Stories + Views
Is the West London Free School now going to force a special school into second class premises?
Interesting shenanigans in Hammersmith and Fulham where the West London Free School is still trying to pin down a site for its comprehensive grammar, secular faith, latin speaking, liberal education school.
According to the WLFS campaign website, the ‘proposed’ locations for the new school are for the first two years, in an institution called the ‘Bryony Centre‘ in White City after which it will be moving the Palingswick house, which even though it looks like a small private school from the outside, currently houses a number of refugee groups.
This plan has already caused some consternation in the local area, not just because the refugee groups will be evicted from Palingswick, but also because the Bryony Centre was due to be converted under the now defunct BSF project into a state of the art special school, into which pupils from the Cambridge special school in the south of the borough would be moved in two years.
Staff , parents and pupils at the Cambridge School were devastated to learn that they weren’t going to get their new buildings when BSF was cancelled. But now another even more demoralising plan seems to be afoot. We’ve been told that following an early morning visit to their school a few weeks ago by WLFS parent campaigner Toby Young, staff have been warned that they may now be moving to the unreconstructed Bryony site ( apparently in a much worse condition than their current school) so that the WLFS can have the Cambridge school buildings , an altogether more attractive site and coincidentally in a more affluent part of the borough, for the next couple of years.
According to one local resident who desscribed the WLFS as’ ruthless’ when it came to getting what it wanted: ‘The Cambridge building is no longer fit for purpose but the Bryony centre is even worse. ‘
The WLFS campaigners have always argued that their school would be fully inclusive without adversely affecting any of its neighbouring schools. Forcing young people with special needs at short notice into second class premises seems incompatible with that aim especially, as there appears to be no meaningful consultation about this plan. At the very least the Cambridge parents, pupils and teachers should be allowed to campaign for first call on any capital resources, so that their new building can be renovated before they move in, and before money is spent on free schools which may not even be needed.
Does anyone know anything more about this story?