New free school in Royal Wharf development ‘reluctantly’ approved by Newham Council
- Credit: Archant
Newham Council has “reluctantly” passed plans to build a free primary school to serve one of the borough’s largest new developments.
The new free school at Royal Wharf was given the green light by mayor Rokhsana Fiaz on Tuesday night.
The school will serve the Royal Wharf development, which will have more than 3,300 homes when finished.
The Britannia Education Trust, a charity which also set up the Britannia Village Primary School in Silvertown, has signed on to run the facility.
Free schools are a type of academy set up by parents, teachers, charities or businesses and funded directly by central government but independent of local council control.
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Earlier this month Ms Fiaz said she had “significant concerns about the government’s policy of academisation and the lack of accountability this type of school structure creates for local communities”.
However, the cabinet said it was “urgent” the school was set up to take its first intake of pupils by September 2019 and the free model was the only way of achieving this.
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Councillor Julianne Marriott, cabinet member for education and children, said: “This development already has around 2,000 people living on it and will have roughly 8,000 people by the time it is finished.
“We have no choice to agree this proposal to ensure our children can attend a school near their home and we fulfil our duties as an education authority. But it is a travesty that the only way we can have new schools in the borough is through free schools.”
Ms Fiaz added: “We will be bringing forward the full council motion on academies to the July cabinet.
“We will be asking government to enable us to build our own schools where demand determines it, give local authorities more powers to take over failing academies and to enable schools to return to local authority control.”