Unanimous Support for Sulivan School's Academy Plans

As council claims majority of "parents" back closure plans

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Supporters of Fulham's Sulivan Primary School have unanimously backed a proposal for the school to become an academy at a packed meeting on Monday October 21.

Packed Meeting at Sulivan Primary School in Fulham

The move to academy status has been proposed by Head Teacher Wendy Aldridge and Chair of Governors Rosie Wait as an alternative to Hammersmith and Fulham Council's plans to close the school, moving the pupils to share New King's School on New King's Road and thus freeing the site for the new Fulham Boys' Free School, a Church of England secondary school which would eventually have 800 pupils.

You can read about more about the proposal here.

The meeting on Monday followed the council's publication of a report on its three month public consultation on proposals to amalgamate the two primaries to make way for the free school.

The report showed that a large majority of local people were against the proposal. In all, 2,226 responses disagreed with the plan, with 1,367 in favour.

The report acknowledges that opinion is divided but claims that a majority of "parents" support the plans - 1,107 for compared with 1,036 against. However, of those parents supporting the plans, only 60 were associated with the affected schools - 23 from Sulivan and 37 from New King's - while 1,047 were from "other" schools. The report says that these "other" favourable responses were largely from those associating themselves with Fulham Boys' Free School.

The report reveals that responses disagreeing with the proposal were received from PRARA (the Peterborough Road and Area Residents Association) The Fulham Society, City Events Ltd. the Polo in the Park organisers, H&F Liberal
Democrats, The Executive Board of the Fulham College Academy Trust and the NUT. Several different submissions came from Hurlingham and Chelsea School including one
from Phil Cross as Head.

There was also a letter from ex-Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh, who is Chair of Governors at The Federation of Hurlingham and Chelsea Secondary School and Langford Primary School.

This letter did not address the issue of the school closure, but expressed the Federation Governing Body's concern about the proposal to locate Fulham Boys' School within 400 yards of Hurlingham and Chelsea, and asked the council to consider alternative sites north of New King's Road or east of Wandsworth Bridge Road. It did not specify the locations of those sites.

The report records that two favourable submissions (agreeing with the proposal) were received from the Chair of Governors and Headteacher of New King’s and Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea and Fulham.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council says that residents now have until November 29 to submit further representation, after which the council's Cabinet will take a final decision on whether or not to proceed with the plan.

Education cabinet member, Councillor Georgie Cooney says: " There is clearly a large response from people associated with Sulivan school who have passionate views against the proposal. That is very understandable.

" However we have to take a wider view and look at what is best for all families, right across the borough and we have to be able to take difficult decisions in response to the needs and wishes of all parents. The strength of the response on both sides of this issue has led us to decide to continue to the next phase of the process."

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.

Save Our Sulivan campaigners are now asking local people to sign in support of the school's plans to become an academy at their website, saveoursulivan.org.

 

October 22, 2013