Skewed priorities in East End
From The East London Advertiser.
YOUNGSTERS are being educated in the crypt of an East End church because of a major shortage of primary school places in Tower Hamlets, it emerged this week. Five and six-year-olds are having their lessons among the church relics and stone pillars in the basement of Christ Church on the Isle of Dogs because the borough's 75 primary schools are full to the brim. And in March the pupils will be shuffled around again as they are forced next-door into a temporary building in the grounds of St Luke's Primary.
The Advertiser has learnt that at the beginning of last year's September term 80 primary school kids were left without a place, including 53 Reception Year pupils and 27 in Year 1. Since then education chiefs have had to squeeze the children into William Davies Primary in Bethnal Green as well as the church, even if their parents live at the other side of the borough. But there are still 10 five-year-olds stuck at home because they do not have a place at a school.
Blackwall and Cubit Town ward councillor Tim Archer has hailed the fiasco "unbelievable". "I refuse to believe this is the best the borough can come up with."
But the borough has been given £8 million 'payback' by the developers responsible for the Spitalfields site in the west of the borough adjacent to the City of London. And what are they spending that on first? What they call the Brick Lane regeneration scheme. And what are they working on in Brick Lane? Why the mosque! A minaret, free standing to get round the little trifle of this former synagogue, build as a Hugenout church being a listed building. And all the other work centred around the mosque which you can see in the photographs left and here which I took last month.
St Lukes Primary School is in Poplar, on the Isle of Dogs in the east of the borough, these days called Docklands. St Lukes was once a parish in its own right but closed (I think in the 40s but I am not certain of that date) and combined with Christchurch. St Lukes primary is a Church of England school working closely with the parish in things like Carol singing at Christmas and has some of the best exam results in the borough. Hard as the school and the church have worked to make the crypt friendly I think they, and the other schools deserve better.
Adult education in Tower Hamlets has also been cut.
Posted on 02/06/2010 1:58 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax