Acton Parents Fight Plans For 'Factory-Sized School'

Derwentwater campaign to stop expansion gathers speed

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Over forty parents and local residents of Derwentwater Primary School attended a meeting last week to mount yet another campaign against Ealing Council's plans to expand the Acton Central school.

A press release from Derwentwater Action To Reject Expansion (DARE) said "Ealing Council are proposing to increase the size of the school - which already has a three form entry and an overspill intake and which has taken pupil numbers up to over 600 - to create a four form intake and an ultimate headcount of possibly as many as 1000 using the school."

Derwentwater is already one of the biggest primary school in the Borough of Ealing, combined with the smallest meter per pupil ratio of any school in the vicinity. According to (DARE), this combination makes the expansion proposal seem an unwelcome, ill-thought through venture to a significant proportion of the school’s families. As a result they are getting ready to put up another fight.

If the temporary expansion goes ahead, a portable classroom will be located in the staff car park, an Ealing Council spokesperson told

One parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, summed up the concerns,

‘Derwentwater is already a huge school, far in excess of what it is able to comfortably accommodate; the class sizes from reception classes and in year one are already between 30 – 33 pupils. Combine that with the years of disruption the school faces with temporary classrooms in the playground, construction work, a reduction in the size of an already undersized play-space for the kids …  we cannot see an up side to this. We’ve been promised a small rectangle of Astroturf in exchange for the stability and well-being of our school community. We have every intention of making this process as difficult and uncomfortable for the Council as we possibly can.’

Another parent, who also wished to remain anonymous, commented ‘We’re being offered an educational factory, in return for a school – Derwentwater’s biggest asset is the school community, which is seriously threatened by these plans. Ealing Council have completely failed to plan for the growing number of school age kids in the Borough; this  problem has been a long time coming and we’re darned if the solution for the Council is going to be at the expense of our children’s school.’

Southfields in Chiswick, West Acton and Berrymede Schools are each taking an additional class of 30 in September 2011.

West Acton and Southfield are taking pupils in their current buildings and the council are undertaking internal remodelling to enable the schools to accommodate additional pupils.  At Berrymede a modular accommodation was added last year and a class will be housed in this accommodation.

A council spokesperson said: "There is no easy option. We would like as many Acton children as possible to go to a local school and that is why we are now consulting with the public on a range of proposals for meeting the significant need for primary places in the area.

"At Derwentwater Primary School, one of these proposals is a huge investment to permanently expand the school and its facilities. The school governors have agreed to fully consider this proposal and we are in ongoing discussions with them, and parents, about our ideas.

20 April 2011

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