The decision to close a community school has been suspended in an unprecedented move that renders last week’s vote null and void.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s Conservative cabinet voted on Monday last week to close the award-winning Sulivan Primary School and amalgamate it with nearby New Kings School. A new free school, Fulham Boys School, had been scheduled to take over the Sulivan School site.
But the process has been suspended by the borough’s education and children’s services select committee who have called in the decision. This is the first time any select committee has called in a cabinet decision on the council.
Leader of the Labour opposition group, Councillor Stephen Cowan, said: “The seven select committee members who called in this decision appear to have done the borough a very big favour. I know it won’t have been done lightly. It would be unwise for the Conservative administration to play down this call-in or try to bulldoze the process through.
“Why close a primary school whose latest SATs results place it as 233rd out of 16,884 primaries in England and put it firmly into the top two per cent of schools in the country?”
Councillor Helen Binmore, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This is fundamentally about parental choice and making both schools more attractive to local families. Amalgamation will build on the best of both schools and offer very real educational benefits to pupils, as well as attracting more applications from local families.
“Amalgamation will give the new school more money for specialist teachers, more music, languages, PE and art and a £3.8million redesign, including a specialist science laboratory. The combined school will have more to offer than even the most over-subscribed schools in the borough.”
On Friday Conservative cabinet member for education, Councillor Georgie Cooney, denied that her friendship with the founder of a free school was the reason she voted to close Sulivan school.