Electoral Arrangements Committee RECOMMENDS Grouping of Parish Councils

November 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Top, Village News

In a decision yesterday, the Electoral Arrangements Committee RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL the making of a Grouping Order that would join the Parish Councils of Histon and Impington. It now goes to the full South Cambs District Council to approve the recommendations and make the order. This is likely to occur within the next few weeks.

The complete text of the announcement is as follows:


Set out below is a summary of the decisions taken at the Electoral Arrangements Committee
held on Monday, 21 November 2011. Decisions made by the Portfolio Holder will be subject
to call-in. Recommendations made to the Cabinet or to the Council are not subject to call-in.
The wording used does not necessarily reflect the actual wording that will appear in the
minutes. If you have any queries about any matters referred to in this decision sheet please contact
Philly Sewell.

The Electoral Arrangements Committee AGREED that a response from the authority be
submitted to the Commission in support of the proposals.

Other Options Considered:

(a) That no authority response is submitted to the Commission

(b) That a response from the authority is submitted to the Commission in support of
the proposals

(c) That a response from the authority be submitted to the Commission objecting to
the proposals. An objection should include a counter proposal.

Reason For Decision:

The Electoral Arrangements Committee will need to review the guidance issued by the Boundary Commission regarding submission of consultation responses. It is clear from the documentation that an objection with a counter proposal will carry more weight than a standalone objection.

The Electoral Arrangements Committee RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL the making of
a Grouping Order.

Other Options Considered:

(a) To recommend the making of a Grouping Order (as requested) in the terms of
the Draft Order attached to this report as Appendix B, or

(b) To recommend the making of a Grouping Order in the terms of the Draft Order
annexed subject to such amendments as the Committee recommends, or

(c) To direct that a full Community Governance Review under the Local Government
and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 be undertaken, to set the remit for
such review including the possible reduction of Councillors from 26 to 19 and to
defer any decision pending the outcome of that Review, or (d) To recommend
that no order is made thus retaining the status quo i.e. two parishes served by
two parish councils.

Reason For Decision:

The Council has a duty to ensure that any order it makes
reflects the identities and interests of the local community in the area and that it is
effective and convenient.

Film Club: “24 Hours of Reality”

October 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Climate Change, Village News


September 2011: 24 Presenters. 24 Time Zones. 13 Languages. 1 Message.
24 Hours of Reality was a worldwide event to broadcast the reality of the climate crisis.

Over 8 million internet viewers watched it.

On 9 Novermber, the HI Film Club will screen the final 1 hour programme from this remarkable event. It is an up to the minute documentary about what is happening right now to the world’s climate and what is being done to stop the worst effects of this catastrophe.

This is the most important film we have yet presented. Don’t miss it.

“24 Hours of Reality”
9 November 8pm
The Stables
St Andrews

Stepping Stones Messy Play

October 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Village News

St Andrew’s Stepping Stones would like to invite you to our Messy Play Date during half term.   The event will take place on Tuesday 25th October at the church halls (opposite Tesco Metro) in Histon from 9.30am till 11.30am. It costs £3 per family including drinks and biscuits.  
Please dress your children in their oldest clothes and prepare for them to get very messy!!! There will be a whole range of activities including gloop, slimy spaghetti, compost, fun foam, paint, water and many more.  We look forward to seeing you there.
Kind regards,
The Stepping Stones Committee.

IVC Parents Group Newsletter

October 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Village News

This was received from the Community Parent Group:

Following a petition with over 500 signatures, spearheaded by IVC parents Mauro Ciaccio, Jayne Green, Christine Pettengell and Impington Parish Councillor Hooda Abdullah (see HI Courier online Village News post of 23 July 2011), the governors publicly agreed to a continuing programme of community involvement and a further public meeting before the final irreversible decision on Academy conversion is made, although they voted to continue with the process of conversion. 

Mauro Ciaccio said: ”The local parent and community group is opposed to the conversion as we feel that academies are socially divisive and take money away from other schools and local services. However, we are pleased that the governors will be providing a further opportunity for parents, staff, students and the community to discuss the full implications of their proposals and we hope they will ensure that any further community engagement is meaningful. The governors are aware of the risks that come with Academies and have stated they will not proceed unless they can legally protect the ethos of the school as a comprehensive village college.”

As with many other schools additional funding appears to have been one of the driving forces behind the proposal to convert but the Department for Education recently announced that money for Academies is already being reduced. There are also moves underway, initiated by the Cambridgeshire Schools Forum, to get the level of funding for Cambridgeshire Local Authority schools increased. If successful this, along with a drop in academy funding which has recently been announced by the Department for Education, could mean that financial incentives disappear altogether. Mauro added: “We will be urging the governors to re-calculate the sum they are likely to receive before they make a final commitment.” 

In their consultation statements the governors at IVC have also undertaken to seek legal advice with a view to setting up an amended model of governance that is in keeping with the founding values of the college.

Under an Academy schools are directly answerable to the Secretary of State for Education. The Academy Trust, which is often as few as three members, has overall legal control of the school and the majority of governors under the model ‘Articles of Association’ issued by the Department for Education are appointed by the Trust, rather than elected, and can also be directly removed by the Trust. 
Councillor Hooda Abdullah said: “As far as we know this is the first school in Cambridgeshire to have made public undertakings of this kind as part of its conditions for Academy conversion. There is a lack of democratic accountability with Academies as the model legal contract issued by the Department of Education gives huge power to the Trustees to change the governance of the school with little or no reference to governors, staff, parents, students or community. This type of governance is far removed from any form of ‘localism’ and the concept of a school being at the heart of its community, which was pioneered by Henry Morris within the Village College movement.  If IVC manage to amend the relationship between the Academy Trust and the Governors to make it more accountable and help protect it against a sell out to corporate education, selection and other ‘nasties’ that Michael Gove seems to cherish then, if IVC goes down this contentious path, this may help mitigate the effects of such a disastrous policy. We are hoping to find out soon exactly what the governors have in mind.”

Jon Duveen, secretary of Cambridgeshire National Union of Teachers (NUT) and an Impington resident commented: “ While the NUT is opposed to academies it is in the interests of staff, as well as parents, students and the community, that schools converting to Academies retain the maximum transparency and accountability in the way they are governed. We welcome IVC’s pledge to remain comprehensive and true to the ideals of Henry Morris and the concept of the Village College. However, it is also very alarming, given the extraordinarily wide powers that are given to the Trustees of Academy schools under the standard legal agreement issued by the Department for Education that most schools in Cambridgeshire have rushed through the legal process, as well as their consultations, without even attempting to bring about any significant legal changes to their levels of accountability. This is worrying for the future of these schools.”

Hooda Abdullah (Parish Councillor, ex IVC parent and community user)
Mauro Ciaccio (IVC parent)
Jane Green (IVC parent)
Christine Pettengell (ex IVC parent)

Email: community.parent.group@gmail.com
There is also a Cambridgeshire group: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cambridgeshire-Defend-Our-Schools/196924900336034

IVC – Public Meeting Tuesday 7pm Sports Centre Conference Room

October 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Village News

Impington Village College
Public Meeting
Update on Academy Status
Tuesday 18 October 2011 at 7pm
(Sports Centre Conference Room)
Staff, students, parents and members of the wider community including future parents are most welcome to hear an update on the College’s progress towards conversion to Academy Status.
Huw Jones
Impington Village College governor

Playgroup Open Morning – Tuesday 18 October

October 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Village News

St Andrew’s Stepping Stones invites you to our Playgroup Open Morning, from 9.30-11.30 on Tuesday 18th October at the Church Halls.
Entrance is FREE! Come along to play, and see what we do at a typical playgroup session. All welcome. 

Cream Teas Reminder – This Saturday 13 August

August 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Village News

Histon Methodist Church
Join us for
Cream Teas
Saturday 13 August
The Manse
2 Mowlam Close, Impington
2.00 – 5.00pm
All proceeds to the Church Development Fund

Cream Teas

August 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Village News

Histon Methodist Church
Join us for
Cream Teas
Saturday 13 August
The Manse
2 Mowlam Close, Impington
2.00 – 5.00pm
All proceeds to the Church Development Fund

IVC Academy: Group Disappointed at Petition Response

July 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Village News

Disappointment that community petition is ignored by Governors at Impington Village College

Four members of the community parent group who have been spearheading a petition to get the consultation period on Academy Status at IVC extended met with the Governing Body, but were told today that their request for an extension to the consultation had been rejected and that furthermore the Governing Body were to proceed with the application for Impington Village College to become an academy.
Mauro Ciacco speaking on behalf of the group opened the presentation to the Governors by emphasising that the motivation of the group is to maximise the involvement of the IVC community in the decision regarding conversion to Academy status. 

He outlined the work done by the group to engage with the local community and to get information to a wider audience through additional channels: the paper petition, initiating the online IVC forum, online community forums, writing to County and District councillors.  The community responded; the petition calling on the Governors to extend the consultation contained 515 names when it was presented on Tuesday evening.

Many local councillors supported the call for an extension to the consultation and contacted the Governing Body.  In a letter to the group, Jonathan Chatfield, District Councillor for Impington said “The size of your petition indicates the strength of local feeling on this issue.”

The group held many conversations with local people and found that many people wanted to have a clearer understanding of the entire process for converting to Academy; the legal implications of conversion and the long-term funding & cost implications.  Jayne Green, a parent of a child at IVC is very concerned that the ethos of the school and the ideals set out by Henry Morris for a community facing Village College providing lifelong learning for all might be lost after the change to Academy status.

In making their decision the Governing Body have committed to amending the model legal documents, the Articles of Association, to protect the special ethos of IVC by defining the relationships between a future governing body and the members of the Trust which will run the academy.  In addressing this concern directly the Governing Body state that they “will not proceed with seeking conversion to Academy status if there are insufficient safeguards to protect the ethos and distinctive character of IVC.”

The Governing Body, recognising the need to engage with the wider community are planning to have a further public meeting in the autumn term when the draft wording for the Articles of Association will be reviewed.  Hooda Abdullah, speaking on behalf of the group would like to extend thanks to all those who signed the petition and hopes they will continue to watch with interest the developments at IVC.  The IVC bulletin board will remain open for additional comments for the foreseeable future.


Hooda Abdullah (Impington Parish councillor and community user)
Mauro Ciaccio (IVC parent)
Jayne Green (IVC parent)
Christine Pettengell (IVC parent)

Exotic bird seen in Histon

July 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Village News

We arrived home from holidaying in Devon yesterday evening and found a very beautiful exotic bird in our garden. After posing for a few minutes, preening and calling out with a 2 tone whistle it flew off and we  have not seen it again so far.

I took some photos and the RSPB identified it is an Eastern Rosella, confirming the identification of my neighbour Dr Chris Cobley who once lived in Australia where this species of bird is natively found. It was last seen in Park Avenue heading towards Park Lane/Manor Park. Luckily my wife is a keen photographer and we had the Canon 60 D with 70-200 mm telephoto lens to hand having just returned from holiday. 

21 July:

The rosella was back again yesterday all day and into the evening hanging around the gardens feeding on greenery among the runner beans then spent a few hours in my neighbours apple tree.

My neighbour sought advice from the Avi Centre in Oakington who provided him a soft mesh net and cage. It seems quite tame but is wary of being approached when on the ground and has so far evaded capture.

It seems to be staying quite local and is calling not infrequently when perched in the trees with a distinctive melodious whistle repeated 2-4 times as a single tone or 2 times with  higher and lower tones.

- John Murray  Johnmurray325@gmail.com

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