Mayor's Position on Boys School "Stinks of Hypocrisy"

Boris Johnson claimed he didn't have power to help Sulivan Primary School

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London Assembly Member, Jennette Arnold OBE has slammed Mayor Boris Johnson's position on the new Fulham Boys Free School, saying it "stinks of hypocrisy".

Her attack comes following the Mayor's personal intervention to secure the school's future, months after saying he did not have the power to stop the closure of Fulham's Sulivan Primary School.

She says: " The Mayor previously claimed he did not have the power to intervene in disputes over the status of schools, but directly intervened to find sites for the proposed free school, in turn securing funding from the Department for Education and allowing it to open in September.

" The Local Authority-controlled Sulivan Primary School was due to close, with Fulham Boys Free School set to replace it. However, the newly elected Council in Hammersmith and Fulham decided to review this decision, making the future of Fulham Boys uncertain and resulting in the Department for Education withdrawing its funding for the school.

" When I asked him to intervene to save Sulivan Primary School at Mayor’s Question Time in October 2013, the Mayor refused to do so, stating: 'I will not take responsibility because I do not have the statutory power to do so.'

" This week however, the Mayor intervened to identify alternative future sites for Fulham Boys School, meaning that the Department for Education will again release funds so that the school can open as planned in September.

" The intervention by the Mayor stinks of hypocrisy. Back in October, in front of the teachers and pupils of Sulivan School, who had come to City Hall to meet with the Mayor, he said he could not step in to save the school, but today he has directly intervened with Fulham Boys School.

" The fact that he has only stepped in now also raises serious questions over the Mayor’s position on schools in our capital. He could have helped find an alternative site for Fulham Boys earlier, allowing Sulivan Primary to remain open, but it seems he was content to see Sulivan demolished so that a free school could replace it.

" While I welcome any move that provides security for parents and pupils of Fulham Boys School, I find it galling that the Mayor feels it is perfectly reasonable to get involved in this way when he wasn’t willing to work with me to save Sulivan Primary School last year."

You can see a video of Jennette's challenge to Boris Johnson over Sulivan Primary School here.

July 18, 2014