Mayor Biggs progresses plans to close Raine’s Foundation

Following six months of campaigning, including a petition with over 3,000 signatures rebutting the councils proposal to shut Raine’s Foundation School, demonstrations in protest, and a consultation, Mayor John Biggs has approved a statutory notice on proposals recommending the closure of East London’s oldest school in August 2020.

Due to Biggs’ approval, the process has progressed into the representation stage, where any organisation or persons can comment on or object to the proposal over a four week period. Following this, the council expects to reach a decision by January 2020, a month earlier than the previously proposed date. Should the decision fall in favour of shutting Raine’s down, plans will be implemented between March and August 2020.

The emergence of closure proposals are due to declining student numbers over an eight year period, with only 29 pupils issuing Raine’s as their first preference for entry into Year 7 in September 2019. According to the recent statutory proposal, an ‘unrecoverable cumulative budget deficit at 1 April 2019 of 0.91m’ is an additional cause for Raine’s possible closure, which would end its lifespan of centuries.

Many staff members and parents have raised concerns over a lack of transparency as Raine’s potential closure became public knowledge in May, after a confidential document was leaked on social media. Protests followed shortly after, including Laura Gibson’s petition, a former pupil, ex-staff member and parent to a pupil at Raine’s, and ex Chelsea footballer, Micky Ambrose who has publicly supported protests.

In an attempt to accommodate displaced pupils, the expansion of Oaklands school on Old Bethnal Green Road is being considered as a parallel proposal and Years 8, 9, 10 and 11 will be allocated spaces. However, the statutory proposal claims the Council ‘will support’ applications to other schools permitting ‘students meet the admissions criteria and where there is sufficient space’.

A public meeting will be held on 11 November 5:30-7:30pm at the Professional Development Centre, 229 Bethnal Green Road, E2 6AB, during which more information will be available on how representation can be made and what the next stages are.

Give your feedback

To comment on or object to the proposal you can email or write to the following address by Monday 2 December, 2019:

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

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