Hounslow Council Defends Its Role In School Expansion

Replies to angry Grove Park Primary parents and residents


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Hounslow Council has defended itself from charges by residents and parents opposed to the possible expansion of Grove Park School. They had said the current school consultation process was "a sham" and accused the Council of failing to listen to concerns about the impact of expansion.

The Council said it had a duty to make sure there were enough school places for children both now and in the future. The Council is currently under pressure to provide extra places in primary schools across the borough due to increasing demand.

In a statement to ChiswickW4.com, the council said; "We understand residents and parents can have concerns about expansion, but we have a duty to make sure there are enough school places for local children both now and in the future.

"We are currently consulting on expanding 17 schools across the borough to meet the unprecedented demand for places, which has already seen us create more than 600 additional places for the current academic year.

"The latest data show there is a need for an additional form of entry in the area, and Grove Park had been identified as the most suitable location for expansion.

"The informal consultation responses were included in the report to cabinet on 4 September which members considered before deciding to proceed with the formal consultation. This report also included mitigating actions for the concerns raised where appropriate.

"Responses to the formal consultation will also be considered by members before any decision is made."

A group of parents had said they were "very unhappy" at the way their views had been "ignored" by Hounslow Council.

One member of the public who attended the Cabinet meeting on 4th September at which it was agreed to issue formal notices for all 17 schools had said ; ‘It was a total whitewash. The expansion of all these primaries was only one of a dozen items on the agenda, and less than eight minutes were spent on it. No individual schools were discussed at all and all were just waved through en masse. ‘A done deal’ indeed.’ "

The opportunity for people to to e-mail their views on the proposed expansion ended on October 26th.

Those opposed to expansion at Grove Park Primary school say if an extra reception class was taken every year, the school would almost double in size from its current 220 pupils within seven years and this would be detrimental for the school.

Amongst their objections is that Grove Park Primary will lose its ‘community feel’, that it will create road and safety hazards with extra school traffic, and that the birthrate in Grove Park, (at between 0-15%) does not suggest there is a demand in the local area.

October 26, 2012