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.

Give your feedback

To provide feedback on the proposals 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

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Frederick O'Brien

Fred is a writer and researcher with a background in sustainable development. His research has featured in The Independent, the Evening Standard, and the New York Post, among others.

One thought on “East London’s oldest school faces closure

  • Hi Raine’s has been part of the East End for 300 years and the Raine’s Trust still works tirelessly to support students to achieve their best. The school has been through a very turbulent couple of years, but throughout the sixth form has been rated Good by OFSTED and has been one of the top performing 16-19 providers in the borough. 11-16 has had some challenges which have been tackled and recognised by OFSTED.LBTH have attempted to close the school before the consultation period has begun, let alone finished. The Consulatation Paper was full of inaccuracies and the council have acted cynically to expand another school at the expense of this church school. The full story will come out but in the meantime please have faith in this historic school #300MoreYears!


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