Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

HarringayOnline is not what it used to be for politics - Haringey cabinet sackings edition

Just take for example the lack of coverage of one of our local councillors being sacked from the cabinet on New Year's Eve and replaced with another one of our local councillors a couple of days into the new year. Covered in OnLondon here.

Clive Carter posted it on OpinoN8 (Crouch End's forum) but hardly anyone reads that compared to HoL. Anyway, his post is here.

Instead we're more often than not name calling, selling stuff and recommending tradespeople. We used to be better than this.

Tags for Forum Posts: ahmet, brabazon, cabinet, council, haringey, politics, sacking

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Alan Stanton provides this link via twitter regarding the use of the funding (to the Fortismere site): 

Having been formed through the merger of three schools over the past 100 years, we are fortunate to occupy a large, spacious site. However, being made up of several separate buildings, all of differing ages, brings with it particular problems.

In recent years, as the school has developed and improved, the quality of some of the buildings has not kept pace. As a result, we have two canteens (one in North Wing and one in South Wing), neither of which is really fit for purpose, and the Sixth Form/LINC block in no way reflects the high quality of education on offer to young people from the local area.

In partnership with Haringey Council, the Governors of Fortismere have been discussing the options for making much-needed improvements to the site, and this briefing sets out the proposal.


Fortismere’s two canteens offer a wide variety of food and drink to some 1,200 students and 200 staff members every day. Given that students in years 7 to 11 are not allowed to leave the site between 8.30am and 3.20pm (unless for specific reasons), the ability to provide nutritious and appealing food on-site is essential. Currently, South Wing Canteen is housed in a portacabin with limited seating or wet-weather protection. North Wing Canteen is situated in the foyer and is also cramped.

Break-time lasts from 10am to 10.20am each day and lunchtime lasts from 12.25pm to 1.15pm. Ensuring that all students and staff have time to queue, select and eat their food during that time has become increasingly challenging. We are therefore exploring the possibility of commissioning a single purpose-built canteen to cater for all students and staff.

Concerns about the current Sixth Form/LINC block are more complex. The Sixth Form and LINC are housed in the oldest part of the site – a Victorian 3-storey building. In recent years, despite our best efforts to maintain the structure, it has started to deteriorate; the roof leaks, the sash windows are ill-fitting, the flooring is uneven and it is impossible to maintain an ambient temperature. Conversely, the educational standard of our Sixth Form goes from strength to strength (with 70% of students gaining A* to B grades at A Level in 2015), and the specialist support delivered by LINC is widely acknowledged. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels, however, and if we want to continue providing this quality of education, we need a building that reflects our vision.

Project Objectives

The key objectives of the project are:

  • To contribute to high quality learner outcomes by replacing outdated and unsuitable sixth form accommodation
  • To enhance the overall learning outcomes at the school by making improvements to facilities
  • To replace current kitchen and dining facilities in the South Wing and explore the potential of combining existing North Wing dining facilities
  • A new sixth form wing would aim to provide facilities to support up to 500 sixth form students
  • To enable more Haringey young people to benefit from outstanding sixth form education within the borough, and, in particular, to create stronger links with schools in the east of the borough which do not have sixth forms
  • To carry out all plans with the minimum of disruption so that the school can continue to focus on teaching and learning.

More @ https://www.fortismere.haringey.sch.uk/news/?pid=97&nid=4&s...

Two things stand out in the schools thing. The first is that the children are not allowed out to request the healthiest high street in the borough, perhaps even in London. Surely given the standards at this school and the catchment this is not too much to ask? The other thing is that the value of the land that the school occupies is not apparent, just the value of the mortgage. I would also say that an academisation company will be put off by this debt.

John, apparently there's a past PFI  deal with is inactive or suspended because Jarvis went into adminstration.) (You'll know the correct terminology.) I'm wondering what happens if and when the school starts realising land assets? Do the administrators ask for a cut?)

In reply to Osbawn's question about other schools needing capital funds.

Fortismere School decided to become a Foundation School. This means it is funded by central government, which meets all capital and running costs. The governing body employs the staff.

My understanding is that the Governing Body also owns the school's land - in Fortismere's case, some twenty acres. If you want to see what they own, Clive Carter has put together some aerial photos. While Martin Ball spent part of a Sunday taking photos from outside the school fences.

The questions then arise of why Fortismere have come to Haringey Council for a major slice of the Council's capital reserves. And how Joe Ejiofor got involved in that plan.

Joe is no longer on the Fortismere Governing Body. But plainly when he was a Governor then, wearing his governor 'hat' he was fully entitled to take part and support the school's plans. But he should have - and presumably did - separate that entirely from his elected role as a councillor and as Claire Kober's Deputy Leader and now Leader.

He should have declared and "recused" himself from any Council meetings or discussions where he may have had a conflict of interest. Again I would have assumed that he did so. Though that remains to be confirmed. There are some suggestions that he may have raised the possibility of cash for Fortismere under the last Council.

But far more worrying is how the proposed £35.9 million suddenly appeared in the Council's budget papers. The school's website mentions joint Haringey/Fortismere "Board" meetings - from 2016. Who was at those meetings? Who authorised the meetings and who attended from Haringey?

Does either the school or the Council have proper minutes? I can't find them. After all, when there's a discussion about millions of pounds of public cash and twenty acres of the most valuable land in the borough I'd expect some careful recording. This is not a chat about a bike shed.

And yes, Osbawn, there are many other Haringey schools and other buildings - which have not been transferred to unaccountable unelected Boards - and which also need maintaining or rebuilding. The Council can't spend the money twice.

Could the funding have been granted under delegated authority? We had something similar happen here locally when funding was swilled into a budget for an initiative for which there was a questionable need. I tracked what happened on that occasion through published cabinet papers. 

I don't know, Hugh.

In the distant days before 1 January 2019  when Zena Brabazon was still a Haringey "cabinet" member she asked  Dear Leader Joe what was going on. Apparently he was not forthcoming. So she made a formal Member Enquiry. And although a reply was promised for today, I gather it hadn't arrived by lunchtime.

I very much doubt there have been key decisions made by delegated authority. It is inconceivable that "cabinet" councillors who are asked to make a budget decision about £35.9m would have had that information kept secret from them. At least I hope so.

It was bad enough that - as far as I'm aware from what was published online - there were no relevant public cabinet papers; and no maps and plans; no costings; and no feasibility reports. And not even some sketchy published outline of the legal mechanism - "vehicle" - to enable the cash and legal titles to be channeled to and fro between: the school which owns the land; the developers, and Haringey Council who are, in effect, the stewards of the huge sum of public money involved.

Your officer delegation query prompts further questions. What about any expenses which have already been incurred? For example: who paid for the  feasibility study? And for any legal advice needed on the mechanism for the "vehicle"?  Has it been set up?

Once more unto the breach dear citizens. Or r close the funding gap with our public cash. The reckless gamble by a Council which is no stranger to highly risky gambles. I'm told that similar to classic Claire Kober mode, Joe Ejiofor has scorned the risks pointing out that all projects have risks.

Sure Joe. Then risk your own cash. Not to mention there are low risk bets and high risk bet it all the Muswell Hill Local Lottery. What could possibly go wrong?

Dear me, what is it about the hillier parts of our borough - anyone might conclude that the cream money rises to the top.

So does scum :-)

Just saying.

Dear All

The Council's proposed budget for 2019/2020 and beyond is currently out for public consultation. A link to the web page is here:


You will find the £35.9m for Fortismere school in the capital budget section under Priority 1. Compare with  the proposed resources for the rest of the borough's schools - that is Haringey community schools, not academies or foundations!


Zena Brabazon 

Cllr, Harringay ward

Response from Cllr Ejiofor


A proposed project involving Fortismere School has been mentioned in the media recently.


I want to make clear what the proposal is about.

First let’s correct some misrepresentations:

•   Haringey Council is not 'giving' £35.9m to Fortismere School.

•   Haringey Council is not spending half of the school’s capital budget at Fortismere School.


The facts are as follows:

Fortismere is a Foundation School. As such, the School grounds are held in trust by the Governors – separate from the Council. However, the Council still retains a statutory duty for repairing the school buildings, and indeed spent c£150k repairing the Sixth Form block roof in 2017.


For the record, I was a member of the governing body of Fortismere School between 29th June 2016 and 11th of May 2018. I am one of four current councillors who have children at the school. The school had been discussing its options for permanently resolving the problems of a decaying sixth from block for at least two years prior to the time I joined the governing body. Council officers were aware of this project at the highest levels at that time, and had already put money into assisting the school to develop some proposals.


Though the governing body initially considered approaching a private developer, in 2017 they decided to approach the council to see whether it wanted to be a partner in this potential development, which would build a new school building, council housing and housing for sale.


We are now a Council that wants to build traditional council homes. This proposal has the potential to enable the council to build council homes in Muswell Hill at nil cost. However, there is, at the moment, no concrete proposal and no decision is anywhere near being taken yet.


Finance officers have included it in the proposed capital budget because they thought it to be appropriate.


It was included as a line item in the capital budget for 2019/20 because there was a possibility that a proposal might be developed in this period and so officers thought it was appropriate to include it, under the criteria that it would be self-financing. It will not be taken forward unless the structure of the project (conditional itself on cabinet and group approval) ensures that the Council gets its money back in full.


Every member of the cabinet at that time knew the full reality of the relevance that this line item had, and how far the project was from a report coming to cabinet. They are also aware that the full options appraisal for all school repairs is due in the summer. Every cabinet member was clear that, if the Fortismere project was to be approved, that it would not take a single penny away from the allocation of capital available to repair Haringey schools.


If following our feasibility and impact study, the council decides to support the project, there will be a number of steps to take before this proposal can progress, including a Group and Cabinet decision on the project. I want to be clear that we will only consider a proposal that is value for money for the council, fits in with our plans for the wider Haringey school estate and is one that will genuinely provide social benefit for the community.


To reiterate. We will not be 'giving' £35.9 million to the school. The aim would be for it to be a self-funding partnership that fits in with the objectives of the schools Capital programme.


I hope that this clarifies the facts around the proposals at Fortismere School.


Both myself and your ward councillors will keep you up to date if and when there is anything further to report.



Cllr Joseph Ejiofor

Leader of Haringey Council


Joys of Electorate Voting on Party Lines. Instead of for Councillor / MP's who have a known track record of Assisting the Electorate

I actually agree with you to some extent Bob, however, let me tell you what happens when you don't have this. I'm originally from New Zealand where political parties do not run in council elections. What tends to happen is that wealthy local businessmen get elected as they have the pockets to run a campaign.



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