Council buildings to be used as schools to meet East End shortage

Council buildings are to be used as primary schools to tackle a desperate shortage of places in London’s East End.

At least two centres have been earmarked by Tower Hamlets council, its cabinet has agreed.

These include the Professional Development lifelong learning centre at Mile End which is to be used for classrooms to meet the shortage in the area.

The authority is ploughing �5 million into adapting the 100-year-old Grade II-listed site, originally a London School Board building, which has been used for decades for teacher training and adult learning.

Much of the cash will come from developers under planning legislation taking advantage of the massive rejuvenation now going on across the East End.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman told the cabinet: “Using planning gain funds from developers will help pay for more school places.”

The centre will be annexed to Bethnal Green’s Bonner Primary which has been named by Ofsted as outstanding.

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It is a ‘short cut’ measure rather than setting up a completely new school, which means places could be ready by January.

But construction work means the two Reception classes won’t be ready in time—so temporary classrooms are being installed until work is completed next March.

Adult courses currently held at the centre are being switched to the Bethnal Green adult education centre by the end of the year.

The Cabinet also agreed to using the existing Bow Secondary for primary schooling when it is relocated.

It is in an area of a growing school-age population where there aren’t enough facilities to expand places.

The council would have to rely on “bulging class” if expansion was not made in time, cabinet members were warned.

Such options “would not be sustainable to meet rising need for places,” says a report by the council’s director of schools. The measures would be “less effective and not popular with parents.”

The East End’s 171,600 population is predicted to rise to nearly 200,000 by 2018.