Harlow MP Robert Halfon faces more questions on Sir Frederick Gibberd College
News / Fri 27th Oct 2023 at 03:06pm
ON Friday afternoon, YH spoke to Harlow MP Robert Halfon on the subject of Sir Frederick Gibberd College (SFG).
In many ways, there are short term questions and long term questions.
Mr Halfon has two responsibilities here: One as a a minister in the education department, albeit with the responsibility of apprenticeships and skills and the other as the MP for Harlow.
The short term questions surround what happens next week and how quickly the Year 8 to Year 11 students get back into their temporary accommodation.
The long term questions centre on:
We asked Mr Halfon here and we have also asked a number of other interested parties the sae question.
We have also asked a number of organisations down in Cornwall the same questions regarding their schools that were demolished. They are Newquay Primary Academy, Launceston Primary Academy and Sky Academy. They have yet to reply.
We have now published over 25 stories on this subject. At its heart is making sure that all those children get a decent education but we also have an eye on a large number of questions that we would like answered.
Did you hear it? What? He always works hard for Harlow. But how many questions did he answer in nearly eight minutes of the interview? One at best relating to meeting the staff and parents of the school. It would be great to be at that meeting to hold him to account for his inaction. Will you vote for him come the election where I suspect the 2010 note in the Treasury will be used to show he is working hard for Harlow again. It is nonsense but many will vote on the strength of it!
Do not forget that Robert Halfon is prioritising private schools like Saint Nicholas' over SFG. He has plenty of time for photo opportunities at the exclusive fee-paying school - see a recent YourHarlow article about it. Also, do not forget that Robert Halfon is a high-ranking Minister of State at the Department for Education. He is as much to blame as the contractors.
The message from Halfon is - if you are too poor to afford a private school, you belong to a crumbling state school. Received loud and clear!
So why is Baroness Barran only now (4 months after SFG was declared unsafe) being invited to meet school staff and parents? Why have the digging of the necessary footings not been done by now? And Robert whilst personally you may not have direct responsibility for schools you are part of a department and a Government that does! The DFE and the Government of which you are a part collectively need to get a grip!
This Tory County Council closed Passmores school and built a replacement at Brays Grove and called it Passmores even though it was not in Passmores. Then after a few years they decided to build a new School in the same place where Passmores was originally. Now we find it is not fit for purpose, the thing that is not fit for purpose is this Tory County Council and Robert Halfon.
Giving an unelected investment banker (The Right Honourable The Baroness Barran MBE) the brief of Minister for School Buildings show how little Robert Halfon and his government care about the school estates. Very easy to give the hot potato to an unelected politician because ultimately they will never be held to account - they have a life peerage and will stay as a legislator, ruling over the British people for LIFE. The Baroness Barran could build a replacement SFG with nothing more than bales of hay and she will still claim her £350 basic allowance + expenses as a peer for LIFE. Notice how Halfon kept using The Baroness Barran as a deflector shield throughout the interview.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH ROBERT, Time to go.. have some dignity APOLOGISE and leave. Harlow deserves better, time for change.
Mischief!! Quite unbelievable! YOU AND YOUR GOVERNMENT ARE FULLY RESPONSIBLE . TAKE RESPONSIBILITY, what little respect I had for you has just gone out of the window, trying to shift the blame for this shameful shambles. God knows Harlow deserves better. Quite a pathetic excuse for an MP.
The last point you make is one I posed weeks ago.... someone or somebody somewhere signed off on a building which was unsafe, allowed children and staff to be put at risk and ultimately caused this fiasco. Of course in the heat of the moment with the absolute priority being safe education of children this of secondary importance. BUT IT SHOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN.
Most people still think of Passmores where the old school, not where it is now Brays Grove
Has he been to the hand gesture training to try and show sincerity? Failed He didn’t successfully answer one single question but constantly reiterated it was nothing to do with him. He sidestepped question about using other facilities and passed the buck back to the school “because they know what’s best for the pupils”….a government first . He claims he always does his best for Harlow…his influences and promises on other Harlow improvements have seemingly fallen by the wayside. He constantly mentions “fit for purpose “ the question has to be asked….is he fit for purpose? .???
To most of Mr Halfon's party, public images and gimmicks like giving our schools to unelected bodies and forming 'Academies' - wasting money on gravy- train contracting while teachers keep the kids solid with materials. Because of the academies being treated as virtually independent, we still don't know how many of their buildings, all constructed in the relevant period, have the weak concrete as well as dubious off site fabrication. There were a number of estates in Harlow built where underpinning or demolition have been required- are there schools built then that need thorough examination. They were built by Essex County council or the so-called 'Development Corporation'- neither the elected Council. Meanwhile, on top of the pressures of keeping up with the demands of Ofsted, the National Curriculum (in constant flux) and the exam circus, each day's education offer is in doubt. 'Dotheboys Hall Academy' in which Dickens sent up the so called 'Academies' run purely for gain, is falling down. The Victorian three deckers and their pre-war successors are still sound though their plumbing, wiring etc might need updating, but sadly Harlow doesn't have any. instead they have gimmicks and speculators!
Robert is a good MP for Harlow however his Party have totally lost its direction, from taxes, housing immigration crime and education they have failed miserably, they allowed vote winning Boris to be hijacked by Sunak and Hunt, shame Rob as you will certainty lose your seat, not because Chris Vince is better purely because your party has failed.
Partly agree Pedro, but Robert has dropped the ball and his miserable performance in this piece seeking to blame shift simply reflects what little impact and influence he has within this government and his own party. Time for change, if for no other reason that continually re-electing this bunch of conservative incompetents seems to embolden their arrogant misplaced sense of authority and entitlement. Enough is enough.
How much control do people think Robert Actually has though day to day Minister are mostly figure heads
Ministers are accountable for the actions of the department. That is part of the Westminster system. They give the final sign-off for the actions of their civil servants and ultimately provide the policy direction. It is absolutely within the control of Ministers and Secretaries of State, Adam.