Whitmore Primary School: Parents tell of dismay after discovering school could be earmarked for demolition
PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 March 2016 | UPDATED: 08:50 03 March 2016
An "outstanding" primary school and its half-finished £40,000 playground could be demolished to make way for a new secondary school, dismayed parents have learnt.
Whitmore Primary School parents were told by the head of the Learning Trust Anne Canning last week that a desperate shortage of 180 secondary places from September 2017 means a new school is needed.
The only feasible site they can find in the whole of Hackney is by Shoreditch Park, where Britannia Leisure Centre and the Ofsted-rated outstanding primary both stand.
But the sports centre in Hyde Road is already earmarked as one of five potential sites in the area that may be needed for a ventilation shaft for Crossrail 2.
The project, which would be delivered by the City of London Corporation, is being backed by the Hackney Learning Trust.
Parents are now up in arms that their children’s primary school could be “sacrificed”.
Plans remain vague but parents have been told Whitmore may be demolished or moved, and youngsters could be re-housed at other schools or taught in Portakabins in the meantime.
Jade Briant, who has a son in reception, said: “No one is clear what is going on.
“It all seems to be underhand and secretive. I don’t know where I stand, and that’s upsetting and confusing.
“If my son were to be moved to another site that’s disruptive. I’m concerned about his education and emotional wellbeing, but if they close down the school it would have a horrific effect on my son.
“They don’t care who they are trampling on to make this school on top of a school that’s already successful.”
Emma Butler, who lives in Hackney Road in Shoreditch and has three children at the school, added: “No one knows if the school will carry on. We don’t know what we are fighting at the moment.
“Say my sons had to be taught in different schools for a while – I might have to take them to four different schools. I’ve got a young baby as well so there’s no way I’d be able to do that. I’m shocked more than anything. It’s going to disrupt their education.”
A feasibility study and consultation will be conducted in summer.
But a spokeswoman for the council said there were no plans to close Whitmore. “It’s early days and there are no proposals yet,” she said, “but Whitmore will not be ‘sacrificed’.”
In a letter sent to parents, seen by the Gazette, Ms Canning said: “When we have further developed the plans, we will of course share them with the school, parents, carers and wider community and seek their views.”