|Fulham Boys School Will Open After All in September|
Joy for parents after intervention by Mayor Boris Johnson
New free school Fulham Boys School will open after all in September following an intervention by Mayor Boris Johnson.
The school's planned opening on a temporary site in the Gibbs Green Estate was halted by the then Education Secretary Michael Gove as it was unable to find a permanent site in Fulham.
Now the Mayor has secured an agreement in principle from Earls Court developers Capco, owners of the temporary site which allows for a one year extension to the lease, a move that will mean pupils can occupy the temporary site until at least July 2017.
This extension, coupled with a guarantee from the Mayor to help the school find a permanent home in the Borough, means the Education Funding Agency has agreed to release the funds to enable the school, which has 84 pupils including 55 from Hammersmith and Fulham, to open as planned this September.
The school announced the news to parents saying: " FBS is delighted to announce that The Fulham Boys School will be opening as planned this September with its first Year 7s. FBS will be at Gibbs Green for at least two years before moving to its permanent home.
" The Department for Education has agreed to reverse its earlier decision. All boys offered a place at FBS for September will now be able to take up that place. This is a permanent solution, securing the future of FBS.
" FBS would like to thank everyone for their extraordinary support and encouragement over the last two difficult weeks, and in particular the FBS parents, boys and staff for their unity, their dignity and their resilience."
Boris Johnson said: " There is enormous pressure on school places and a key part of my efforts to improve education across the capital is about helping groups secure sites to set up free schools.
" I am delighted we have been able to find a solution which allows the Fulham Boys School to open as planned this September. I am grateful to Capco for their understanding and to the EFA for their openness in supporting our ambition to find a permanent site.
" Their decision today to release the funds needed for the school to start life in Fulham is great news. I know that parents and pupils haveendured a dreadful couple of weeks but this agreement means there will be a Fulham Boys School up and running from this September."
Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham Greg Hands said: “ I am delighted by this decision, and the very welcome news that Fulham Boys School will be opening this September, as originally envisaged, on its temporary site at Gibbs Green. Receiving the call from Lord Nash last night was one of the highlights of my time as MP for Fulham."
Hammersmith and Fulham Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan said: ""Like most people, I am totally mystified about why FBS was put through this eleventh-hour trauma when they have such strong local support and a temporary site all ready to move in to in six weeks’ time. People locally simply could not understand the decision to stop the opening.
"The local MP, Greg Hands, and I went with the school to meet education minister Lord Nash last week and that seems to have made a difference. The government’s change of heart will be a huge relief to all the FBS boys and their families and is very welcome news.
"The Mayor of London now seems confident he can offer them a permanent home, which is great news, and I will be backing the school in pushing for details on where and when that will be."
July 16, 2014