Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Anthony France

Islington primary school in ‘ghost area’ to shut amid falling pupil numbers

A north London primary school with less than half its places filled will officially shut this summer, according to reports.

Blessed Sacrament Catholic is the latest to be impacted by an exodus of families from London and a falling birth rate.

Just six pupils are in its reception class when there is space for 30 at the site on Boadicea Street, Islington.

As of October last year, 76 children filled 210 places, meaning 64 per cent aren’t filled.

Following a formal consultation, Islington Council’s executive made the decision that Blessed Sacrament will close on July 31.

The Islington Gazette reported councillors - faced with empty classrooms and people moving out of the borough - had no choice but to make the decision.

For every unused pupil place in Islington, the school will miss out on an average of £5,500 per year, the newspaper said.

This means that despite its Ofsted “good” rating, Blessed Sacrament’s numbers were projected to fall by a further three to six per cent a year until 2029.

During a formal consultation to the plans, Islington received five written responses, with two actively opposing the proposals, including the Diocese of Westminster.

The diocese said the school has a balanced budget and is not projecting a financial deficit in its three-year forecast.

One respondent supported the proposals, while a further two raised specific concerns about the plans regarding the long-term future of the school building and the impact on the existing Year 5 cohort.

Blessed Sacrament, like some London schools with falling pupil numbers, initially said it was moving to become an academy so it cannot be closed down.

It did not respond to a request for an update on the application.

It comes as the number of children in the capital has plummeted. Almost 8,000 fewer will need school places over the next four years according to London Councils.

Local authorities are trying to manage the drop in demand by closing schools with low pupil numbers, to ensure the remaining schools are financially viable.

In Islington, Pooles Park primary school was allowed to become an academy by the Department for Education, despite it being rated “inadequate” and being less than half full. The council wanted to close the school but it is now run by the Bridge Multi Academy Trust and out of its control.

Islington Council was approached by the Standard for comment.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.