Does Greenwich Labour back free schools?

One of the strange things about local politics in this area is that nobody knows what the party in charge actually stands for, apart from in elections every four years. Unlike their colleagues in, say, Southwark, where they hold conferences and talk to people, Greenwich Labour gets more inward by the year. For example, there’s lots about Nick Raynsford on its website, but precious little about the council it’s run for 41 years. Wonder why that is?

Which is why this tweet from Labour big gun Lord Adonis raised an eyebrow. He’d been to a do for the Greenwich Free School – based in these portable buildings at the foot of Shooters Hill – and emerged impressed.

Backed by the council? Since when did our Labour council decide to back one of the coalition’s most controversial schemes? I imagine a few local members won’t be happy about that.

At least healthcare cabinet member John Fahy, was quick to wash his hands of it.

As for the rest of them, heaven knows. Maybe there’ll be some answers at tomorrow night’s council meeting (Woolwich Town Hall, 7pm, should you fancy it).

Back on the Shooters Hill Road, though, and the Greenwich Free School is planning to refurbish the old nurses’ home at Adair House for next year. In the meantime, take another look at that banner at the front – it seems that teaching spelling might be a bit of a challenge.


  1. The article by the Southwark Council ,leader is thoughtful and it’s decent of them to put it on-line. However it was made at a private meeting for Labour members which hardly makes them a model of openness and participation. Still; as you say better than Greenwich.

  2. To be fair, Twigg has said that the party isn’t rejecting the Free Schools policy out of hand. To agree to a school if it is right in your area would still be in keeping with the line taken by the Shadow Education Secretary.

  3. […] I have been talking to those involved in the Greenwich Free School and it seems to have got off to a good start. I was told that for the first time Bexley parents are desperate to get their children into a Greenwich School! The online conversations also seem positive. Stephen Twigg, the shadow secretary of education has not been against Free Schools and, of course, Labours Andrew Adonis is a cheerleader for them. This explains the support by some, though not all, of Greenwich Labour to the Free School. […]

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