Friday 21 December 2012

French parent voices doubts about Wembley Lycée

French parents in Central London have not been too impressed by the possibility of a  Lycée in Wembley.  A  French parent sent me this statement:
We were all surprised by the decision because it does not reconcile with Wembley regeneration plans with the creation of jobs for the Wembley local community nor the creation of school places for the local Wembley kids !! Basically it will be a rich kids school for parents living in Westminster and Chelsea. Although the last Brent Executive meeting suggested that they needed the money for the new Civic Centre (last Brent Executive minutes on the net).

Indeed a French school will provide jobs for builders for a while and a few 'dinner ladies'. The rest of the staff lives in Central London. The French children going to school in Wembley will be transient i.e. go into the borough for school and go back home to their Central London homes. Most French families live in the vicinity of the current schools. 

The French community is not happy with the choice of Wembley because they will be imposed Wembley for their children regardless of their home address in London. 

In France and in the UK, the school for your children is normally decided upon by your home address. This means that for those French parents who have three children at different school  locations (South Kensington, Kentish Town, Wembley) will be expected to do the school run between South Kensington,. Kentish Town and Wembley simultaneously for 09.00am by tube!!! 

When asked about this, the French Embassy dismissed the parents' concerns. with a 'take it or leave it' attitude.
Moreover French parents are very worried at letting their 10-11 years old children commute on their own from Central London to Wembley and back. The timings of the French school day is anything between 08.00 and 18.00 (unlike the UK). Furthermore, it appears that the children might have to walk 15 minutes or so, on their own, from Wembley Park station into a tunnel/motorway to reach Brent Town Hall. Again the Embassy does not seem to be concerned about the safety or welfare of kids nor about the time that these kids will need to spend in commuting  from their home in Central London to go to school and back.. The Embassy is treating children as though they were adults going to a new place of work.

Another problem? What will happen when there are no tubes to get from Central London to Wembley? bus? car? What time of the morning will these kids need to get up if taking a bus from South. Ken or Battersea to go to Wembley for 09.00!? Again the French Embassy did not seem to care too much.


Anonymous said...

Can hardly wait for the school to celebrate the 75th anniversary in 2015 of French advanced defensive military leadership.

Anonymous said...

Are you against this too Martin? You seem opposed to everything

Martin Francis said...

I am not opposed to 'everything' but report with a critical eye that goes beyond passively reproducing PR. This parent contacted me to put her views. I would rather a Lycee than yet another hotel or a supermarket but would have preferred a scheme that retained some community use - perhaps as a base for voluntary organisations. This may still be possible for part of the building.

There may be traffic issues in the future as neither the Ark or Preston Manor are operating at their all-through capacity yet. If the Lycee has 1,500 students in addition and some arrive by car there will be implications for congestion for a road that is already chockablock during the school run period.

On the plus side there could be some sharing of teaching with other local schools and pupils sharing some lessons. That may stop any of the street rivalries between schools that sometimes arise.

Anonymous said...

Martin, I get the impression you hardly know what you are talking about.

Wembley Park tube station is less than 10 minutes away from the town hall. In addition, there is neither a "motorway" nor a "tunnel". There is, I think what is called an "A" road, but also an appropriate set of traffic lights to enable pedestrians to cross safely.

I read your comments about parents doing the school run to 3 different schools over and over again. I am still struggling to understand it. As you said, school places are allocated on the basis of a family's address. How could a family have three different addresses?

I take your point on traffic. Is there anywhere in London which wold not suffer from similar issues?

"What will happen when there are no tubes to get from Central London to Wembley?" Ever Londoner relies on the tube to get around, and the City will come to a standstill if the tube stops running. When will there be no tube running to Wembley? This argument is moot.

I am unsure about your agenda, butget your facts right at least!

Martin Francis said...

I think you are mistaking what the parent wrote for my views. The posting clearly states 'A French parent sent me this statement:'

Incidentally, since this article was published the Michaela Free School has purchased a building just opposite Wembley Park Station. This makes three schools within 10 minutes of each other and another, Preston Manor just a little further away.