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To: Steve Bullock Mayor of Lewisham and the EFA

Save Sir Francis Drake Primary School from Demolition

Dear Mayor and EFA
Please don't demolish our well maintained school to replace it with the Lewisham's first ever "Baseline design" Austerity school. This is all for 30 reception places we need more Lewisham have more regeneration planned since this began. We have not been engaged throughout until November 30 when they had to present the plans as part of the pre application planning consultation and we are told what has been decided no input required it is a horrific build 11 square metres carved of classroom sizes see more here....

Why is this important?

Pre application planning consultation shows Austerity design is worse than anticipated due to Lewisham council not putting funding in to this which they could from the redevelopments that are causing need for school places.

Sir Francis Drake Primary school is in one of Lewisham boroughs most deprived areas Evelyn Ward, it a local one form entry community school with capacity for 210 children.
52% of school pupils are have English as a second language,
41% are on free school meals and the proportion of disabled pupils and special educational needs is above average.

Despite the disadvantages -Currently it is in the top 8% of school in the country for the 2013 SATS and recognised by the DFE as in the top 250 schools in the country measured by the progress made by disadvantaged pupils. The RT Hon David Laws MP Secretary of State congratulated the school for "being exceptionally effective in educating disadvantaged children providing them with a good start in life and a strong springboard into secondary education".
Ofsted: Pupils thoroughly enjoy school and this is reflected in their attendance, which is above average.
The school provides a very positive and vibrant learning environment, and pupils therefore feel safe and secure. All pupils are equally valued, as the school motto indicates, ‘Everyone is valued and all succeed.’ This ensures that the school strongly promotes equality of opportunity, and does not tolerate any form of discrimination.
Pupils have extremely positive attitudes towards learning, and engage thoughtfully in all activities. Their behaviour around the school is often exemplary. They get on well together, and show considerable respect and care for each other.

Despite its success the school has become earmarked for demolition and on its tiny site the plan is to rebuild it as a 3 storey "Pilot" Austerity "baseline design" school with reduced classroom space to provide 30 reception places for 2016 and doubling the capacity of children to 420 on the same small site.

Baseline Design schools (Aka Austerity schools)
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is seriously concerned about the unproven ‘Austerity School’ scheme.RIBA President Angela Brady said:
'Our students, teachers and local communities deserve great schools - environments that are beneficial to the best-quality teaching and learning. In these times of austerity of course we need to cut our cloth on all spending; however, the government's proposals for the design and construction of future schools are far too restrictive with too much focus on short-term savings.

They say that the scheme’s overall space reduction is ‘ignoring the safeguarding of environmental comfort’ and it is ‘not ensuring discipline and student wellbeing’. They maintain that there is ‘a failure to create functional spaces for excellent teaching’, that ‘students and teachers will be deprived of quality environments that are proven to support teaching and learning’ and the scheme is ‘disregarding statutory requirements for accessibility and inclusion’.

The RIBA believe that it does ‘not deliver long-term sustainability and value’.

Only time will tell the success of this scheme but for now, the children of SFD will become the first ‘guinea pigs’ for the success or failure of this type of building development.
Why is this happening? The council is allowing private developments to build new homes without adequate primary provision. Instead the council has over the last four years opted to enlarge 75% of their primary schools instead.
Locally we have 1432 new homes being built but the council says it has no sites to build new schools.
Demolishing Sir Francis Drake will not resolve the need for primary places for the developments the council has agreed but it will permanently disrupt and change it irreparably.
The council says "The Mayor and Cabinet report (April 9th 2014) provides evidence that there is a need for a school in this locality looking forward to the end of this decade. The due diligence conducted by the government's Education Funding Agency, which would manage the new build, also confirms this."

We are asking the council to build a new school that they truly need- a new school would bring an additional 60 reception places in to the locality.
We say no to the demolition and rebuild of our successful well maintained, inclusive and diverse little community school so that's it "exceptional work" can go on.

How it will be delivered

Community will be organising public meeting and engaging the press


Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL



2016-01-26 11:41:19 +0000

Please review the plans read the Design Impact and help us object to the Austerity school build. on the link;
The standardised designs offer less flexibility in design in order to reduce construction costs.
It's a “factory” style building, not a state of the art or inspirational educational, environment - classrooms reduced in size built next to the railway and main road, by new Neptune Wharf 220+ new homes 1 x 8 and 2 x 13 storey blocks - no money is going into the school build from the council but receiving money from all local redevelopments for school places!!! (£1,300,000.00 from just one local development) smaller classrooms than we have now, we lose 50% overall space as 210 extra children eventually will occupy same site, we could have extra rooftop play space, we could have part of Scawen Road incorporated into the school grounds extending school play space, - 180 new reception places have been opened close by!

2016-01-10 17:41:44 +0000

The council have submitted Austerity school build plans to planning department on the 23 December they told us in our school newsletter and at the meeting on 30 November that plans would not be submitted until end of January.
This leaves little time for those concerned to get to know about it and comment on the plans.

The Lewisham council Website planning search and comment facility has not been accessible since Saturday 10 Dec but please try and log on to view in the planning section, under search & comment on applications.
Please circulate to anyone you think will be interested in this new update - Thank you for your support

2015-12-22 16:03:18 +0000

Following the Pre-planning consultation the EFA asked for feedback by the 7 December - feedback was given a. the forms they presented on the night and at the school the original 242 handwritten signatures fed back to the Mayor plus the 38 degrees 300 signatories.
This has prompted the council to organise a drop in session at the school January 19 2016 from 3.30 to 18.00pm. Please keep circulating and asking people to sign this petition it is showing the strength of people joining together we hope to achieve a positive educational enviroment and not an austerity build for our precious community school -Thank you for your support

2015-12-06 22:42:22 +0000

Please see the update on the link below still without meaningful engagement with parents & the community since this all began. But on 30 November 2015 we finally we get to see plans as part of pre application planning they had to show us before they put them through to planning in 4 weeks time we have had no time really to input on this Austerity build tomorrow last day to fill out a form at the school! It is an horrific build losing 11 square metres per classroom for starters.

2014-06-28 00:50:56 +0100

June 25 2014 The Mayor has approved the Statutory Notice Proposal and the next stage is the planning application to demolish Sir Francis Drake Primary School and rebuild it as a baseline Design "Austerity school". This will provide an additional 30 reception places (1FE) for this area despite his own advisor's stating:
"Projections produced in April 2014 indicate that at least 560 Reception places will be
required each year, and currently 510 are available. Demand will continue to rise
beyond the end of the decade. Approximately 1,300 additional dwellings are planned
in the area."
We would ask you to continue to circulate the petition whilst we get legal advice on a process that has not given sufficient information to us and will not create the number of places the council say they require. Thank you for your continued support... Will keep you posted

2014-06-11 14:12:29 +0100

Hi everyone we are amazed at the support thank you. Yesterday we hand delivered the paper signatures and the on line signatures to The Mayor and to Margaret Brightman that we had so far which came to approximately 350 (collected only over only 5 days!) The next Mayor and Council meeting to decide the schools future is on June 25th 2014 in the meantime please continue to ask people to sign the on line petition, so they can see the numbers are growing! Will keep you posted on how things are going....

2014-06-09 20:33:49 +0100

100 signatures reached

2014-06-08 16:18:16 +0100

50 signatures reached

2014-06-07 11:11:44 +0100

We have lots of signatures on paper but as we are in to the last couple of days we have put up this this on line petition it is a way to collect lots more signatures quickly - so email it to everyone you can if you have facebook share it to that too. Thank you!

2014-06-05 23:05:54 +0100

25 signatures reached

2014-06-05 14:34:52 +0100

10 signatures reached