Hammersmith and Fulham council are currently 'consulting' on a proposal to close a community primary school to free up a prime site in South Fulham for a secondary boys free school, forced to delay opening by a year due to a lack of site. The wording of the consultation gives the impression that the closure of Sulivan Primary School and subsequent 'amalgamation' with nearby New Kings Primary School will bring greater opportunities for local children, despite the number of available places being cut from next year onwards to address the so called issues of surplus places.
Interesting, then, that a number of other local primary schools have been asked to take 'bulge' classes to address shortages in nursery and reception classes. Also interesting to note that the proposal to site the new free school on the Sulivan site places it within 100 yards on a straight road of a secondary school judged to be outstanding by OFSTED but with places available. This is the same school that H&F council tried, and failed, to close a few years ago - Hurlingham and Chelsea School, a mixed community school.
Added to this, the Fulham College Boys' School (not to be confused with the proposed free school calling itself Fulham Boys School) is also in the south of Fulham and has, for the past two years, been in the top 2% nationally for the progress that students make, with the value added measure placing it as the highest ranked boys school in London in 2012. Once again, this school has places available and is becoming increasingly popular but yet, the council is bending over backwards to site a secondary school for boys right in the middle of this part of Fulham.
The proposal is an appalling, politically motivated move to introduce another free school without any regard for the staff, pupils and parents at Sulivan School. If it goes ahead, it will be interesting to see how the admissions policy of the Fulham Boys School is applied as the site sits on the edge of the Sulivan Court estate - I wonder if the 50% of non-faith places will be allocated by distance on a straight line measure or, like the West London Free School in the same borough, there will be a slightly less straight forward policy to accommodate those from further afield? The link to the 'consultation' is here