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Published by Ben on

On 16th May, as part of a borough-wide consultation on the future of 6 Lambeth primary schools, Lambeth published a proposal that St Saviour’s Primary School amalgamate with St John’s, Angell Town.
Lambeth launched the consultation in response to the rising number of surplus primary school places in the borough. As of January 2024, Lambeth report that there are approximately 4,555 empty primary places. This equates to roughly 21 one-form-entry (1FE) schools.
The surplus of primary places is as a result of a combination of, a one third drop in the birth rate in Lambeth over the last decade, Brexit, increased housing costs and the cost of living crisis generally, plus post-pandemic relocations following the wide spread adoption of agile working.
At this stage the consultation is informal. The Council will analyse the responses to this informal consultation and use it to inform what proposals go forward to the formal, statutory consultation . It is therefore crucial that, as a community, we respond to this informal consultation in order to try to influence the next stage of the process.
The informal consultation runs from 16th May until midnight on 16th June. There is then a two week break to gather results before the formal consultation is launched. Any changes introduced as a result of the formal consultation are not currently expected to be implemented until Autumn 2026.
The current proposal for St Saviour’s is that our school would close and join St John’s on its site. The stated Lambeth rationale for this is that St John’s is a 3 form entry school that is currently 71% empty. That being the case, it could easily accommodate St Saviour’s pupils many of whom, according to Lambeth’s desktop paper mapping exercise, live closer to St John’s.
St Saviour’s remains a popular choice with families and although, like other schools, we have suffered a falling roll because of the external factors beyond our control like the falling birth rate, we will have a good size reception class next September and have also welcomed in-year transfers from other schools this year. The average class size is 27, which is healthy. We have a strong school leadership team and a committed Governing Body.
The school has already held meetings with its staff and parent/carer body, supported by the SDBE. The School and The Governing Body are now working hard on its response to Lambeth, which will focus on the viability of St Saviour’s remaining open on its current site. St Saviour’s is already in partnership with two other local Church of England schools – a measure introduced to help ease the financial burden on the school. We are continuing to explore all options that allow St Saviour’s to flourish as it has done for the last 155 years. We are working with and actively encouraging the parent body to respond to the consultation, with regular meetings planned over the coming weeks.

St Saviour’s school, along with our parish churches, is the beating heart of our local community. We will be doing everything we can to encourage the current parent body, the alumni and the wider community to get behind our School and to engage with this consultation and we need you, our parishioners, to do the same. The link to the consultation can be found here: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/primaryschoolplaces
The deadline for responses is Sunday, 16th June 2024 at 11.59pm.

People are encouraged to make their own responses to Lambeth, please, as we need as many views as possible. As part of it, we encourage you to set out what you think about the proposed merger and closure of St Saviour’s School, but you could cover areas like:

St Saviour’s is a wonderful, caring, small one form entry school where children of all backgrounds, regardless of differences, play, learn and grow together in a safe, inclusive and nurturing environment. Amalgamation will dilute this individuality and affect the sense of belonging for students, staff and families.
St Saviour’s has a high percentage of children with SEND and EHCP – parents choose our school because it is small and nurturing with a strong SEND provision.
St Saviour’s school, which recently celebrated its 155th anniversary, is at the heart of the Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction community and plays a vital role in community engagement. Closing the school will have a detrimental impact on the local area, its parks, its businesses, its vibrant community hub.
There is a rich and continuing history of support for the school from the Parish of Herne Hill, comprising the churches of St Saviour’s and St Paul’s. The vicar and other parish staff are active in leading collective worship and other activities.
St Saviour’s is the faith school in the local area which has just had an outstanding SIAMS report it should remain open to offer families the choice to be part of a small, Christian, close-knit parochial school, with its links with the two churches (St Saviour’s and St Paul’s) and also with the Salvation Army whose headquarters are not too far. St Saviour’s is directly attached to its church – which plays an important role in the school.
For those families who live closer to Herne Hill, combining two schools causes logistical challenges – facilities, transportation and timetabling, these transition can disrupt the children and the learning environment.
St Saviour’s has an active and committed parent and carer body and a strong and committed Governing Body and School Leadership team.
Loyalty to the school is exceptional, with successive generations from the same families choosing to send their children to St Saviour’s. Children who have left return for social events such as the Christmas and summer fairs
Commuting to St John’s would be too tricky for some families. The lack of public transport will make it tricky given work and family commitments. People like being able to walk our children to school without having to cross the busy Coldharbour Lane/Loughborough Junction..
New homes/new developments are being built very close to our School. Shutting St Saviour’s school- the closest school to this development – is a short-sighted action, that will negatively impact the community.
The fall in pupil numbers across Lambeth is partly attributed to Brexit and post pandemic re-locations. Demographics and trends can change.
Any other views, or comments, you have about the benefits, or downsides, of having one merged church primary school on the St John’s site.
Whatever you choose to say – thank you for supporting our campaign to keep St Saviour’s CoE Primary School open.

The parents of St Saviour’s school have created a webpage to help people to respond to the recent consultation that includes suggested pointers you could make: https://www.savestsaviours.co.uk/

We, as a parish, will work very hard indeed to keep our school open and will also be producing our own response. Please, send any thoughts you have also to myself and Simon Brindley () so we can take account of the views of the church in formulating the church response to be put to PCC on 10th June.
If you want to be part of a team to form a parish response to the consultation then, please let myself or Simon Brindley know.

Please, do pray about this consultation and for the school community, including our school governors.

We will be having a prayer meeting on the 4th June 5pm at St Saviour’s Church to pray for the school. All are welcome including children.

Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Dear Father God, thank you for providing for our parish school for 155 years.
Please provide again for St Saviour’s school. Lord, we commit our current situation to you.
Holy Spirit, may you intervene and cause the atmosphere to shift according to your will.
Lord, there are some who have heavy hearts. Provide them with comfort and warmth.
For those who are anxious, Lord give them peace.
For those dealing with the current situation and are at the front line, give us wisdom how to respond.
Circle our school, O Lord, with your angels. Keep protection near and danger afar; Circle our school, O Lord, with your Spirit. Keep love, peace and hope within, hate, conflict and despair afar;
Circle our school, O Lord, with your presence. Keep truth within and deception afar. For your Kingdom and your glory, Amen

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