Sulivan School to Apply for Academy Status

Head Teacher and Chair of Governors explain "positive alternative"

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Sulivan Primary School, which is under threat of closure is applying for academy status as part of its fight for survival.

Head Teacher Wendy Aldridge and Chair of Governors Rosie Wait have written this message to parents and other supporters explaining the reason for the move.

We have been involved in a demanding campaign set within a rigid time frame. One strand of this campaign was to find an alternative that would secure our future, whilst preserving our ethos and place in the community as an inclusive provider of excellent education.

We have met with a wide range of interested supporters, including the London Diocesan Board for Schools (LDBS) and rapidly options arose for our Governing Body to consider.

We want to share with you, as our supporters, our proposal to apply for Academy status with partnership with the protective and supportive group The LDBS.

On Friday 27th September we announced to the Sulivan families our alternative to the Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s plan to close Sulivan. We believe that our proposal to convert to Academy status in partnership with the LDBS is a viable and very positive alternative to closing our school.

We would become the first community Academy (within a Multi-Academy Trust) in West London. We believe that
this partnership will enable us to continue to offer excellent education on a perfect site for primary-aged children.

Our motivation is to be able to continue to serve our community in the same way we have for over 60 years. Our school would be partnered with a highly trusted, reputable and well-resourced group who wish to preserve our strengths and support our growth in line with our vision to offer outstanding education for all, in the heart of the community.

We welcome the opportunity to work with a supportive
partner in order to grow and realise our vision. This will be refreshing against the backdrop of a Local Authority who would like to close us down.

We believe that as an LDBS Academy school, we will be able to continue working with our local family of schools for the benefit of families in Fulham. We recognise there will be lots of questions to address to ensure that the long-term future of Sulivan is guaranteed.

Our consultation will encourage these questions to be asked and these will help to define our future.

Our proposal will:

 Continue to provide excellent education for all with 100 % open admissions
 Work with an experienced educational body that values and supports us.
 Remain on our unique and precious site; preserve our learning gardens and pond.
 Develop our strong and highly effective team and our outstanding and highly respected
leadership
 Continue to grow and offer increased nursery primary places in South Fulham.

We want to ensure we have addressed all the possible issues and answered all of your questions.

Save Sulivan campaigners at Hammersmith Town Hall

The campaign to save the Fulham school began after Hammersmith and Fulham Council asked people for their views on a proposal to amalgamate two small primary schools in Fulham - Sulivan and New King's - which the council says would "create a combined school with better facilities, offering a richer educational experience".

The council's announcement made it clear the proposal would mean using the New King's site on New King's Road, saying it would provide up to £2 million to redesign and re-equip it with the latest teaching facilities.

This, says the council would have the "added benefit" of releasing the Sulivan school site to be used by Fulham Boys Free School. This school has been given the go ahead by the Government to offer 120 secondary places per year, but has been forced to postpone its proposed opening this September because it has not found a suitable site.

The council claims that both New King’s and Sulivan in Peterborough Road struggle with small pupil numbers, taking only 75 pupils per year between them, but the campaigners accuse it of using old figures and say that both nursery and reception classes are full with overall 89% of places at Sulivan taken. Donna Fine spoke at the mmeting about the DfE and NAO predictions for primary place numbers and explained how there is expected to be a 16% shortfall by 2015 in this area. Additionally, the huge development plan for Earl's Court area is expected to create further demand for places.

Campaigners also point that Sulivan has lovely grounds including large play areas and an outdoor science laboratory, while New King's has only a small tarmac playground on New King's Road.

October 11, 2013