Like many I was utterly bemused by some of the decisions made on which London boroughs would see their primary schools opening in the new year.
Clearly having children in school is the best outcome but this has to be balanced against the other public health considerations. A few weeks of education that can be caught up might not be worth the life-long cost of losing a loved one. While I fully expected all school’s to be closed I wasn’t at all ready for the irrationality of the decisions taken.
You would expect some pattern, but looking at data from the London Datastore and the list of schools that are open it looks to me much more like the correlation between opening and closing is much more down to political control.
How on earth can you suggest that Redbridge, with a case rate of 1,027 per 100,000 should have it’s school’s open, while Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, with a case rate of half that, should be closed? Or keeping Greenwich open when six of the ten boroughs with lower case rates are all closed.
There are 32 London boroughs, ten will be expected to open schools. Of those nine are Labour controlled and one Lib Dem. Not a single Conservative controlled borough is expected to open primary schools.
You would expect some incompetence from the government, but at first sight this looks much worse than than.
Update: Redbridge was omitted by the government in error (because this isn’t the sort of thing you would want to double-check before publishing). I have updated that in the list, but think the central point remains: why have places like Hackney and Haringey open when many others are closed.
Update 2: I returned to this with some additional data to try to understand the decisions. I was still none the wiser.
|Havering||1,095||Con (council NOC)||Closed|
|Barking and Dagenham||950||Lab||Closed|
|Kingston upon Thames||595||Lib Dem||Open|
|Richmond upon Thames||593||Lib Dem||Closed|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||587||Lab||Closed|
|Kensington and Chelsea||476||Con||Closed|