Kidbrooke primary school set to close

Share this article

Plans to close a primary school in Greenwich look set to be approved as pupil numbers plummet. Holy Family Catholic Primary School in Kidbrooke has been recommended for closure by council officers ahead of a formal decision next week.

Greenwich Council documents for a cabinet meeting on May 9 state that running the school was no longer financially viable, with a projected deficit of £362,000 by the summer of 2025, increasing to over half a million by the next March. The school would close from August 31 this year, having not seen a full school roll since 2018.

Council officers said in their report that the school only had 128 pupils enrolled out of a possible 210, adding that just seven families had chosen the school as their first preference for the upcoming school year. They said that from March to April this year, 47 pupils were thought to have transferred to other schools.

The report said: “The proposal to close Holy Family RC Primary School is deemed necessary because the school has, over an extended period, been unable to recruit sufficient pupils to ensure its long-term viability, with this long-established trend unlikely to alter in the foreseeable future.”

It added: “If no action is taken, the school has no capacity to recover its financial deficit, and this will undermine its ability to deliver the curriculum effectively and undermine the quality of provision for pupils.”

The council announced the school was being considered for closure in January this year. The news was followed by a consultation with residents, with 121 people out of 157 respondents not supporting the proposed closure. Officers said in their report that the authority reviewed the options available to continue running the school in response to the overwhelming opposition but no viable alternatives could be found.

Charlie Davis, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Eltham and Chislehurst, sent a written letter to the Archdiocese of Southwark, the body responsible for the school, and Greenwich Council leader Anthony Okereke on the proposed closure. He claimed that several parents had stated concerns on the level of engagement carried out by the bodies before the decision was put forward.

The council said in response that two stages of the consultation process on the closure had been carried out since the announcement. It added that a primary special educational needs and disability school was being considered on the site of Holy Family Kidbrooke, but no decision had been made and discussions were in very early stages.

Documents said if the closure goes ahead, parents of pupils still attending the school will be invited to express preferences for alternative schools with vacancies in the relevant year groups. They also said there were a total of 250 vacancies between reception and Year 6 for Catholic primary schools within a two mile radius of Holy Family.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Southwark told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Delivering high-quality Catholic education for the children in our Archdiocese is our priority. Unfortunately, the falling birth rates in London are having an impact on admissions for all schools and Catholic schools are not immune.”

The spokesperson said the archdiocese would always do what it could to increase applications to its schools, but Holy Family Kidbrooke was still operating at just over half its capacity despite this. They said the trend had impacted both the school budget and the experience of pupils.

They said: “While the consultation is ongoing, rest assured the priority for the school will be to continue to deliver the best education for the pupils.”

Holy Family Catholic Primary School was rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ in its latest Ofsted inspection from June 2022. The decision on whether the primary school will be closed will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on May 9.

Picture: The school is situated on Tudway Road in Kidbrooke. Permission for use by all LDRS partners. Credit: Google Earth


Get the latest news for South London direct to your inbox once a week.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Share this article