skip to content skip to search skip to navigation Listen Live skip to logon
Saturday 1st November 2014
Max 16°C | Min 13°C

Unions Protest Over Free School Row

Unions say they will protest outside a council meeting tomorrow against plans to create a new "free" school on the site of Bolingbroke hospital in Battersea.

Activists from several unions - including the GMB, Unison, Unite and teaching unions - claim pupils from the "wrong side of the tracks" won't be allowed to join the new school - which is being set up by a group of parents using Government money.

The leader of Wandsworth Council says it will give local parents more control.

Council leader Edward Lister said:

"The new Bolingbroke Academy will give south Battersea its own state secondary school where local parents are free to set the priorities for their children's education.

"We hope this will be the first of many free schools in Wandsworth so children from all over the borough can access this new model of education."

But the unions are angry that Government money has been used to fund the project which will not be open to everyone.

GMB official Paul Maloney said:

"This is a case of the sharp-elbowed middle classes muscling in on £40 million for a new school which will exclude pupils from the wrong side of the tracks at a time when existing schools have surplus places."