Toby Young's West London Free School is about to be unveiled as the new occupant of Palingswick House, the building currently inhabited by 23 voluntary sector organisations that have been told they are to be evicted in the name of cutting what Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh refers to as our Council's "debt mountain".
Toby Young, a media personality and regular on the small screen talking about his proposed new school, has been turned down by a number of other prospective landlords and siting his school right in our borough when it was originally slated as being a school for Acton would be controversial. Not least because the school is apparently set to recruit pupils from across London. In other words voluntary sector groups serving Hammersmith & Fulham will have been removed in favour of a 'local' school that serves children predominantly from outside the local area.
As I said when I first reported on this almost a year ago, I am in two minds about the idea of the school itself. I can perfectly see the desire of parents to take charge of their children's education and establish a school that better responds, as they see it, to the needs of their children. On the other hand local schools will be immediately impacted by parents wishing to get a slice of this action and withdraw their kids from those schools.
So we wait and see ... and I should say I have no firm evidence to back this up, but having been told it more than once and from people who do tend to have an insight into these things, I'm just bringing you the word on the street. The Council or West London Free School are free at any time to confirm or deny things...
1730 UPDATE: Labour attack blog "H&Fconwatch" has picked up the story and started the inevitable politicking about this issue. You can expect more of the same if/when the Council confirm or deny the story. More to follow, watch this space.