Parents occupy Forest Gate private school after being told it’s shutting for good

Grangewood Independent School in Forest Gate. Picture: Ken Mears

Grangewood Independent School in Forest Gate. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Parents at a Forest Gate private school have taken to occupying the building after they were told it would close for Easter and not re-open.

At the beginning of March, parents were told Grangewood Independent School may close as it had run out of money.

This was confirmed on Monday, but in a statement, parents discovered there was still £1 million in the school’s bank account as of mid-March.

On Wednesday, when the school was due to close for the holidays, parents took to the building and refused to leave.

Michelle Egbe, whose son is in Year Five, said: “The directors have been so underhand with us, so we entered the building.

“They sent the police and they sent locksmiths to change the locks, but they can’t change them while we’re here.”

Parents insist the school will operate as normal, with teachers also taking part in the sit-in.

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Another parent, Jones Agyeman, said they plan to run the same Easter activities and continue after the holidays, essentially freezing the directors out.

He claimed parents were told the landlords are looking to seize the building. But after speaking with them, they were told the lease isn’t due to run out until December 2019.

He said: “We were told the school had no money but we have a statement from mid-March that says there was still money in their bank account, so we’ve asked them to show the evidence that there is no money left now. They have refused to show it to us.

“We came here with our children yesterday and had a meeting. We’re now working on a plan for the Easter break to keep the school running as normal.

“The teachers are still working, but we’re stopping the directors getting access to the building.

“Nothing has changed, we come and go as we please, but we’ve got the building secure.”

Parents pay £1,500 per term to send their children to Grangewood, which has been running for almost 40 years. Newham Council has said there is space for 59 children in other schools.

Grangewood’s directors have been approached for comment.