Row erupts over school closure

PUBLISHED: 17:42 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:43 25 August 2010

POLICE were called to a town hall when tempers flared over a decision to close a primary school.

POLICE were called to a town hall when tempers flared over a decision to close a primary school, write Jules Cooper and Marina Soteriou.

More than 10 officers came to the steps of Woolwich Town Hall, in Wellington Street, Woolwich during a Greenwich council cabinet meeting at 8pm on Tuesday.

Councillors nodded through a proposal to close Charlotte Turner Primary and Nursery School, Deptford, leading parents to jeer and threaten councillors for failing their children. Mum Kim Bozek, 41, who was at the meeting, said that some parents shouted that councillors "should be ashamed" and one warned chief of children's services, Gillian Palmer, that she had "better watch her back".

Mum Kim Bozek, 41, said: "The councillors were ushered into a side room. There was no violence. It was tense.

"When the parents went down the stairs 15 police officers were there."

She added: "We told the officers 'you don't have to be here'. We are entitled to freedom of speech. We are not hooligans."

Charlotte Turner School, which is on 'special measures', failed an Ofsted inspection last November and the council called for a consultation on its closure in March.

But parents of the 238 pupils have vehemently opposed the closure and even occupied the school a week ago, again causing police to be called.

Yesterday, a police officer was at the school where he told parents he was called because of the meeting the night before.

Greenwich council reported that police did not enter the town hall but refused to say whether someone from the council called them.

A spokesman said that despite the council's best efforts and a rebranding exercise, the school had continually failed.

He added: "It is still failing too many children and many parents have already voted with their feet. The school is less than half full and, according to external

government assessors, has no chance of securing improvement.

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