Clapham Park Neighbourhood Forum News – Proposed New Secondary School at Glenbrook

On Monday 10th October, the Clapham Park Neighbourhood Forum met to hear about new developments in the area.  One of these was a proposal to build a new secondary school on the Glenbrook School site on the corner of Clarence Avenue and Clarence Crescent – along with a rebuilt primary school.  James Hadley, the headteacher of the proposed secondary school to be run by the Gipsy Hill Federation (Glenbrook primary is part of this Federation), told residents about the plans for the school.  He referred to the emerging shortage of secondary school places in the borough, the need to rebuild Glenbrook primary school and his former experience of running a school on a primary/secondary shared site.   You can see his presentation here.

The meeting of the Forum, chaired by local councillor Diana Morris and facilitated by Ching Wah Wong from Clapham Park Project, was one of a number of events associated with the public consultation on the school proposals.  At the time of the meeting, the consultation was due to close in October.  The period during which residents, parents, carers etc can comment on the proposals has now been extended until 18th November.  You can respond online at

http://www.gipsyhillschool.london/376/our-location/our-consultation

and there will be a further consultation event organised by the Gipsy Hill Federation on

Tuesday 15 November, 5-7pm at Glenbrook Primary School, Clarence Avenue, SW4 8LD

The Neighbourhood Forum meeting on 10th October was a lively one with a full question and answer session.  Residents raised concerns about how well the new school would fit into the area and whether it would be of benefit to local children.  The response was that priority would be given to pupils attending Federation primary schools of which Glenbrook was one.  Other places would be allocated on distance from the school.  People were invited to suggest how many, or what percentage, of the places they felt should be allocated to local children.

There were also concerns about how all the pupils would be accommodated on the site especially at play times.  James referred to ways in which schools in Inner London were adapting to the more constrained sites that they now have to operate from by, for example, staggering break and lunch times.

Some of the attendees at the meeting were concerned about the impact on the local area and queried whether there was a need for the school.  They referred to its location opposite accommodation for elderly people, the high level of parking congestion currently experienced and the fact that local secondary schools were not yet full.

Other people raised questions about the nature of the school and how it would be accountable to local people.

James referred in answers to the numbers of people who would be employed at the school with half being non-teaching staff.  The school would attempt to draw the workforce from the local area.  He also said that the Education Funding Agency were working on producing  3-D images of the proposed school to give people an idea of how it might fit on to the site.  We will post these 3-D images here when they become available.

Lib Peck, local councillor and Leader of Lambeth Council, and Jane Edbrooke, Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Children and Schools, both spoke at the meeting.  They emphasised the now limited role for local authorities in determining where and how new schools were built.  They both felt however that there was more to be done to make sure that the new school worked for the local community including pupils at Glenbrook primary school.  Cllr Edbrooke pointed to the fact that there was still time for changes to be made to the proposals given that a shortage of secondary school places was not predicted to emerge for a couple of years.

Do join in the conversation by commenting in the ways indicated above before the 18th November deadline.  If you have any questions or want to know more about education in Thornton ward, get in touch with your local councillors – all contact details can be found via Diana’s page on the Lambeth council website

https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=247