A TEACHING union fears proposals to merge two Fulham primary schools is being drawn up merely to create space for a new academy.
Sulivan Primary School in Peterborough Road is facing closure under plans to rehouse pupils within nearby New King’s Primary School.
Dennis Charman, chairman of Hammersmith and Fulham branch of the National Union of Teachers, which represents staff at both schools, described the proposals as ‘a closure not an amalgamation’ and criticised the timing of the consultation in the final week of term.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council instigated the move to tackle the low number of pupils attending the two schools – just 75 each year – and has pledged £2million to refurbish the New King’s site.
If the idea is approved by councillors in December, Sulivan would close in July 2014 providing a potential site for Fulham Boys Free School, a new secondary school recently approved by Government but without a home. They could move in by September 2016.
In an internal email to staff, seen by the Chronicle, Sulivan headteacher Wendy Aldridge expressed her shock and concern at the consultation which could leave her out of a job.
Mr Charman said: “We’re very concerned that a school which is a good school with some outstanding features and still feels it’s a viable school, should be closed. It’s not merging two schools to improve best practice but one school taking over another.”
He added: “The authority ought to look at a more strategic way for school provision in the whole of Fulham rather than picking two schools which have an advantage for another school – ie the academy – but not for the rest of children in Fulham.”
The Tory authority has not shied away from promoting academies and free schools in the borough, championed by Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Councillor Georgie Cooney, cabinet member for education, said: “Local parents have enthusiastically supported the Fulham Boys proposal and we would like to help them find a site, but nothing will be agreed until there has been detailed consultation with local people. The plan is very much a response to local families’ school preferences and we would urge everyone to get involved in the consultation.”
To respond to the consultation before October, visit www.lbhf.gov.uk/fulhamschools .