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2012 Wapping High School application

2012 Wapping High School application

At the end of May the Wapping and Shadwell Secondary Education Trust (WSSET) will formally apply to open a new secondary school in 2012.

Two viable sites have now been identified for Wapping High School: Aldgate Brewery in Commercial Road and The Shadwell Centre on The Highway.

WSSET has campaigned for two years about the lack of secondary education provisions for children in Wapping and Shadwell.

Places for 2012 entry to Wapping High School are already 25% oversubscribed, giving even further support to the proposal and clear evidence of demand.

The Wapping and Shadwell Secondary Education Trust

WSSET are all volunteers from our local Wapping community. They encourage your feedback, questions and visible public support via their website www.wappinghigh.org.

For many years families living in Wapping and Shadwell have been disadvantaged by a recognised lack of access to good secondary schools. This has lead to high levels of mobility out of the borough, poor community cohesion and coincides with an increasing borough-wide shortfall of year 7 places from 2013. To increase pupil capacity the council plans to open a 9 form entry school in Bow Locks and plans to expand existing schools. Unfortunately, these plans do nothing to address the lack of provision for families in Wapping and Shadwell. During the past two years a campaign has been running to open a comprehensive secondary school in Wapping or Shadwell. The free-school initiative offers the community the opportunity to make a new school a reality at no extra cost to the borough.

At the end of May the Wapping and Shadwell Secondary Education Trust (WSSET) will be submitting an application to the Department for Education (DfE) to open a new comprehensive secondary school in or near Wapping and Shadwell in 2012. We have a fantastic level of parental demand with registrations of interest from 400 families, representing 600 children. Entry to the school in 2012 is oversubscribed with 125% of the places accounted for. The admissions policy will be inclusive. The DfE has told us that our curriculum offer is strong and Partnerships for Schools has confirmed that we have viable sites that offer excellent value for money. However, the new application process is competitive and makes overall cost a competitive criteria. Shadwell and Wapping have some of the highest level of childhood poverty in England (61% of teenagers in Shadwell and 48% of teenagers in Wapping are eligible for free school meals) and yet since they border the City of London property prices are at a premium. We fear that in relation to the rest of the country ours is an expensive option and therefore, our bid may not appear to be competitive. Are the children of Shadwell and Wapping to be penalised because of where they live?

Two sites have been identified as viable for the new school:

Aldgate Brewery, Commercial Road – Aldgate Brewery a is privately owned grade II listed building. It is currently being redeveloped as an educational facility, with a mixture of refurbishment and new-build. It offers the potential for an exciting, modern school facility. Acquisition of this site for the new school would bring into public ownership an important local historic building.

Shadwell Centre, Highway – The Shadwell Centre on the Highway is a purpose built school. It is currently used for adult education classes and for council offices. Planned budget cuts means that adult education services across the borough are being reduced and the resulting vacant space at the Shadwell Centre has been earmarked for offices. Given the lack of secondary education provision in Wapping and Shadwell it is appalling that a publicly owned purpose built facility should be used for anything other than a school. WSSET are urging the council to make this building available for the new school. Additionally, WSSET have pledged to safeguard and support as much of the adult education provision as possible by continuing to run adult classes in the evenings, weekends and school holidays.

Lease of the Shadwell Centre offers the opportunity to raise in the order of £7 million, money that could be spent on other educational projects in the borough. Overall this initiative offers a unique opportunity for a new school in an area of desperate need at no cost to the borough. In a time of austerity and budget cuts WSSET are urging Mayor Rahman to seize the chance to improve the provision of secondary education for children in Tower Hamlets. Mayor Rahman has indicated that he does not oppose the project but he has yet to demonstrate his commitment to families by actively supporting our proposal.

Visible public support for this community lead project is vital. More information about how to support the project can be found on the website www.wappinghigh.org.

The Wapping and Shadwell Secondary Education Trust

Public Consultation

Consultation continues and if the application for Wapping High School is approved there will be a dedicated period for public consultation before any funding is released.

Register your interest in Wapping High School

To register your interest for a Wapping secondary school and provide feedback, support or questions to the WSSET please visit www.wappinghigh.org.