What shortage? Hackney Council bins Sir Thomas Abney Primary School expansion – after spending £317k

Sir Thomas Abney Primary School in Fairholt Road, Manor House. Picture: Google Maps

Sir Thomas Abney Primary School in Fairholt Road, Manor House. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A primary school expansion in Manor House has been scrapped by Hackney Council after £317,000 worth of work – because there aren’t enough kids to fill it.

Sir Thomas Abney School officially moved from being a two-form entry to a three-school entry in September. But as of October there were still only enough pupils to fill two classrooms.

A town hall report puts it down to the council’s work addressing the need for 1,260 primary places elsewhere in the borough, the opening of free schools and the fact kids in the area are often educated privately.

It also claimed families were moving away before their children reached school age, or were sending them to schools in Islington or Haringey because they were closer.

The decision was made after pupil projections were published in January, confirming there was no need for the Fairholt Road school to get bigger.

“It was a direct result of a reduction in the need for school places that was the entire rationale of the project,” the report said.

It will also save the town hall money it would have spent on teachers and teaching assistants. But £317,000 of the £3.2million estimated cost has already been spent already on “design work”.

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All is not lost, the council insists, because that “design work” will be kept to shape any future expansion.

“This is one of the few primary school sites in the borough capable of being expanded, so is likely to form part of any future strategy to address growing demand at primary phase.”

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