Lewisham Catholic school may close because of falling pupil numbers and lack of funds

A Lewisham primary school is facing closure because of low student numbers and money problems.

Public consultation began on Monday, April 19 on the plan to close St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School in Brockley.

The governing body has said that low student numbers have led to less funding for the school.

A petition on Lewisham council’s website to stop the school closure has 112 signatures.

The petition states that for many years the school has been outstanding, and that misconduct in the last few years should not be a reason to close the school.

Sharon Murphy, an ex-pupil of the school, said: “St Mary Magdalen’s RC Primary School has been at the heart of the local community since the early 1900’s and was always held in high regard by parents and pupils alike. 

“It has, for many years, provided a consistently high standard of education, alongside pastoral care. 

“I struggle to understand how it has deteriorated so rapidly in a relatively short space of time, and why the relevant authorities were unable to take whatever course of action was required to prevent it coming under threat of closure.”

The school currently has 142 students, which is around 60 less than the Pupil Admission Number.

The consultation document claims that this has resulted in £250,000 less funding each year for the school.

Pupil numbers also appear to be falling, with the school receiving only 12 first preferences for a place in Reception for September 2021, while 22 Year 6 children will be leaving.

The school received “good” in their Ofsted inspection in February 2018.

Since then, the school has faced a number of problems including large numbers of staff leaving and a voided SATs exam.

A spokeswoman from Lewisham council said: “The Archdiocese of Southwark, the governing body at St Mary Magdalen school, with the agreement of Lewisham Council has launched a statutory consultation and decision process for closing the school. 

“The decision has been taken to commence this process because in recent years there has been a decline in applications for school places at St Mary Magdalen, resulting in a falling number of pupils. When this happens, it has severe financial implications for a school and the budget for staff and other resources are affected. 

“Parents, staff and the local community will be part of the consultation process, and preparations are being made ahead of any decision to offer support, guidance and a clear way forward for families and staff. 

“We recognise that this may cause some uncertainty and anxiety, but want to reassure parents and carers at this time that Lewisham Council in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Southwark will ensure that no child is left without the offer of a suitable school place if closure goes ahead – there will be a bespoke admissions round to ensure a clear, transparent and coordinated process to place children in local schools that have vacancies for those applying for Reception in September 2021.”

If you will be affected by the proposed closure, please contact alexandra@slpmedia.co.uk


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