Friday, 26 January 2018

Panning the PANs – Afterword

In the lengthy posts setting out the backdrop to Yesodey Hatorah's proposals for a Middle School and dissecting the consultation document itself It may be difficult to see the wood of killing off a school for the trees of technicalities on PANs, SLTs, SENs and all the other jargon used to dress up a fundamentally mendacious plan to discard an entire primary school on to the streets.

It is not difficult to rant about Pinter and his poodle governors when at almost every move they display their ability to turn anything they touch into slippery slime. When admissions are turned into exclusion, when overcapacity one day becomes undercapactiy on another, when a supposedly charitable wedding hall scheme is turned into a massive black hole for millions of pounds, when an advocate for education on the public stage abuses his power and when public funds are used to try and kill off a school not to his liking the problem is knowing where to start in calling out this thoroughly dishonest lot.

There at the head of the table sits gravedigger Bibelman, with decades-long experience at the helm of the communal Burial Society to fleece both living and dead without accounting to anyone on where and how the vast sums are distributed, if at all. There besides him sits Posen of Agudath Yisroel fame, expert at penning letters to the local press on how to extract the last penny in benefits but now conniving to deny kids a school. Further down sits that most upright of men Grussgot with his gracious posterior adorning the Governing Body of both YHS and Beis Yaakov without seeming to bat a manicured eyelid at juggling the two warring sides. He was never on any of the boards for his brains and so why now give up one for the other? Yet further down sits a Rabbi no less as an 'elected parent governor' when no one can recall when the elections were held or who the rival candidates were. While alongside them is a Hackney Learning Trust appointee to keep a blind eye on proceedings.

YHS Governors

And then to finish off this unconscionable lot is a host of governors appointed 'as a parent' giving the wonderfully nice impression of parental involvement but concealing that the school's founding document has the bare minimum of a single elected parent governor. 'Appointed' is the key word here. Of course, there are the requisite staff appointments but with a gaggle of teenage teachers themselves brought up in this repressive environment how many are going to put themselves up for election? And don't be misled by the appointment date either. Many of them keep on being reappointed time and again for the merits of being as ineffective as required and often far beyond their call of duty.

But what you will not find anywhere is a Pinter, neither the Principal himself nor anyone carrying that surname. He may feature in the minutes on everything from admissions to resources to finances but like Macavity's Cat he is nowhere to be seen. His resigned daughter is still there despite her been gone for some time but the elephant in the room driving all of this keeps himself off the paper trail and lets his puppets do his bidding.

The YHS's admissions information talks about an 'ethos' and 'moral and ethical values' and how 'every aspect of their lives is governed by the codes of Torah observance, and is based on the three tenets of Judaism “Torah, Prayer and Acts of loving kindness”'. 'Every aspect' that is except the actual running of the school that is supposed to instil those values in the children. Where is the ethos in a pack of lies masquerading as a 'consultation'? Where are the 'ethical values' in manipulating admission numbers in all directions to keep deserving students away from the school? Where is the 'loving kindness' in locking themselves behind metal barriers and sticking a finger up at their own family, friends, and neighbours who for whatever reason are 'undesirables' when it comes to school admissions? And where exactly is the Torah in all of this? When you bump into one of those governors this Shabbos don't ask them when they fed the birds but rather why they are killing off a school and dumping the kids.

As I said ranting about this lot is not difficult when they act so blatantly in broad daylight but where is the rest of the community as an attempt is made to ethnically cleanse Stamford Hill of Sephardim, Yekes and anyone who does not fit into the Streimel/Tichel crowd? Does Rav Padwa represent only his cronies in '86' or does he represent all the shuls in the area? Reb Yossel Padwa, his brother, is the rov of Beis Yaakov and Pinter also uses him when he needs some rabbinical cover. Why is he silent while a malevolent plan is being hatched to deny scores of girls a secondary school and potentially a primary school too? Where is the entire Rabbinate ensconced in their citadel in Stamford Hill pontificating on sheitels, skirts and fibre optics but with nothing to say on an admissions system with a definition supposedly in their name to keep as many kids at bay as possible? Is Beis Yaakov not a chareidi school? So why can Pinter use their cover to close it down? Let them use some of the time dedicated to campaigning for the dead and set it aside for our living future and some of the more vulnerable in our midst.

But let's put Rabbonim to the side. They're part of the vested interests and as nepotistic as Pinter himself. Where are all our spokesmen and women who constantly pop up in the press at the first sign of trouble? Does the self-certified 'intelligent' Chaya Spitz of Interlink fame not have a say on the matter? We're fine for grants of millions, lots of talking shops and seminars and symposiums but when it comes to a real immediate risk, not from Ofsted or the DfE or whoever is designated enemy-of-the-day, but from within there is complete silence. And where is Judith Nemeth of NAJOS? And Baumgarten of UOHC's education committee? And Rabbi Meyer of PaJeS? These people at the helm of acronyms piled up like an alphabet soup all share a table with Pinter, ply the same circuit, laugh at Pinter's bottomless pit of quips but when it comes to the role for which they have been appointed, or appointed themselves, there is only ear-piercing silence.

Where are our elected councillors to speak up for their constituents? You find your mouths to oppose speed humps to endanger kids but hide when it comes to provide them with schooling. And where is Hackney Learning Trust as vast sums of public money are squandered to entrench a single family in the stewardship of a publicly funded school? To whom does Yesodey Hatorah belong, to the community or to Pinter, that is the question

Let it be known that this is being carried out under your polished noses. You know what is going on, you know what Pinter stands for and how he goes about it and you choose to do nothing about it. You don't even turn a blind eye because it is all done fully within your eyesight. When those kids end up without schools because of some concocted Middle School no one ever asked for or even knows what it is, it will be at you they will rightly point their finger.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (and women) do nothing.

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