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Parents stage protest over a bid to expand Hackney Central primary school

PUBLISHED: 16:31 15 November 2013 | UPDATED: 16:31 15 November 2013

Parents and younger siblings of Orchard School pupils protest outside the chool during a morning of petitioning against it's plans to expand.

Parents and younger siblings of Orchard School pupils protest outside the chool during a morning of petitioning against it's plans to expand.

Archant

Parents have protested against a bid to expand their children's school.

They demonstrated outside Orchard Primary School in Holcroft Road over plans by Hackney Learning Trust to increase its intake by 210 pupils from 2015, taking the overall number from 420 up to 630.

If the plans go ahead, a new building would be constructed in the playground.

Anna Jones, who has a four-year-old in reception class, said: “We are really concerned about the expansion proposals.

“We understand the urgent need for more school places in Hackney, but cannot accept this as a solution as there isn’t enough space on the site to cope with the increase. We feel the children’s health and wellbeing would suffer, without enough space to play and learn.”

Jim Drury, whose daughter is at the school, said: “The consultation process is a sham. It was put at either side of half-term, which is a clever technique to minimise consultation. Most of the parents had no idea there was any kind of expansion plan.

“The school put the papers into children’s bags and most parents did not read them.

“There’s a large proportion of parents of different nationalities whose English is not that good. The school produces a newsletter every week, but as far as I know it was not included there.”

Cllr Rita Krishna, cabinet member for education and children’s services, said: “The council has a statutory duty to ensure that there are sufficient places for Hackney pupils. Projections from the Greater London Assembly show that there is a need for places in the E9 area.

“A first stage consultation is underway. Drop-in sessions have been arranged for parents and the wider community. This stage of the consultation process ends on Friday and Hackney Learning Trust will consider responses to the consultation over the next month.”

n To complete a consultation form, visit www.learningtrust.co.uk/consultations.

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