I’m delighted to announced the new Haberdasher’s Aske’s East Dulwich College.
The East Dulwich Lib Dem councillors initiated a campaign in 2013 for a new co-ed non-faith secondary free school. This followed their experiences helping to avert the pending primary school places crisis by leading a successful campaign for new local primary schools. It was also informed by casework from distraught local families being offered secondary school places outside the area – places like Catford, New Cross, Walworth. It became clear that a new local secondary school was urgently needed to meet local demand and no later than September 2016. We even brought education minister David Laws MP to East Dulwich to discuss the problem last July.
When we met Southwark Council officials they were clear that no new school was required expecting local kids to travel across London for places and that they would contest any new school we campaigned for. Ouch!
After many months of us leafleting and canvassing homes, schools, street stalls, online we found more than enough support for our campaign and a new free school application to be made. We’d proved the officials wrong. We then moved onto finding a great school provider. For this we initiated a Parents Steering Group which successfully took on this task and also helped increase the numbers of supporting families. We’ve now reached 454 supporting families. Working with this group, who have met four times and with us visited various local schools on fact finding trips, and after considerable deliberations, a unanimous decision to work with Haberdashers’ Aske Federation was taken. Haberdashers’ have now announced that their governing body has approved taking this project further. They plan to model a new Haberdashers’ Aske’s East Dulwich College (secondary school) on their outstandingly successful Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College. The school would be for around 180pupils per year group include a sixth form and open September 2016.
To further support this project East Dulwich Liberal Democrats in February submitted a Right to Contest application, using legislation created by Liberal Democrats in government. The application is about freeing up the two-thirds of the Dulwich Hospital site which has remained unoccupied for over 20 years. The Parents Steering committee agree with us that this space represents the minimum space for our new secondary school.
We look forward to continue working with Haberdashers to support them submitting a free school application November 2014. We still welcome further support via our website www.newschool.org.uk or email us directly [email protected]
We also welcome the support both Southwark Labour and Conservatives have now given to this project and that officers have now confirmed a new school is needed.
Councillor James barber ” it has been a long journey to reach this stage but I’m truly delighted to bring on board such a prestigious and renowned school provider as Haberdashers’ Aske’s and to model our new school on their Hatcham College”.
Councillor Rosie Shimell added “having denied any need for a new secondary school its great that Lib Dems have won the argument and Southwark Labour are now saying they support our campaign. We just need to see them practically support it now”.
COuncillor Jonathan Mitchell also said “I’ve slogged my guts out canvassing for support for our idea of a new secondary school. So I delighted all our hard work has born fruit attracting such a great school provider to our area who will complement all our existing outstanding schools”.