Hackney Council will press ahead with plans to close or merge six primary schools despite strong opposition from parents.

The council’s cabinet last night (December 11) agreed to shut De Beauvoir Primary School and Randal Cremer Primary School at the end of this school year.

Pupils at Colvestone Primary School and Baden Powell Primary School will have the option of transferring to Princess May Primary School and Nightingale Primary School respectively in September next year.

The decision comes despite 95% of 175 responses during a recent consultation opposing the proposals.

The council says the changes are necessary due to falling pupil rolls, with 21% of reception places left unfilled in the borough over the last school year.

It claims that because schools are financed based on the number of pupils they have, the significant decline in pupil numbers has caused some of them to face serious financial pressure.

Last year alone – the council says – the 58 primary schools in Hackney were missing more than £30 million in funding compared to if classrooms were full.

Deputy Mayor Cllr Anntoinette Bramble said that approving the plans was one of the “most difficult and saddest” decisions the council had made in recent years.

She added that the proposals will “undoubtedly cause sorrow” within the borough’s communities.

But Cllr Bramble said that falling pupil numbers had stretched council finances, meaning that delaying action was “simply not an option anymore”.

She said: “It has been a difficult process for all those involved in this project since we first publicly announced these proposals in March 2023, and this decision brings with it a deep feeling of loss.

“My thoughts go in particular towards the schools that will have to close, their leaders, staff members, pupils and families, who will need time and support from us to grieve and to prepare for the transition that will be taking place.”

Cllr Bramble went on to reassure those with concerns about what will happen to the school sites, claiming that the council will ensure they are put to “locally relevant and valuable uses”.

She added: “We must continue to ensure that every single child has the opportunities to fulfil their potential, achieve their ambitions, and be happy.

“Unfortunately, sometimes the right decision for the borough is a heartbreaking one.”