Harlow MP Robert Halfon on SFG College, autumn statement and record net migration figures
News / Sun 26th Nov 2023 at 05:04am
ON FRIDAY afternoon, Harlow MP Robert Halfon attended a groundbreaking ceremony at Burnt Mill Academy.
After the event, we spoke to Mr Halfon regarding the journey to get a new school built.
We also asked him what he hoped parents would hear at the SFG College meeting on Thursday.
Finally, we asked him to reflect on record net migration figures.
It's not "bad luck. It's incompetence at every stage and level of the whole process.
Robbie's right, but it not just incompetence that causes the chaos at SfG, it's lies and dishonesty from the Conservatives and the DfE too.
"A bit of light" - are you kidding me? You have the oppsoite of the midas touch. Any school building you touch turns into a dangerous turd.
Bad luck is not the same as complete incompetence by the DfE, and a lack of due diligence to get the job done properly for a permanent home for SFG, that's simply not bad luck by any means. I am really hoping for some honesty and transparency at Thursday's meeting, a 'little bit of light' would be good for all of the SFG family as we are completely in the dark about the long term plans for a permanent solid school, and we have the RIGHT to be able to make informed choices of WHERE to send our children to school based on facts, not false promises. We were promised the portakabins by mid Nov, and now stuck with the temporary tents until April at least. Personally, from the conservative government and DfE...I want to see strong leadership, I want to see action, I want to see assurance that there is funding to fix this SFG complete mess, I don't want to hear woolly plans for temporary long terms solutions that frankly fall short of what the SFG students and staff deserve. The SFG staff, students and families have been immensely let down. Year 11 students will get no consideration for their GCSE exams results despite being very much disadvantaged during this crucial year through no fault of their own. How is that fair? It was mentioned previously about funding for extra tuition, would you like to share how much that is? I believe its not even enough to cover 30 mins of private tuition per child per year. At the very least they should have extra time allowed in their exams.
Well it’s good to hear an apology from our MP, for so many failures over the SFG scandal, but actions count for a lot more, and actions are still woefully lacking, there’s some rightfully very concerned/upset parents, children and staff. The emergency “emergency” SFG recovery plan of upgrading the tents and unhygienic toilets into prefab classrooms has now gone well past its initial lifespan, pupils still in winterised marque tent upgrades, and the prefab class rooms delivery is well past the initial plan, now set back to April 2024. Seriously……! Its a story of delays in the planning department ever since SFG opened it seems. Parents seem to be put in a position when we should be grateful for poor provision, and even poor emergency recovery plans that have not delivered. The SFG children are still in a worst position compared to an equivalent class that’s set in a permanent building which enjoys the time of collection and storage possibilities that comes with a permanent home. Actions are more powerful than words, and actions have been lacking. Then did I hear £30million for new modular build on the Burnt Mill site…..seriously, the DfE are going to have another go at being “Bob the Builder”, but on a different site! They are still struggling to approach thread bare credibility in the SFG ongoing fiasco which was both modular and traditional build. I mean, how can they mess both builds up?! Let alone get the finished articles past building inspection. It’s a catalogue of incompetence and lacking due diligence. Then parent still have not been informed what’s actually wrong with the SFG buildings – time for transparency on that! Where’s the money gone, someone’s made a pretty penny, and with Caledonian Modular ceasing to exist, so its unlikely to even be partially reclaimed – how convenient. So the £29million SFG build was just a local slip up…..Lets say £29million with the respect it deserves (what else could have been funded if it was not flippantly wasted)! And then consider having another go on the Burnt Mill site, and the long talked about new Harlow Hospital. Then to add insult I reference the Guardian article Sat 25 Nov 2023: ‘A disgrace’: headteachers attack Hunt’s failure to provide money for schools in autumn statement theres a bit: With education unions determined to make staff shortages an election issue, parents can now search the newly relaunched School Cuts website: https://schoolcuts.org.uk/ Harlow parents read the stated cuts…. SFG is coming up with -£474 cut per pupil in 2024-25, Burnt Mill -£218 cut per pupil 2024-25, Mark Hall -£185, Stewards -£317, Passmores Academy -£300. So, from a very concerned parent, I really want to see our MP step up, recognise the scandal that festers in his own party, and not accept sub mediocrity as even close to acceptable. There has been a history of failure, its time to actually help SFG be the school it always wanted to be, the school that’s appropriately funded and that meets our Head Teachers vision and aspirations.
I absolutely do not begrudge the Burnt Mill community their refurbishement at all, but let's be clear that the work at Burnt Mill is in no way light at the end of the tunnel for the SFG community. To claim otherwise is insulting and disrespectful to every pupil, parent and member of staff affected. Quite frankly Mr Halfon you let yourself down.
What will be a great shame is at the next GE is Rob losing his seat because of lies and failures by Conservative central office, Rob has worked hard for ALL Harlow residents, is approachable and always listens to people. Something the likes of Sunak, Hunt & co could do well to learn from.
I really like Robert , I just hope he stands for the disabled who are being attacked right now by his party. He’s lucky with his job because it accommodates his needs. We don’t have many jobs like that anymore. Companies virtue signal, but when it comes to the crunch they won’t employ an unwell person. It’s a very cruel thing the conservatives are doing attacking the disabled in their autumn statement. They should be attacking these men who hang around the water gardens who look perfectly capable of work- yet they can’t work because they are seeking asylum here. You can keep avoiding the fact there are too many people here and the tories failed to control our borders.
Wow what a joke of a politician I definitely won’t be voting for you for the next term. U have some big cojones to sit there and say it’s been a hard time for SFG what would you know. 30 million on another new school which will probably fail. Don’t vote for Robert the let down Halfon
Sally - this iteration of the Conservatives have been attacking the disabled since they got into power. Halfon has been part of that since day one. It's nothing new.
Having paid a last visit along with about 400 ex pupils to Burnt Mill School on Saturday before demolition takes place, I have to say I fail to see how this work is being given more priority than fixing SFG. I realise of course that contracts may have been let and some work may have started before the problems at SFG came to light but large cabin like structures have been placed on site where pupils will be decamped until work is completed in 2025. There are probably some underlying issue with Burnt Mill but all the windows and panels look quite new and much of it internally looks in pretty good order.
I agree, Nicholas. I also recall an interview done by YourHarlow a few years back where Helena Mills CBE proudly states how the school does not need a new building when asked about how she feels re: Passmores having a new one. She then goes on to say how Burnt Mill has many of the facilities other schools do not have e.g. a swimming pool.