I am delighted that in September a free school is opening in Third Avenue, Queen's Park - just off the Harrow Road in north Westminster.
Queen's Park Ward is pretty safe Labour territory on Westminster Council – I am all too well aware of this having stood in the past as Conservative candidate there in the 1990s.
Naturally the local Labour MP Karen Buck is less keen. The Guardian quote her comments in their hostile report. These days the last refuge of a scoundrel is to complain about the consultation process. In fact the Ark Atwood Primary Academy, the school in question have been consulting exhaustively.
Opponents of the free school fret that it may cause competition for Queen's Park Primary School. The Guardian report says:
There is broad agreement that Westminster needs a new primary school. A lack of places has left more than 300 children with no school to go to. But not in Queen's Park, where some existing schools have reception-year spaces.
Should there not be a pause to consider what it says about Queen's Park Primary School that they have spare places despite this general shortage?
Does it not indicate a reluctance on the part of parents to send their children to this school? Ofsted regard it is "satisfactory" – that is their code for dire.
The author of The Guardian article, Green Party candidate Susanna Rustin admits that while she lives in Third Avenue she decided to send her own children to schools in Kensington & Chelsea.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Queen's Park Primary School, is it?
Karen Buck is siding with the vested interests of the teachers unions against the interests of parents and children in her constituency.