2,000 fight to get Bullers Wood school for boys approved before secondary places deadline

Twothousand parents and children are fighting to get a new secondary school approved just weeks before pupils are allocated their places.

Plans for Bullers Wood school for boys were approved by Bromley council but turned down at the last minute - writes standard.co.uk.

It left parents scrambling to find a temporary site so the school can still open its doors in September.

If they fail to find another site before March 1 — when secondary school pupils are given their offers — the 180 boys who applied for places will be forced to go elsewhere.

Mother of four Nancy Lengthorn, leading the campaign to build the school, said the fight has united the community. She said: “There are 2,000 people on our online support page, and 1,000 people recently marched to support the building of the school.

“We have mobilised the whole community. We have pulled together 12 other options for temporary sites.”

The boys’ school would be set up as a free school run by and next to the existing Bullers Wood School for Girls in Chislehurst.

The new boys’ school had been given planning permission, but the decision was reversed after more information came to light about the impact it would have on traffic. The council was able to reverse its original decision to approve the school because the legal documents had not been signed.

An initial planning application to build the boys’ school was turned down in October 2017, and taken to appeal.

In the meantime, a second application was approved. But then the results of the appeal raising concerns about traffic safety and congestion came through. This meant the second, approved application went back before councillors, who narrowly rejected it.

Mrs Lengthorn said: “This is now more than being just about a school. It’s about a community being tired of being represented by the pale, male and stale of Bromley council.”

More than 1,400 supporters have taken part in two marches from Bromley civic centre to the site of the proposed school. They said there will be a shortfall of 2,600 secondary-school places in the area by 2022.

Mrs Lengthorn added: “The girls’ school is an outstanding, inclusive state school which delivers better results than our local, private schools. It’s a no-brainer to find ways to extend that.”

Peter Fortune, Bromley’s executive councillor for education , children and families, said whatever happens, all boys will be offered a place at a Bromley school.

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