I’ve now received a formal reply from the Chief Executive’s Office from Tower Hamlets Council with regards to landscaping and maintenance of Parkview Estate and in particular the areas around Sankey and Rosebery House.

Chief Executive Will Tuckey has invited me to take part in an Estate Inspection walk and has agreed to cut down a shrub, which obviously obstructs access to essential maintenance areas but in principle has refused to further consider planting and maintenance policies.

The website of the Housing Ombudsman recommends that mediating action should be taken for 8 weeks after a decision and therefore I have contacted our Member of Parlimant Rushanara Ali to get a revision of the planting and maintenance policy on the estate.

Main points in contention

  • planting of large trees at 2 metres distance from houses prevents maintenance, obstructs views and causes damage to buildings and gutterings. Only dwarf trees are suitable for planting near houses.
  • Allowing tree saplings to grow around the houses and merely sawing them down to size once a year. Remove those hard bushes and trees.
  • Aim to get a planting scheme of child- and maintenance friendly flowering  or fruiting shrubs around the houses to encourage small mammals, butterflies, bugs and bees. The currnt thorny rosebushes and even thorny holly prevent gardening and the hard leaved bushes and shrubs do not encourage wildlife.
  • maintenance of fruit trees already planted, as who is going to pick up all that fruit and prevents it from rotting on the ground?

I’ll await a reply from Rushanara and if that does not come to a satisfactory conclusion will contact the Housing Ombudsman on the issues.

Don’t you agree that it would be worth asking the team from Springwatch or even Garden Rescue to have a look into the issue?

Parkview estate has a superb potential to become a model estate for inner city gardening.





The proposed closure of Raine’s Foundation school

Today, 7. May 2019, a day before the 300 years celebrations of the school, there was a meeting at Raine’s Foundation school with a proposal to close the school. Tomorrow at St. Paul’s there will be another celebratory service for parents and pupils to mark this wonderful occasion of 300 years of Raine’s.

Today’s meeting was called for and conducted by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and it was a totally inadequately planned stitch-up.

The hall was packed with parents and students who demanded answers from Christine McInnes, Divisional Director of Education.

Yet the meeting was very poorly conducted. There was no panel of specialists to answer questions of all types e.g.

  • What will happen to the school buildings
  • Will pupils out of the borough get support in finding other schools
  • Will the Curriculum at Oaklands be the same as it is at Raine’s
  • Can the school be kept open as it is
  • Will parents get financial help with a new school uniform?

Pupils were told at the school several days ago about the proposed closure and pupils were sent into a state of shock. All those actively preparing for their GCSE and A-Levels were made anxious and nervous and were caused severe distress by the unprofessionally delivered news.

Today people asked where is the

  • Member of Parliament Rushanara Ali, where is the
  • Mayor of Tower Hamlets?
  • Why were there no councillors to support the parents?

There was no proper loudspeaker system, parents and pupils were perched into the hall on group tables and uproar occurred when the representative from the Education Authority kept on smiling when people were infuriated and wanted answers. Parents remarked that if their children smirked and smiled at teachers as Christine McInnes smirked and smiled at them, the children would have been sent into detention.

There are already plans to use the current former Lower School building in Old Bethnal Green Road, as Sixth Form Building to be managed by Oaklands school.

Oaklands doesn’t offer a Sport A-level program. Their website does not elaborate on their Sport’s science option, it is blank. Raine’s offers the Edexcel BTEC Sport (Certificate)

There is no detailed program to transfer pupils from Raine’s to Oaklands with adequate continuation of subjects studied and pupils from outside of the borough cannot be guaranteed support in out-of-the-borough schools.

Parents widely expressed their frustration that Raine’s Foundation pupils should be sent to Oaklands instead as Oaklands has a totally different ethos and pastoral care. Oaklands is not affiliated to any church and parents sent their children to Raine’s because they like that it is being run in conjunction with the Church of England.

The meeting was a total shambles and badly run. Parents had been advised that a consultation will be published on the Tower Hamlets council website during June 2019 for 1 months.

However it is strongly advised that parents should complain as much as possible in writing to

  • local councillors and the Mayor of Tower Hamlets
  • the local MP Rushanara Ali
  • the local education authority, who push the closure because of financial difficulties, due to falling pupil numbers, via their consultation process.
  • There is also a parent petition against the closure in circulation, please ask around.

ToynbeeJust as I attended a council run workshop on Community Cohesion at Toynbee Hall this morning; I am shocked how badly handled this situation is.

This situation affects all parents who value a Church of England education for their children. We do not want to have this choice taken away from us. Parents are in total uproar and pupils are in shock, that their education is not taken seriously.

We constantly get told that there is a lack of school places, yet the local education authority wants to tell us that there is no interest for Raine’s Foundation places, when Raine’s Foundation used to be a very popular school.