Cllr Nick Stanton, Liberal Democrat Leader of Southwark Council, has called on all parties involved in the plans for the new Harris Boys Academy in East Dulwich to make sure that the new school opens its doors in September 2008.
The school is scheduled to open in September 2009 on its permanent site, but was due to open on a temporary site in September 2007. However, the project board and the Government recently pulled out of the agreed site – Bredinghurst School – claiming that it was unsafe.
In a letter to Schools Minister Lord Adonis, Nick Stanton said:
“I suggest we agree to disagree over the merits of the Bredinghurst risk assessment and concentrate on finding a way of opening the School as quickly as possible. We have reviewed the area to see if there are any other sites that Southwark can proffer but I’m afraid that there are no further realistic options. Unless, therefore, we can revisit Bredinghurst I suggest we concentrate instead on trying to get the School to open on its permanent site with 3 forms of entry in September 2008.”
Commenting, Cllr Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Children’s Services, said:
“We have been exploring every possible option to keep the original 2007 opening on track, but it looks like this just cannot happen. Our plans must therefore turn to opening the temporary school in September 2008.
“The idea of siting the temporary school on the permanent site was considered but rejected as it would be too large in its planned form. However, now that we have lost a year, we need to find space for only 90 pupils in a temporary school rather than 180 and so we are confident that the permanent site can accommodate them.
“The most important consideration is the best interests of the pupils of the new school. Getting the school open as quickly as possible is absolutely vital. We are disappointed that we have lost a year, but are determined to move ahead with a temporary school in 2008. We have asked to meet with the Government to make sure that this happens.”