A 'One Size Fits All' Bid To Merge Strand On The Green's Two Primary Schools

Local councillor Sam Hearn's blog about his week


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Cllr Sam Hearn who represents the Riverside ward in Chiswick, is chairman of the Chiswick Area Forum. He has written this account of his week as a busy local councillor

Cllr Sam Hearn

Friday 8th January
: An early morning Governors’ meeting at Strand on the Green Junior School followed by a meeting between Governors and three officers from Hounslow Council. Trying very hard to understand why the Council are proposing to merge the Junior and Infant’s schools. There seems little or nothing in this for existing pupils and parents. The possible benefits in the medium term to long term seem remarkably intangible. The base budget of a new joint school would be slashed by £100k a year. It is hard not to be cynical and see this as an illthought out attempt to apply a “one-size-fits-all” policy to two successful schools that are not in need of radical reform. On to the Civic Centre to have my council provided I-Pad fixed for the sixth time in eighteen months. Two other councillors are also there having their council provided equipment sorted out.

Saturday 9th January: Trying to catch up on a backlog of emails on my I-Pad. As per usual the emails include a huge number of adverts that would be blocked by any half decent filtering system. Looking at what needs to be on the agendas of the Pensions Board and the Area Forum. There has been a rush of reports and papers coming forward for the CAF. Good to see that Cllr Denison will be presenting a report on the 2016/17 Budget proposals. Also the developers of the Chiswick Roundabout “Tower of Babel” will be presenting their project. The three Turnham Green Councillors Peter Thompson, Adrian Lee and Samantha Davies oppose the scheme.

Sunday 10th January: Some interesting emails requiring a little thought. Hounslow Highways failure to respond residents’ complaints and enquiries seems to be a common theme in many emails. Hard to erase the memory of the boss of Hounslow Highways telling the CAF that they often do not respond to every email but instead “go out and fix the problem”. I have noticed that tree surgeons are out lopping branches from the street trees. I am a little surprised that no one is complaining to me about this.

Monday 11th January: At the Civic Centre for some Councillor training on how to deal with residents’ housing issues. Officers display lots of hands-on common sense and explain that like Canute they can hold back the tide but “only if the tide really wants to turn”. Void properties owned by the council are apparently being reoccupied more quickly. Some councillors could however still point to houses that had remained unoccupied for two years or more.

Tuesday 12th January: Inspired by last night’s training I began chasing up some intractable housing issues raised by residents e.g. two adults and two young children stuck in a one bedroom flat in a housing association block. The council’s bidding system. Locata, seems to have failed them

Wednesday 13th January: An irate resident contacts me because Hounslow Highways are she thinks proposing to rip up the pavements in her street (Oxford Gardens) and replace them with tarmac. I fire off requests for information to see if this is true. This sounds like a re-run of the Station Gardens debacle at the other end of the Ward. I do hope not.

Thursday 14th January: Shuffling my papers ahead of the Area Forum next Tuesday and posting on ChiswickW4. Thinking hard about what will happen at the briefing meeting tomorrow morning for Parents at Strand Junior School. Reading comments from Infant School parents and governors. No one in favour of amalgamation.

January 15, 2016


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