As you may have seen, in the summer the Mayor decided to approve the takeover of Lewisham Bridge Primary School by Leathersllers.
He did this in spite of the fact that over 100 parents expressed their concern over the proposal by signing a petition which stated that, above all else parents’ views have not been taken into account.
I saw the Mayor at the Country Fayre on Sunday and I told him that there is a significant number of parents who feel as though our views are being ignored. We have had at least 3 consultations several public meetings, focus groups etc where parents have expressed their concerns for the plan. Each time we are ignored and the plan moves one step further to completion.
I was told that I have mis-represented the issue that this is not privatisation, the new school won’t be a private school. Excuse me Mr Mayor, but I know what a private school is and I’m well aware that this is not a proposal to turn the school into a fee-paying school. But giving away a public asset to a private company used to be called privatisation – maybe they have a new word for it in New Labour. We have several examples of privatisation: Group 4 put in charge of prisons, but kept losing their prisoners! The tragedy of the rail accidents caused by the incompetence of the rail companies. Extortionate charges from energy companies!
I asked the Mayor if he would attend a meeting of parents and teachers at the school where we can air our feelings and get a chance to hear his opinions on the matter. I think we should now put pressure on him to do just that.
Parents have real concerns which it is his duty, as Mayor to address:
1.) Leathersellers is an unaccountable body. They control the governing body. What recourse do parents have if we don’t agree with their strategy for the running of the school?
2.) Why are the land and buildings being given away to Leathersellers?
3.) How has the plans for new school affected recruitment for the current academic year?
4.) The site doesn’t seem to be big enough for such a school. Indeed the Secretary of State is being asked to waive the necessity of providing playing fields on the site because there is no room for them.
5.) There is a plan to decant the school to the Mornington Centre in New Cross. How will that work exactly? How will children and staff be transported there? How will affect the start and end times for the day? How will it affect the many excellent after-school clubs (football, rugby etc.)? How will it affect the after-school club and Breakfast Club? How will nursery children be transported to and from school?
It’s really important that we don’t give up – we are not figures on a page to be moved about by the Education officers at Laurence House. We are real people, this is our children’s future, all of our children!
Eleanor Davies (parent at Lewisham Bridge)