Mayor Refuses to Support Sulivan School

Campaigners disappointed by response at City Hall

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Campaigners fighting to save Fulham's Sulivan School were disappointed this week by Mayor Boris Johnson's refusal to support them.

Children and parents from the local school, which Hammersmith and Fulham Council plans to demolish to make way for the new Fulham Boys' Free School, visited City Hall on Wednesday for Mayor's Question Time to make their voices heard.

The children pleaded with the Mayor in song, but he said he had no direct control over education in the city.

Journalism student Antonella Pilato was visiting City Hall on the day and below offers her personal view on the proceedings.

Boris Johnson has no intention of saving Sulivan Primary School from demolition. This is what emerged from Question Time on Wednesday morning.

Pupils, teachers and parents were in the "mayor’s house" to represent their campaign Save our Sulivan to stop their site being given away to the planned Fulham Boys' (Free) Secondary School.

London Assembly Labour Group Education member, Jennette Arnold, asked him to "get some clarity and to take responsibility" over Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s decision to amalgamate Sulivan with New King's Primary, from 2014.

" I don’t take responsibility because I don’t have the statutory power to do so," he said, adding: " I’m told that places at Kings and Sulivan remain empty. Amalgamating the two primary schools allows significant savings which will be reinvested in the pupils' education."

His answer replicates the council's official reason, but it has not convinced parents and school's staff who claim that the area needs more primary – instead of secondary – school places.

Sulivan’s Head Teacher, Wendy Aldridge, claimed: " He hasn't got all the information, but we want to show him evidence that Hammersmith and Fulham council are wrong.

" We have a fantastic primary school, and we want to stay where we are," said Mrs Aldridge, who added that they are not against the free school, but that they just want to keep their site.

A site with a meadow and a garden where the pupils collected the apples to make a present which the mayor refused to open describing it as "demagoguery".

Inside the green box there were an apple jelly and an apple cake baked by the children. Nothing too dangerous for Boris.

Antonella Pilato