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East London’s oldest school faces closure

Consultations are open on plans to close Raine’s Foundation School in August 2020, with Oaklands Secondary School expanding in order to accommodate displaced students. 

Should the plans go ahead they will bring the school’s centuries long life to a close. Raine’s celebrated its 300th birthday in May. It was established in 1719 by Henry Raine, a wealthy Wapping brewer who wanted local children to have access to free education.

The proposals are a response to declining student numbers at the school, as well as below par academic performance. Raine’s has 911 places but only 558 on its register, and its most recent Ofsted grading was ‘Requires Improvement.’ 

Most Raine’s students are from Globe Town or Bow

Schools are funded using a formula based on the number of registered pupils at a school. Raine’s requires an annual intake of at least 120 to be sustainable, but only 29 pupils applied to Raine’s as their first preference for entry to Year 7 in September 2019.

The consultation document claims: ‘There is every indication that the number of pupils attending Raine’s will fall even further over the coming years.’

Oaklands Secondary School would increase its working capacity from 800 to 1200 to accommodate displaced Raine’s students, with sixth form moving to the current lower Raine’s site. 

Staff at Raine’s will be given first priority for positions that open at Oaklands, though anyone who has not found new work by August 2020 will be made redundant. 

There has been a series of protests in response to the proposals, including demonstrations and a Change.org petition that has so far been signed by more than 2,800 people. Parents and students have raised concerns about GCSEs being disrupted, while others have taken issue with the lack of transparency involved in the plans.  

The consultation is running from 10 June to 31 July, and the decision on the closure of Raine’s will not be made until February 2020.

Click here to read the full consultation document

Give your feedback

To provide feedback on the proposals you can click here to complete the consultation survey.

Alternatively, you can email your comments to school.organisation@towerhamlets.gov.uk or write to the following address by Wednesday 24 July, 2019:

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

If you enjoyed this piece you may like reading about the campaign to preserve Whitechapel Bell Foundry

 


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Frederick O'Brien

Fred is a journalist with an interest in community development. His research has featured in The Independent, The Telegraph, and the New York Post, among others.

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