Laburnum School: letters

The following are letters from the Hackney Gazette concerning the Laburnum School campaign:

If you have a child at a Primary School anywhere in Hoxton, Haggerston, De Beauvoir or London Fields you will have got a letter from the Council in the last week or so headed “Review of Planning Areas 1 & 2.” You wouldn’t know it, but this is the official Council consultation on closing Laburnum School. This is despite the fact that the word “Laburnum” or even “school” does not appear anywhere in the letter.

It is important that you do not throw it away, but that you turn to page 4, which is a survey. The questions are hard to work out – such as “Do you agree that the LEA should bring forward proposals to reduce surplus capacity?” We recommend that you vote “no” to all the questions. The vital question is 3, which asks if you agree with closing Laburnum. To help save the school please tear out the form and send it back to Marian Lavelle, Hackney TLC, 1 Reading lane, E8 1GQ. If you did not get the letter, we can get you a copy if you ring Carl Taylor on 7684 1743.

Peter Sutton
Save Laburnum School Campaign
75 Hebden Court, Laburnum Street E2.

How will you remember the Golden Jubilee year?

My grandson will remember it as the year his school, Laburnum primary was told it was going to close – to be replaced by luxury flats. it has recently been awarded £40,000 to go towards improvements. The school now possesses an ICT suite, a science room and its own swimming pool.

What will happen to the 220 pupils who do not want to leave their school? A final decision is to be made on July 17. Let’s hope for the children, teachers and our community, it’s the right one. Anyway, why award the school £40,000 when it’s proposed to close it?

Pat Phillips, Haggerston Estate

To the Learning Trust – Please Don’t Close Laburnum

I am writing as a parent of a pre-school child in the area who is impressed by the hard work of staff & students at Laburnum school as shown by their displays and class-rooms – particularly over the last 8 months facing closure.

I have been a tenant representative in the area since 1996 & have been on the board of Canalside Housing Partnership since its formation in 1998 – although I am currently suspended, and write in a personal capacity.

Numbers of students at Laburnum school, as well as schools in the North of Hoxton, have been depressed significantly since 1997 due to a range of regeneration initiatives on Kingsland and Haggerston estates (the core catchment areas for Laburnum school) and Whitmore estate in the North of Hoxton.

The number of school age students on these three estates (1200 homes in total) will significantly increase in the next two years and then gradually increase until after building works are completed around 2010.

On Haggerston East and Whitmore estates some 170 units are currently empty (since the 1997 lettings freeze). Hackney Council will allocate over 100 households here in 2004/5. These will be overwhelmingly families with school age children. About 20 will be allocated to Haggerston estate, while the rest will be housed on Whitmore. Those on Haggerston would find Laburnum their closest school, while Whitmore children will use much of the excess capacity in North Hoxton.

The freeze on permanent lettings since 1997 on Haggerston West and Kingsland estates has led to some 40% of the 500 homes being empty, squatted or (more recently) allocated as short-term temporary accommodation. This lettings freeze had a very significant effect on school numbers at Laburnum (the closest school for both estates) and while the refilling of some of these homes has provided new students, these students have come out of emergency accommodation (B&B) and often have a range of additional inclusion needs.

For all children and families of the Estate Regeneration Strategy estates a secure place at a local school is an important part of a stable environment during rebuilding works, renovations, decanting and relocation. Laburnum school has an important role to play in ensuring a stable and supportive community during regeneration.

While the exact plans for Haggerston West and Kingsland are still unclear, well over the current number of units are planned – and increase of 50 – 150, with a maintenance of the current number of long-term tenancies.

The above leads me to be confident

A] That “excess places” in the area will be mopped up in the next two years

B] That the school has an important role to play as a primary school in the successful regeneration of the area

C] That there is a long-term need for the places offered at Laburnum.

Please do not close this school!