Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Schools update

There are major changes in the pipeline for schools in our area and this is just an update on what we now know following meetings with the Learning Trust.   The council via the Hackney Learning Trust is trying to make sure that there are enough primary and secondary school places available for local children and young people. They estimate that because of a rapidly growing population there will be major pressure in particular on secondary places, meaning they need roughly two new six form of entry secondary schools by 2019.

They have undertaken a feasibility study and believe the best option is to use an existing primary school site for a secondary school. They have identified Benthal School as a site that is both large enough and near enough to other vacant or existing primary sites that can be used to relocate Benthal primary. 

So, the proposal is likely to be that a secondary school is proposed for Benthal, Benthal primary school moves to the Nightingale primary school site and that Nightingale primary school moves to the vacant Tiger Way site.

The timetable (very rough) is likely to be:
- planning application for the Tiger Way site (to be the new Nightingale primary) July/August 2015. NB financially this is happening independently of the other proposals, which is why its first.
- consultation on the basic idea of putting a new secondary on the Benthal site in September 2015 lasting for six weeks.
- planning application  for the secondary and new Benthal schools in mid 2016
- two-three year construction period, meaning the new schools will be open by 2019.

As a Benthal governor Rick attended a meeting of the Friends of Benthal group this month and lots of questions were asked which Benthal governors have now put to the Learning Trust. The Learning Trust and the governors will be in contact with parents directly before the end of term with a ‘Question and Answer’ briefing. 

Importantly the Learning Trust told us their aim is that Benthal school will stay on its current site while construction takes place and that they will aim to keep the decant into temporary buildings to a 2 year period. They have said there will be outside space provided for the children during the decant period. 

Please note there is a separate planning process regarding the Tiger Way site and we know many people have strong views about the proposed residential accommodation that is proposed to finance this (two roughly ten storey blocks facing Hackney Downs). We are also very concerned about the height of these blocks and will be organising a residents meeting soon to discuss this.  We have been told that the plans are being revised in light of residents comments so far, but they are still going to aim for the same number of units. Please email us if you have any questions about this process.

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