Local residents were left frustrated on Monday night, after a meeting to discuss the setup of the new London Docks school in Wapping failed to shine any light on the proposed plan.
The consultation was organised by the Mulberry School for Girls, despite the fact that the decision on who will run the school will be the subject of a separate formal process. This led to concern from a number of local parents that the Council already assumes Mulberry will win the bid, and may unwittingly be providing them with an advantage in the process.
This meeting was technically a consultation on whether the school should be single-sex or mixed-sex. However, this was overshadowed by questions and concerns about when the Council will arrange their own consultations, and how they will guarantee that the choice of provider, and of the type of school, will be made transparently.
Stephen O’Shea, local Lib Dem campaigner for Wapping who attended the meeting said: “This new school is so important for Wapping, we need to make sure the decision is handled fairly and transparently. The council appeared not to know the process, and had to be guided by representatives from a potential bidder. This is concerning, and certainly isn’t transparent.”
The question of whether the school will be single- or mixed-sex is a critical one, and will certainly be contentious given the over-subscription for Tower Hamlet’s schools – but it was clear from this meeting that there are a lot of steps before the Council can even begin to assess this.