600 sign petition against school merger

More than 600 people have signed a petition criticising proposals for the amalgamation of two primary schools near the Elephant & Castle.

600 sign petition against school merger

We reported last month on plans for St Jude's Primary School on Colnbrook Street SE1 and Charlotte Sharman Primary School in West Square SE11 to form a new combined Church of England-backed school.

Two primary schools set to merge as pupil numbers drop
Plans for the amalgamation of two primary schools near Elephant & Castle have been published, as inner London boroughs like Southwark struggle with a declining number of school-age children.

At present the two schools are within sight of one another on either side of St George's Road, north-west of the Elephant & Castle.

More than 600 people have signed a petition started by the Southwark branch of the National Education Union (NEU) "calling on Southwark Council to ensure Charlotte Sharman Primary School remains a non-faith school".

The petition text continues: "Currently, Charlotte Sharman has 184 children on roll (78% of its full capacity) and St Judes has only 81 (which means they are only 39% full).

"It is clear from the numbers that the local community are choosing to send their children to a non-faith school. Charlotte Sharman is the only non-faith school in our ward and the area needs a school which serves its diverse population.

"We understand the need to secure the future of the school, but we do not want to lose our whole identity in the process or be taken over by a smaller faith school."

St Jude's School - originally associated with St Jude's Church on St George's Road - has been linked to the parish of St George the Martyr since St Jude's closed for Anglican worship in 1980.

The new rector of St George's Fr Ben Bell has responded to the NEU petition in robust terms on social media, writing on X that he is "appalled by @SouthwarkNEU trying to hijack a constructive process for two local schools, lacking understanding of @StJudesSchool and church schools in general".

Tags: Education, Southwark, Churches, Elephant & Castle

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