Labour-led Lambeth council has turned down the opportunity for central government funding for a new school in Kennington, denying choice and opportunity in education to many of our children, and forcing children to travel further to access new school places.
In October 2011, Education Secretary Michael Gove approved plans for 19 Free Schools in the London area, committing central government finance to building thousands of new school places.
The preferred site of one of these approved schools, the Michaela Community School, was to be the old Lilian Baylis site on the Ethelred Estate, in Kennington. So when Lambeth was generously handed the opportunity of a new school funded by central government, what did it do? Under pressure from its trade union paymasters, Labour Lambeth decided instead to launch a fire-sale of the site to a developer, thus denying the opportunity for a new school to open on the site.
Long time local Conservative campaigner in Kennington, Michael Poole-Wilson, commented “Labour Lambeth has played politics with Lambeth’s children, all because their friends in the Unions don't like free schools. Given the majority of the site has been disused for nearly six years it beggars belief that it had no choice but to sell the site before the school had the opportunity to launch on the site".
Vauxhall Conservatives had campaigned in support of the new school.