Sunday, 16 October 2011

Etz Chaim School update - "School not responsible for anti tank barriers"

I have been contacted by a representative of the school who wished to make clear that the school is not responsible for the ugly concrete roadblocks outside the garden centre building.  They explained that site security is currently subconracted to Partnership for Schools, who placed the obstructions there. They state that the governors of Etz Chaim did not know they were being placed there and agree they "look ridiculous".

I have suggested that removing the barriers ASAP would be the only acceptable solution for many people in Mill Hill. It is clear from conversations yesterday and today that this is a big issue for local people and the school most definately need to resolve it ASAP. If the school eventually needs such security measures, they really must get a good designer in to make them as unobtrusive as possible (should the school eventually end up on the site). If nothing else it is terrible PR and people have said to me that "it confirmed their worst fears about the appearance of the site".

I fully accept that in the world we live in a Jewish school will feel the need to take measures above and beyond those many other schools feel appropriate. I believe the main credible risk is casual, racists and anti semitic vandalism, committed by dim idiots. I believe it is a challenge for the school and they have to rise to it, making all such measures as unobtrusive as possible. I happen to believe that making the school as unobtrusive as possible would be a good way to deter this sort of casual vandalism. If the school feels that they are at threat from more serious terror threats, then the only sensible security is a clear, defendable perimiter which is a distance from any public roads or rights of way, with a "sterile zone" of a couple of hundred metres. Clearly if this is the level of security they need, then the location is wrong. The people who have told me that Etz Chaim needs the barriers because it is a terrorist target, clearly haven't thought it through, because this undermines the argument for the Garden Centre location completely.


MillHillian said...

Who currently owns the lease?
Who subcontracted the security to Partnership for Schools?
How much is the security costing and who is paying for it?

Mrs Angry said...

That's odd because 'Partnership for Schools' appears to have been wound up earlier this year: visit the website and check it out.

Rog T said...

Thanks for the info Mrs Angry. PfS is being wound up in April 2012. It's role will be transferred to the Education Funding Authority (EFA) then. Press release - -

I can confirm that PfS is still responsible at the mo. Just in case anyone is curious, free schools are funded by the taxpayer. You may or may not agree with this, but it is the law and they were a key Conservative policy at the last election. I guess that if you don't like them, you need to be aware that it is an area where voting is important (and that is equally true if you do like them).

Jim Bob said...

I think that the barriers have probably been put there to stop people from fly parking on the site. I walk passed the site every morning and evening on the way to the station and it was full on "unauthorised" cars parked there.

Rog T said...

Jim Bob,

Whatever the reason, the barriers are an eyesore. The governors of the school argree and have told me the barriers are being removed