Monday 31 August 2009

Lewisham Council forced to retreat

Over the summer, confirmation came that the parents' campaign to oppose the demolition of Lewisham Bridge primary school in Lewisham had won a victory.

Local campaigners, supported by a long-running rooftop protest, had successfully achieved 'listed building' status for the school. Facing local protests and growing difficulties with primary school place provision, the Council have had to accept that the listing has been upheld by the Department of Culture Media and Sport and that they will have to go back to the drawing board.

The Lewisham Bridge proposal formed one part of a wider plan by Lewisham's Labour Council to divide up our community schools into competing Academies and Trusts. Their setback is an encouragement to all of us campaigning to oppose Merlin School being taken over by Haberdashers' Aske's Academy Federation and to oppose the proposed Goldsmiths Trust taking control of three local schools.

Staff and pupils will be returning from their temporary decant site to the original Lewisham Bridge building at half-term. Staff will be weary of once more having to pack up their classrooms and set up again in another building. The NUT will be working with teachers to make sure they get the support they need to minimise the workload involved.

It's a pity that all bar the two socialist councillors voted for the school to be moved out in the first place at easter, when officers knew full well that the listing application threatened their plans. Perhaps they had got too used to getting away with everything they wanted to push through - despite opposition. This time they haven't!

A film produced by the rooftop protestors is on youtube on

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