woods School (shown below).



Now the question arises, what is Cllr Fahy really concerned about with Crown Woods?  Some of the options are:-

  • It has managed to nearly double its GCSE exam results from 32% in 2011 to 60% in 2012 for 5 A* to C GCSE including English and Maths. 
  • The school’s innovative new model of teaching has created three different 11-16 schools on one site,  with one referred to openly by parents, students, teachers and many Councillors as a Grammar School.  This allows students to move easily between schools as they develop over the course of their secondary education and teachers to provide an education appropriate to each student’s needs.
  • The Headmaster put his reputation on the line by trying to treat parents in Eltham as customers, able to choose to send their children to Grammar Schools in Bexley or Bromley and so designed a system of education in his school which might appeal to residents in out local area.
  • Conservative Education spokesman Cllr Dermot Poston has regularly spoken out in favour of the school, making clear his support for Grammar School education.
  • The Council’s incompetence over the PFI build meant that the students had to move in to the new school during the Easter before the 2011 exams, something which many attribute to the low exam results that year.

Now apart from the last one, I don’t see any of these as concerns and the PFI mess could be addressed by Crown Woods becoming an academy. 

It seems to me that Cllr Fahy should be congratulating Headmaster at Crown Woods rather than making oblique comments which could reasonably be construed as applying to his ‘personal ambition’.  In particular, as a teacher, I know how upsetting it is to be accused of not putting the students’ needs first and this sort of pointless attack on someone who is helping to ensure Eltham’s children get the education they need is completely unnecessary. 

Once again, we have Labour’s Woolwich Councillors attacking Eltham, but in this case they seem to be going for an individual because they are applying for Academy status which might bring independence from the Labour Council’s iron grip.  I think it worth noting that the most successful schools in Greenwich are already independent of the Council in one way or another. 

As a matter of interest, Greenwich Conservatives have decided that opening a new Grammar School in Greenwich will be a key pledge in our manifesto for next year.  An expansion of Bexley Grammar sounds ideal, maybe on the Blackheath Bluecoats site?