Parent army fights to build school in time for term

The Times is reporting on the efforts of contractors, staff and parents to get the a new free school ready for its first students next month after it faced uncertainty over planning issues…

When Fulham Boys School had its funding withdrawn at the eleventh hour, only for it to be reinstated after an outcry, its founders breathed a sigh of relief.

Now the new free school is facing another hurdle — it has only just taken ownership of its new site, two weeks before the start of term.

Parents who battled through red tape to get the funding decision overturned are about to get their hands dirty to ensure that the school is ready on time. Armed with paint brushes, wheelbarrows and trowels, they are putting the “free” into free school by volunteering time and materials. Local businesses are also lending their support.

As a crane removes 20 portable buildings from the neglected site in west London — a former school for children with disabilities — helpers will put up signs, paint, dig up weeds and create green spaces…

The school leaders have been left with little more than a fortnight to create a school fit for lessons. The start of term has been pushed back by two weeks to September 15, and new teachers will attend training days at a local church hall while the building work carries on.

One hundred 11-year-old boys are due to attend the school, which was founded by parents and teachers after lobbying for a local state school for boys began five years ago.

The site is old and needs work. While the core fabric of the building is sound, it has weeds, flaking paint and damp that need to be tackled.

Jonny Ambrose, the vice-chairman of governors, said the access agreement signed by school leaders would give them ownership at the end of the month…

From this week, teams of builders will clear the site before the portable buildings can be moved out, and a five-a-side football pitch created in their place.

Funding will pay for decoration and IT equipment, but volunteers will play a crucial role. Local builders and electricians have offered their help to make sure that the school is ready.

Mr Ambrose said: “Volunteers from a local catering firm are setting up in the kitchens and one volunteer, a backstage worker in the West End, is helping to put up signs and paint the school brand.”…

More at: Parent army fights to build school in time for term (subscription required)

 

Sounds like an impressive effort from all involved to get Fulham Boys School ready in time. Do you have any examples of a school community working together to make something happen like this against the odds? If so, please do share in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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