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Proposal to amalgamate Redlands Primary School and Smithy Street Primary School

Proposal to amalgamate Redlands Primary School and Smithy Street Primary School approved by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets

On 25 March 2020 the Mayor of Tower Hamlets approved the amalgamation of Redlands Primary School and Smithy Street Primary School via individual executive decision.

This means that Smithy Street Primary School will officially close on 31August 2020, with the amalgamation of both schools taking effect from 1 September 2020.

The decision notice has been published on the Mayor’s executive decision making webpage.

This decision follows:

  • the initial non-statutory consultation which took place throughout September and October 2019
  • publication of a statutory notice on 5 February 2020
  • the four week statutory consultation period which finished on 4 March 2020.

All feedback received during the consultation period was included in the report considered by the Mayor on 25 March 2020 and informed the final decision.

View the full report and appendices

Appeals process

Although the decision has been made, there is a final appeal process outlined in the Department for Education’s statutory guidance on School Organisation. Rights of appeal apply both to the closure of Smithy Street Primary School and the expansion of Redlands Primary School.

The following organisations can appeal within four weeks of the decision being taken:

  • Diocesan Board of Education of any Church of England Diocese in the relevant area
  • Bishop of any Roman Catholic church in the relevant area

As the decision was taken on 25 March 2020, the deadline for receipt of appeals is midnight, 22 April 2020.

Appeals should be addressed to school.organisation@towerhamlets.gov.uk or by post to:

School Organisation Team
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
London
E14 2BG

Appeals received by the closing date must be referred to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) by the local authority. The OSA would then check that the appeal has been properly referred and will then examine the merits of the case.

The adjudicator will have the power to uphold, overturn or modify that decision.

There is no right of appeal against determinations made by the OSA, which can only be challenged by Judicial Review in the Courts.

Background

The local authority has been undertaking a review of primary school places to identify long-term solutions that will reduce the significant number of surplus places in the west of the borough, whilst ensuring that schools remain financially sustainable and able to maintain high quality education.

Pupil numbers at Smithy Street and Redlands Primary Schools are falling and this reflects a trend across other schools in the Stepney catchment area. Reception numbers at both schools will not be sufficient to fill four forms of entry by September 2020, putting significant pressure on their respective budgets.

The proposal

The local authority working with the governors of Redlands and Smithy Street Primary Schools, is proposing to join together both schools to form a single three form entry 3-11 primary school from September 2020. Both schools already work and plan their educational offer together, and these factors have led the governing bodies to consider becoming a single primary school.

The schools will join together, but retain the existing Redlands registration number. The amalgamated school will change its name to Stepney Park Primary School from September.

An informal consultation was held with parents, pupils, staff and the wider community throughout September and October 2019 via a series of meetings. The feedback from this process was very positive and this was reported to the Council Cabinet on 29 January. At this meeting the Mayor approved recommendations for the schools to join together and to the issuing of a statutory notice to commence the formal statutory consultation  over a period of four weeks until 4 March 2020.

The statutory notice now means that the proposal is being progressed to the next stage. After 4 March, when all responses to the notice have been received, a report will be prepared for Council Cabinet in late March 2020 for a final decision to be taken by the Mayor.

Tell us what you think

The local authority is seeking the views of all interested parties. Any person or organisation may object to or make comments on the proposal by contacting:

Email 

school.organisation@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Post

School Organisation and Place Planning Manager
Pupil Services and School Sufficiency
Tower Hamlets Children’s and Culture
Town Hall
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
E14 5BG

Please note that the deadline for receipt of comments is 4 March 2020 at midnight.

The process to amalgamate Smithy Street and Redlands Primary Schools will involve six steps:

Step one

Informal consultation (September - November 2019)

On the proposal to amalgamate Smithy Street and Redlands Primary Schools.

Step two

Decision (January 2020)

The consultation will inform the decision by the Mayor in Cabinet in January 2020 on whether or not to issue a statutory notice.

Step three

Publication* (February 2020)

If the decision is taken to issue a statutory notice this will be published in early February 2020 on the council’s consultation web page and statutory stakeholders will be notified within a week of the date of publication.

Step four

Representation* (February – March 2020)

A four week statutory consultation period will commence from the date of publication of the statutory notice. This is a chance for further responses to the proposal in the statutory notice to be put forward by all interested parties.

Redlands and Smithy Street statutory consultation responses

Step five

Decision* (March/April 2020)

To be taken by the Mayor in Cabinet following the four week consultation period. All decisions are subject to the council’s ‘call in‘ process. There is a final appeal process outlined in the Department for Education’s statutory guidance on School Organisation where specified organisations can appeal within four weeks of a decision notice being published by the council.

Step six

Implementation* (April - September 2020)

If the decision is taken to amalgamate Smithy Street and Redlands Primary Schools.

*These stages will apply only if the proposal is approved by the council.