Deptford says no to Tidemill becoming an academy

September 18th, 2011 at 10:35 am

AN ACADEMY school is to be offered “cheap rent” when it takes over a new £20million publicly funded development – but will it have the finances to survive?

Tidemill Primary School in Frankham Street, Deptford, had its application to become an academy accepted by the Department for Education on September 1. Now re-named Tidemill Academy, the school is no longer under Lewisham council control.

It will manage its own budget, set its own pay and conditions and run its own curriculum after securing academy status.

But the switch complicated longstanding plans to move the school to a new £20million council development in Giffin Street, Deptford.

The school is moving into the new Deptford Lounge, which will also feature a public square, cafe, sports hall, library, computer suites and music studios.

Parts of the new school were originally designed to be used as a shared space with the community.

The issue is discussed in a mayor and cabinet report to be considered at Lewisham Town Hall in Catford on Wednesday.

It says the council had offered the academy a 125-year lease on the new building for a “nominal” annual rent.

Due to a delay in building work, the school will not move in until next month at the earliest.

Part of the report says: “The position is unusual because the new school is not a separate building, but forms an integral part of the Deptford Lounge complex.

“Agreement in principle has been reached.”

Under proposals, the council will allow the school to have exclusive use of the shared areas between 8.30am and 4pm on weekdays.

To use the space out of these hours, the school will have to pay “the full chargeable rate at the time”, the report says.

The council is responsible for building maintenance, but the school will pay a service charge.

In January, Tidemill was forced to withdraw an initial application to the Government to become an academy.

Parents’ group Deptford Says No to Tidemill Academy campaigned against the plan and questioned its benefits.

Lead campaigner Leila Galloway said: “I have huge doubts that the school will be able to cope with the costs of becoming an academy.”

Lewisham Lib Dem councillor Alex Feakes, a governor at Sydenham School in Dartmouth Road, said: “I am very surprised to hear about this agreement.

“They are effectively moving straight into a new school for free. If they are using the word ‘nominal’, then that is cheap rent.”

John Hugill
South London Press 
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  • Deptford resident
    11:50 am on September 12th, 2011 1

    Deputy Leader Alan Smith told me the council was charging the school “A LOT OF MONEY” so I wonder if you have got your facts right or is Smith not telling the truth?

  • Leila Galloway
    9:57 am on September 13th, 2011 2

    The rent is pepper corn (as in the law) but the communal charges will be high! Bang goes any idea of sharing!

  • C E
    11:32 am on September 13th, 2011 3

    The Council have let us down, already we know that local Labour councillor Ami Ibitson has resigned as Community Governor for Tidemill, the Council have proved that they have no backbone in representing their local communities offering nothing more than “lip service” or “critisism” (yawn) along with cuts cuts and even more cuts! they are NOT defending public services. It just proves that Lewisham Labour are spineless and self serving narcisists, it’s not surprising at all and we all know that this is just the begining of punishing times ahead, its time to speak out, mobilise and resist! I doubt that the Council will actually do anything, after all we have to ask ourselves “What actually have they done?”
    Shame on Labour Lewisham!

    Actions speak louder than Lip service, that’s for sure!

    C E

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