Furious row erupts over proposed free school in Cradley

Future Education Trust director Mustafa Erol with a poster for a forthcoming public consultation meeting.

Future Education Trust director Mustafa Erol with a poster for a forthcoming public consultation meeting.

First published in News

A SENIOR councillor has voiced serious concerns about the proposed Future Free School in Cradley and Cradley Heath.

The Future Education Trust last week unveiled plans to run a small secondary school for upto 200 pupils and announced it was looking for suitable sites locally.

Representatives from the Trust have held meetings with local politicians including Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris, Cradley Heath and Old Hill Councillor Liz Bowler and Cradley and Wollescote Councillor Tim Crumpton in a bid to get support for the school.

However, Councillor Crumpton is troubled by the proposed Future Free School and questioned the credentials of the organisation behind it.

He said: “I have done some digging and I have serious reservations about the whole project and I certainly do not want the people of Cradley getting their hopes up that a replacement for Cradley High School is a realistic prospect.

“The people behind it seem nice enough when I met them but I seriously believe this organisation is way out of its depth.

He added: “There are some glaring errors in the literature, for instance they refer to a ‘Ministry for Education’ when in the UK there is no such thing.

Cllr Crumpton also contacted the lecturer that is listed as Chair of Governors on the Free School’s website, Dr Ian Williams, who specialises in Muslim education.

In an email to Cllr Crumpton Dr Williams seemed to baulk at the idea of being Chair of Governors, he said: “I am involved in the Free School project though not as clearly defined as the web-site indicates.”

Cllr Crumpton said: “I find it strange that the academic lending his name to the project is an expert in Muslim studies and seems to point that this will in fact be a faith school, which is mentioned nowhere in the literature.

“They talk about a 4plus1 Education Philosophy and there is next to nothing on the internet about this except a religious school somewhere in America.”

“Free schools are a project of Michael Gove’s imagination and I firmly believe they have no place in Dudley borough.”

Mustafa Erol, a Future Education Trust director, hit back at Cllr Crumpton’s claims.

He said: “Our school will be a mainstream school and not a faith school and we have people of all different religions involved.

“We have the credentials to do this as our teaching team and governors, which Dr Williams agreed to be chair, has decades and decades of experience in the education system.

“I do not understand why Cllr Crumpton has said this but I think the best thing that people can do is come to our public consultation on May 15 and see for themselves what we are offering.”

A public consultation meeting is being held at Cradley Liberal Club on Sunday, May 15 between 2pm and 5pm where parents are invited to learn more about the Future Free School.

Comments (5)

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5:59pm Thu 28 Apr 11

Mr r weale says...

How can you shut down a perfectly good modern High school then have the audacity to suggest we accept a tiny piddling faith school that will only teach more Diversity than Cohesion. I for one would settle for no less than a fully functioning school that caters for ALL the children of Cradley not just a select few.
How can you shut down a perfectly good modern High school then have the audacity to suggest we accept a tiny piddling faith school that will only teach more Diversity than Cohesion. I for one would settle for no less than a fully functioning school that caters for ALL the children of Cradley not just a select few. Mr r weale
  • Score: 0

9:34pm Thu 28 Apr 11

Linebacker II says...

The sad fact is that Cradley High was not a "pefectly good" school - as was evidenced by the fact that it was haemorrhaging pupils even before the local authority moved to close it. Parents were already voting with their feet.

And the same will be true of any new free school: either it offers a sperior standard of education that parents are willing to pay for via the government money that will follow their children to the school of their choice; or it will fold. It's that simple.

Furthermore, we have no indication that this new school will be a faith school, other than the fretting aloud of a councillor who has already signalled his skepticism of anything that smacks of putting power over our childrens' education in the hands of parents and governors (as opposed to vested interests like town hall bureaucrats and the teaching trades unions).

Turn up to the meeting; ask searching questions; and then see if this is a project that is worthy of your support.

Besides, what have you got to lose? Isn't good education in the state sector increasingly the privilege of 'a select few' (ie: those parents who manage to buy a house near enough to decent schools like Earls or Windsor, or who can convincingly mumble enough Hail Marys to get their child into Hagley RC Secondary School)?
The sad fact is that Cradley High was not a "pefectly good" school - as was evidenced by the fact that it was haemorrhaging pupils even before the local authority moved to close it. Parents were already voting with their feet. And the same will be true of any new free school: either it offers a sperior standard of education that parents are willing to pay for via the government money that will follow their children to the school of their choice; or it will fold. It's that simple. Furthermore, we have no indication that this new school will be a faith school, other than the fretting aloud of a councillor who has already signalled his skepticism of anything that smacks of putting power over our childrens' education in the hands of parents and governors (as opposed to vested interests like town hall bureaucrats and the teaching trades unions). Turn up to the meeting; ask searching questions; and then see if this is a project that is worthy of your support. Besides, what have you got to lose? Isn't good education in the state sector increasingly the privilege of 'a select few' (ie: those parents who manage to buy a house near enough to decent schools like Earls or Windsor, or who can convincingly mumble enough Hail Marys to get their child into Hagley RC Secondary School)? Linebacker II
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Fri 29 Apr 11

erolm98 says...

There are a few points I need to make regarding Councillor Tim Crumpton claims;
1- The school educational philosophy; 4Plus1 is something we created through experiences and it is to cater an education for our children by giving the power for the most important stakeholders in a child’s education; pupils themselves, teachers, leadership and parents.
2- Regarding the literature mistake he refers to is the ‘Ministry of Education’ in English usage. But in UK it is currently used as ‘Department for Education’. In the UK education history it was used as ‘Minister of Education’ or more recently ‘Secretary of State for Education’ etc. I think it is irrelevant as we are referring the same system
3- Dr Ian Williams is an academic and was Senior Lecturer & Subject Leader in Religious Education at Birmingham City University, currently lecturing at MIHE and fully supporting our application.
4- Our teaching depth and governing body is well capable of delivering the best education to our pupils as they are all experienced teachers, long term governors or head of governors as well as academics in education.
5- Lastly education is for all and will cater for an exclusive broad balanced curriculum. It will not be a faith school.

Please carry on visiting our website to find out further updates on the campaign and support us. Our parents deserve this school or a secondary school in the Cradley / Cradley Heath area.
Mr Erol, Future Free School
There are a few points I need to make regarding Councillor Tim Crumpton claims; 1- The school educational philosophy; 4Plus1 is something we created through experiences and it is to cater an education for our children by giving the power for the most important stakeholders in a child’s education; pupils themselves, teachers, leadership and parents. 2- Regarding the literature mistake he refers to is the ‘Ministry of Education’ in English usage. But in UK it is currently used as ‘Department for Education’. In the UK education history it was used as ‘Minister of Education’ or more recently ‘Secretary of State for Education’ etc. I think it is irrelevant as we are referring the same system 3- Dr Ian Williams is an academic and was Senior Lecturer & Subject Leader in Religious Education at Birmingham City University, currently lecturing at MIHE and fully supporting our application. 4- Our teaching depth and governing body is well capable of delivering the best education to our pupils as they are all experienced teachers, long term governors or head of governors as well as academics in education. 5- Lastly education is for all and will cater for an exclusive broad balanced curriculum. It will not be a faith school. Please carry on visiting our website to find out further updates on the campaign and support us. Our parents deserve this school or a secondary school in the Cradley / Cradley Heath area. Mr Erol, Future Free School erolm98
  • Score: 0

6:12pm Fri 29 Apr 11

erolm98 says...

www.futureeducationt
rust.org.uk
www.futureeducationt rust.org.uk erolm98
  • Score: 0

9:44pm Fri 29 Apr 11

Sam Vimes says...

Is anyone else having difficulty finding the furious row that has erupted?
Is anyone else having difficulty finding the furious row that has erupted? Sam Vimes
  • Score: 0

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