Biggs issues statutory notice to close Raine’s Foundation School – public meeting

If you only attend one public meeting in 2019 please make it this one – unless you think we have too many schools in Tower Hamlets, natch.

On Monday 11th November between 5.30pm – 7.30pm at the Professional Development Centre, 229 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6AB there will be a public meeting to discuss the decision by Mayor John Biggs to approve a report recommending the closure of Raine’s Foundation School on 31 August 2020.

A Freedom of Information response totally lacking information

However it seems that there is something very secret that the Council really does not want you to know about. Wonder why? See below for more details.

Raine’s Foundation School is a Church of England voluntary aided school based on two sites in Bethnal Green. An Interim Executive Board (IEB) was established on 29 October 2018 to .

A statutory notice to close the school has now been issued. This follows a decision by John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets to approve a report recommending the closure of the school.

The statutory notice along with full details of the proposals can be found on the council’s website including a list of 55 Frequently Asked Questions.

Comment on Raine’s Foundation School closure

Comments and objections can be made until Monday 2 December 2019 at midnight by emailing or by post to:

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

All comments and objections will be collated and considered as part of a report that will go to the council’s Cabinet in January 2020 for a final decision.

Campaign to save Raine’s Foundation School

Raine’s Foundation School

The campaign to Save Raines has been led by Mickey Ambrose, who worked at the school for two years.

Earlier this year campaigners attempted to stop the closure by legal action on the basis that Tower Hamlets Council pre-determined the closure before the end of consultations and before the final decision next February.

On 9th October 2019 the legal action failed but there still remains the issue of the Lower School building in Old Bethnal Green Road, this has had a £4m refurbishment ready for the council to hand the building over to nearby Oaklands school.

This building is owned by Raine’s Foundation Trust along with the Upper School in Approach Road.

“The Raine’s Foundation has campaigned against the school closing.” says Mickey Ambrose. “London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH) have written that alternatives to closure were discussed on 16th and 30th November 2018 between the London Diocesan Board for Schools (LDBS) and the Interim Executive Board (IEB) but the LDBS repeatedly deny meeting the IEB.

Redacted absurdity

LBTH claim that the minutes of these two meetings are deemed sensitive and confidential but, we feel that it is in the public interest for these minutes to be published in full.”

LW has submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Council for copies of the minutes of these meetings. Should be interesting to see if what we get is any better than the FOI response Mickey got.

Redacted FOI response re Raine’s Foundation School  closure

The only information in this document is that there was a meeting and something was discussed. Useful huh?

Mickey adds that Raine’s Foundation School is not a Church Trust School and that the LDBS had no right to discuss or negotiate anything on behalf of the Raine’s Trust.

He said that Inigo Woolfe, CEO of the LDBS sat on the panel of one of the previous public consultation meetings.

LW Comment

No prizes for guessing what the final decision is likely to be, but there is still a battle to be fought.

Seems that the decision to close Raine’s Foundation School is more about the land on which Raine’s stands than anything to do with education or the needs of pupils and parents.

LW sources say that the land is needed by Tower Hamlets Council to meet its commitments to build new homes in the borough and that this is the driving factor to shut down Raine’s Foundation School.

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