For children aged 5-11 there will be an art session led by local artist and former Laburnum School student Lee Dadpour. Lee will be working with the children to produce posters and banners calling for the school to stay open.
A local film-maker will be carrying out quick interviews with people on camera to produce a video, which we will send to all councillors.
There will be tea, coffee and other refreshments available.
Pick up campaign materials like postcards, posters and petitions and find out more about how you can support the campaign Save Laburnum Day. Saturday August 31st. 11.30am – 2.00pm. Haggerston Community Centre, Haggerston Road.
This information is produced by the Save Laburnum School Campaign and does not claim to represent the School itself or the School Governors.
“The Council haven’t told anyone they are looking to close the school, and this is meant to be the consultation period,” said Sharon Bender, mother of Cain Lowe, 11. “I’ve had nothing through from the Council. It’s only because I’ve read in the Gazette or the Hackney Independent or been told by the Governors. This isn’t consultation.”
While it is claimed there are surplus places in the Hoxton, Haggerston and Queensbridge area, chair of the governors at the school, Graham Myers has made it clear that the school is close to capacity:
“We have more information on the reasons the council proposes to close Laburnum. Basically, the council has worked out that Laburnum has a surplus of school places. However, according to the LEA we have a form and a half entry (one and a half classes per year group). Although we have only been single form entry (one class per year group) for some time, because when teachers left the school 1991-1992 those classes were closed down by the authority. The teachers were not replaced! So it is quite amazing that the same authority now tell us that we should actually have 330 pupils instead of our 220. Currently every class is at full capacity ie 25 or more. In fact, there is a waiting list for certain classes. Also, the fact that we have a brand new computer suite, a brand new science room, just completed, and the school office was moved down stairs into what was formally the year 2 class room. We doubt very much if we could accomodate 330 pupils.” The real reasons may be more complicated than what the council are claiming and one schoolkid hit the nail on the head when he said “Hackney Council wants to close our school and make it into posh flats!”. Laburnum School is on prime development land overlooking Regents Canal and ripe for conversion into flats for Hackney’s yuppie influx. And after all, who needs a local state primary when you could go private?
Hackney Independent is meeting with supporters of the campaign to keep Laburnum School open and will do what we can to prevent another sell-off of a much needed community asset. So soon after New Labour strengthened their hold on the Council it’s nice to see they’ve started out as they mean to go on – closing community facilities in working class areas.
Are there more places than kids in this part of Hackney? “We don’t think that they have done their sums right.”
A “consultation” process will start in mid-June. Parents’ views will apparently be considered by the Learning Trust, which takes over Hackney Education on August 1st. If Hackney Council consultation is a joke, then what will it be like for the unaccountable Learning Trust?
Speaking at the meeting for Hackney Independent, Peter Sutton pledged our support for the fight to keep Laburnum School open and proposed that a parents’ committee should be set up to act as an independent voice for parents. This was agreed by the meeting and the Hackney Independent has been invited to attend to support the campaign.
Burbage Primary School in Hoxton has won a reprieve after facing closure. In early April, Hackney Council u-turned on their plan to close the school which has been on “special measures” for two years and is reportedly two thirds full.
Campaigners greeted the news with delight, but there could still be trouble ahead. Councillor Phillip Pearson of the Lib Dems warned that the decision to keep the school open was “politically motivated” and “the school will be kept open until after the election and then hit with closure”. Is this the same party who have the closure of the Angel school lined up in Islington ? Another example of Lib Dems saying one thing here in Hackney where they are in opposition, and another in Islington where they have control of the council.
The closure of local facilities and the sell-off of public assets is just part of a bigger picture of social cleansing in East London and especially Shoreditch. While campaigners for the school should be congratulated on their success in winning a stay of execution, we await the council’s long-term plans with interest.
Despite the appointment of new broom managing director, Max Caller, who last year vowed to “Hackney’s house in order”, it is still business as usual in the benighted east london borough.
In the council where Paedophile social worker, Mark Trotter was allowed to carry on abusing children for years in the 1980s until he died of AIDS, a senior officer involved in the care of children and subject of a police investigation has been quietly allowed to resign.
Meanwhile Caller has been sitting for 4 months on a report by borough solicitor Chris Hinde into allegations of corruption in the Stamford Hill planning committee involving the Borough’s Tory Mayor Joe Lowenstein, first aired in Eye 981, July 1999. The report must be a thorough one. It took Hinde, who coincidentally used to be secretary of the former Dalston city partnership regeneration quango, of which Lobenstein was a director, more than a year to produce.
At least some Hackney officers are quicker off the mark. After NUT members at just one Hackney school, Stoke Newington comprehensive, voted in December not to cross picket lines duringa one-day strike by non-teaching unions against proposed budget cuts and redundancies, their general secretary, Doug McAvoy wrote to them pointing out that such a vote endorsed unlawful secondary action.
Officers in Hackney’s education department then copied McAvoy’s letter, with the recipient school’s name blanked out, and faxed it to every school in the borough, giving the impression that McAvoy was on the side of the local education authority in a dispute he in fact wanted to keep out of. That’s the kind of enterprise Hackney needs!
Attempts by mobile phone company One 2 One to put up another mast in the borough have been thwarted by protesters. The company had hoped to put a mast on the roof of Alexandra Court in Stoke Newington but opposition by local people forced the company to back down. Vodafone already have 6 masts in the area and people have grown increasingly concerned about the possible health risks, especially for pupils at Princess May School, already overlooked by many of the masts.
One of the protesters hit the nail on the head when she said “If these companies put these masts up then they will have to do it with consent not imposition”. As the IWCA have previously said, there would be uproar if these masts suddenly sprung up on top of some yuppie loft apartments without any warning, but the council and various housing associations who have struck secret deals with the mobile companies are happy to ride roughshod over the rights of working class communities.
These masts are largely untested and there is growing concern about their harmful effects on young children, in particular. But in a way, health is perhaps not the main issue, it’s all about how working class communities are not even consulted about issues like this. As residents of Hawksley Court showed earlier this year, community opposition can stop the masts being put up and we can start regaining some control over our own areas.
IWCA proposals on mobile phone masts:
1. No new phone masts should be located within 100 yards of council estates or schools.
2. Ballots on every estate to see if tenants want the phone masts down. If they do, break the contract and take them down.
In another blow to Hackney Council, a report published by OFSTED (the government inspectors of schools) criticises the education service in the borough, stating “Our conclusion to this report is simple and straightforward, but deeply depressing: We do not believe that Hackney local authority has the capacity to provide a secure, stable context for continuous educational improvement.”
What this means for Hackney’s children is not yet clear, but there is already talk of all education services being privatised. Of course, the whole issue of education is one that means a lot to any parent, but the situation for working class parents is bleak in the wake of this report. While middle class parents can afford private nurseries (and even have the option of moving out of the Borough before little Toby has to mix with the rough kids), working class families have to use what facilities the borough provides.
Hackney Council has not supported its schools because our middle class councillors and senior officers do not use them. What’s proposed is privatisation of the Local Education Authority, and if education goes the same way as the benefits service under ITNet, there will be bad times ahead. In the case of ITNet, the service provided by the council was already poor; the council privatised it and ITNet made it worse. Privatisation won’t give more support to our schools.
For more information click on the link here: BBC news report