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City of London plans primary ‘free school’ with Southwark backing

A decade after the City of London Corporation sponsored a new secondary school in Bermondsey, the Square Mile authority is now planning to open a primary 'free school' in the area with Southwark Council backing.

The former Galleywall Primary School buildings in Galleywall Road SE16 could host a new primary 'free school' linked to the City of London Academy under plans revealed this week.

Galleywall Primary School closed in 2005 after several years in 'special measures'. The buildings are currently being used by Southwark Park Primary School during the rebuilding of their own premises.

If approved, The City of London Primary Academy Southwark would open in September 2016 with an initial intake of 60 Reception students. It would reach its full complement of 420 students by 2023.

The Galleywall Road site is just a short walk from the existing City of London Academy secondary school on Lynton Road SE1.

"This is a perfect site and opportunity to create a much-need new school for the Bermondsey area," said Angela Murphy, City of London Corporation education strategy advisor.

"In partnership with our existing local schools and with Southwark Council, who own the site, we want to create an excellent school with aspirational, enterprising and adventurous values at its heart.

"It will be a community-focused school but will also provide an enriched education that exposes children to opportunities to explore the world around them."

The 'free school' bid is also backed by South Bermondsey councillors and Redriff Primary, which is already part of the City of London Corporation family of schools.

Southwark Labour leader Peter John has previously been a vocal critic of the free schools system introduced by former education secretary Michael Gove.

Lucas Green, chair of governors of Redriff and Grange ward Labour councillor, said: "This is a unique and exciting partnership between the City of London Corporation, Southwark and existing local schools.

"If successful, the proposal will ensure that the former Galleywall site will be used for exactly what we know local people want the provision of much-needed extra local primary school places."

Cllr Victoria Mills, cabinet member for children and schools, said: "I am really pleased that we are able to support the proposals for another new primary school, this time in the north of the borough.

"Not only will it be hopefully a welcome new option for local parents, it will also help us to deliver our strategy to create new, permanent places and ensure our pupils continue to have the best opportunities."

Local residents are encouraged to complete a survey at: www.cityacademyprimary.co.uk

There is a consultation event later this month for interested parents to hear more about the proposed school and have their say on the plans.

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