Letter to public from Fulham Boys School

A Letter from Fulham Boys School went out to the local community in an effort to ‘correct’ ‘various rumours, inaccuracies and falsehoods’.  We’d like to make a few corrections and clarifications, in recognition that twitter is sometimes a hard medium to communicate in – but only after affirming that nobody in this campaign has purposefully put out false statements.  And this campaign has never said we did not want the Boys School – we have only said we don’t want it on our site.  A reciprocal message of support having anything to do with Sulivan has never been forthcoming.

The letter was explaining ‘need’ and said that local applications to single sex boys schools outstripped offers made 160 to 73.  This is apparently LBHF data but cannot be correct because there are full intakes at both Fulham Boys (120 places) as well as 160 at the Oratory.  That’s 280 places per year, not 73.  What is this figure really representing? Are they really saying there were two applicants for every place? (160/73 =2.1)  Even at that rate, a ‘safe’ level of subscription, particularly for young unstable schools, is at least 3 applications per place.  School funding is about full seats, and this is an area with a lot of movement.  (But you can’t also say that there need to be places ‘just in case’ because that defeats the main argument against closing Sulivan – massive increase in primary places just around the corner, enough to fill WLFS primaries (both), all 384 ‘empty’ places in Fulham, and more….)

Additionally, on consultation:  legal consultation requirements are very minimal.  The Secretary of State would sign the agreement if the school was objected to by the entire community – it’s happened elsewhere.  As we have learned in the past, ‘consultation’ means ‘consultation’ – the responses do not have to be taken into consideration and as the Secretary of State is not an elected local official, he takes no risk in signing it regardless of the outcome of the consultation.

On the travel plan:  it is beyond comprehension that LBHF have not yet done a holistic impact survey of all of the developments planned for the area. (!) But anyway, once the school is sited (wherever it gets sited), there is only so much mitigation of impact that can be done.   A school travel plan contains a plan for how people movement can be supported and guided – cycling promotion, cycle racks, travel timing, signposting to public transport etc.  They cannot prohibit children from, for instance, hanging out on the green by the hundreds, or require them to walk a certain way to and from school.  And no plan can make it easier for athletic event coaches any smaller than they are, or Peterborough Road to be any bigger than it is.

And on selectivity:  if it is going to be as ‘popular’ as they say it will be,  the school will be oversubscribed in its first intake and therefore it will not, for all practicable purposes, be a school open to all.  The 50% places restriction is not in the first line admissions criteria, but the moment the school has more applicants than places, the 50% religious selection will kick in and half of the places restricted and given to boys who are Church of England.  Not having this restriction as a key criteria allows Fulham Boys to say that it is open to all, but the practical reality is that the school will function as if religious selection was a first line admissions criteria for half the applicants.  If someone else reads it another way, please comment.  Thank you!

About the Author:

We are parents, teachers, staff and community members outraged at the proposed closure of our lovely comprehensive primary school. Rated Good with Outstanding Features, this school is set to be closed by the Council so that they can give the property to the Fulham Boys Free School. Please support us by sending messages and on twitter at @saveoursulivan.

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