London Dock secondary school – parents to decide if mixed or single sex

The nature of the secondary school to be built on the London Dock development will be decided by parents who will choose if the new education facility will be boys only, girls only or girls and boys (co-educational). Part of the decision making process will be a meeting for parents on 31st October at Raines House. Time is 6.30 and there is the promise of tea and cakes.



The meeting will be chaired by our local Cllr. Denise Jones (Labour, St. Katharines’ and Wapping) and Dr. Vanessa Ogden, CEO of the Mulberry Schools Trust. Cllr. Jones is also a long-serving governor at Mulberry. More details as we get them.

“It is right to offer the education that residents want for their children and so any school that is developed for the London Dock site will speak to the wishes of the Wapping community,” said a spokesperson for Mulberry Schools Trust in a statement issued to LW.

School? What school?

It seems that many parents in Wapping are completely unaware that space has been set aside in the London Dock development for the provision of a secondary school. The diagram above shows where the school will be, at the junction of The Highway and Virginia Street. Below is a photograph of the site.

View of London Dock school site from Virginia Street
View of London Dock school site from Virginia Street

Rumours have been circulating for some months as to the exact nature of the London Dock school and so LW sent the Wapping Mole out to do some burrowing and root out the facts.

LW understands that Mulberry Schools trust has been holding talks with a small number of parents about a school at the London Dock site, but these talks have only been with parents in the vicinity of Mulberry. A full consultation process is now underway, hence the meeting on 31st October.

Parents interviewed by LW regarding the secondary school at London Docks were overwhelmingly in favour of a mixed school.

Wapping parents comments

“What is missing in this area is a good mixed secondary school,” said one mum.

“A single sex school is not very useful for the community” was another comment. “We need a co-ed here.”

“The school should certainly be mixed, there are lots of girls and boys in the area and not much in the way of alternatives” said a mother of a young boy and girl.

Transparent consultation when parents are available

“I hope due diligence and procedure has been followed to inform the decision as to who should be the school provide for the London Dock location,” said Christine Trumper, a local resident and mother of two.

“There should be a fair, inclusive and transparent consultation and at a time of year when parents are available to provide feedback and definitely not in the summer holidays.”

Sources say that  Mulberry Schools Trust did submit a proposal for a boys only school at London Dock to the Council and while back but this had been rejected and Mulberry were told to resubmit with a plan for a mixed secondary school.

LW emailed Cllr. Rachael Saunders, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Education & Children’s Service for some clarity on the issue. Cllr. Saunders promptly replied stating that “it was not decided yet who will get the site”.

London Dock school – Council statement

“The DfE has approved Mulberry Schools Trust can open a new secondary boys’ school however no date or location has been determined for this.”

“Tower Hamlets Council will develop the proposals to build a new secondary school at London Dock. There is, as yet, no confirmation of a proposed opening date for the school. When the opening date can be confirmed, the council will seek the appointment of a provider for the school using the required ‘free school presumption’ process. The council will make sure that all local stakeholders have the opportunity to be involved in the various stages of consultation when developing the proposals and when the provider is appointed.”

You can find out more about the free school presumption process at the Department for Education site Establishing a new school: free school presumption. 

Although Mulberry Schools Trust has been given permission to establish a boys’ school by the Department for Education (see press release below) the site is yet to be determined and it is not a given that it will be at London Dock, it could be at another location in the Borough.

Mulberry seems to have wide ambitions and a co-ed school on the London Dock site would be in keeping with these ambitions. The below is from the Minutes of Tower Hamlets Admissions Forum (PDF) held on Tuesday 8th December 2015 10.30am at St. Peters London Docks Garnet Street, E1W 3QT (not to be confused with the new London Docks school of course).

5. Mulberry Academy Trust, University Multi Academy Trust and Tower Hamlets Schools Partnership.

Mulberry Academy Trust – being led by Mulberry School for Girls will seek to establish a number of new schools on different sites, including a Mulberry School for Boys, Mulberry UTC, Mulberry Primary School, and Mulberry SEN School. Mulberry Co-ed 6th Form College, Mulberry Special School and Mulberry Adult Learning Centre. The Trust will open its UTC on the site of the former Bow Fire Station in 2017 and has expressed its intention to bid for the new secondary school planned on the site of the former News International building. “

Press Release: Mulberry School for Boys gets the Go Ahead from the Department for Education

“The Department for Education has given the go ahead for the Mulberry Schools Trust, which operates in Tower Hamlets, to open a brand new Secondary School in Tower Hamlets. The school called Mulberry School for Boys will be a state funded Free School and will be an non-selective school.  The site is yet to be determined.

This will be the third school within the Mulberry family of schools and the boys’ school will be modelled on the Trust’s oversubscribed and successful flagship school, Mulberry School for Girls. The approval comes at an exciting time as the Mulberry UTC is set to open in September 2017 which will provide ground-breaking employer-led education on the site of the Bow Fire Station on Roman Road. All three schools will work together so that the new school benefits from expert support as it grows full capacity. Mulberry School for Boys will be an 11 – 19 six form entry boys’ school and will have 1,080 places. The aim is to develop the very highest aspirations in the young men at the school as the Trust believes that this enables them to lead successful, happy and fulfilled lives, making a contribution to their own community and to wider British society.

Like Mulberry School for Girls, the education provided at the new boys’ will be tailored to the needs of gender in the 21st century and the school and will share the features that have led to the girls’ school in becoming an exceptional provider of education with a securely established reputation both locally, nationally and internationally as seen in the links made in 2015 with the USA’s First Lady and her initiative ‘Let Girls Learn’.

The vision of the Trustees of the Mulberry Schools Trust is underpinned by moral purpose – a desire to do more to improve the quality of education for all young people and by a commitment to local schools working together to secure the future of Tower Hamlets education through an inclusive, ambitious, collegiate and high quality offer.

Dr. Vanessa Ogden, CEO of the Mulberry Schools Trust expressed her delight at the announcement from the Department for Education and would like to thank the community for their support.”

Another secondary school exceeding legal air quality levels

Back in July LW ran a story concerning the fact that eleven secondary schools in Tower Hamlets exceed legal air quality levels.

Guess which will be the twelfth school to exceed legal air quality levels? Yep, the school at London Dock, whoever builds it.

Data shows that the air quality around the new London Dock school will be higher than any of the other schools on the list due to the high volume of traffic passing along The Highway only feet away from the school premises.

Traffic passing along The Highway next to the London Dock school site (right)

Cllr. Jones has told LW that she is aware of the pollution problem and has been working on this for some time. The pollution issue will be the subject of another LW post.

For more information


%d bloggers like this: