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Parents’ anger after Ilford school confirms it could close by July

PUBLISHED: 17:31 12 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:51 15 February 2016

Cranbrook School in Mansfield Road, Ilford could close by July.

Cranbrook School in Mansfield Road, Ilford could close by July.

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Parents were left shaking in anger after they received an email informing them their children’s school could close by July.

Despite Cranbrook School, Mansfield Road, Ilford achieving high success rates, it’s pupil numbers have declined steadily over the years.

An angry parent, who did not want to be named, blamed the private school’s marketing strategy as the cause of the problem.

She said: “They told us they are holding a consultation into the school’s future but its quite obvious the decision has already been made.”

A meeting was held at Redbridge Town Hall in High Road, Ilford between the school, Cognita – the company that runs the school – and parents yesterday evening to discuss the issue.

“Parents made lots of suggestions,” added the mother. “They [Cognita] could turn the school into an academy or a free school or join up with other schools.

“But they said they were very likely going to close it.”

Margaret Kubicek, a spokeswoman for the school, said pupil numbers had dropped by 40 per cent since 2011.

She said: “The school had 285 pupils in 2011 and just 155 today, despite the high level of academic standards in the school.”

Ms Kubicek said the expanding state school provision made a “significant impact” at Cranbook.

“This reduced demand for places and is also affecting other independent schools many of whom have surplus places,” she said.

“Therefore it is with great regret that we have now begun consulting on the school’s future, including the possibility of closure at the end of the current academic year.”

Yunus Omar, 53, of Exeter Gardens, Ilford, whose 14-year-old son Tahir attends the school, said the Year 10s will be most affected.

“My son’s year group are due to take three GCSE subjects this year and six next year,” he said.

“Do we concentrate on our son doing work or run around looking for another school?”

Ms Kubicek added the school was working with parents to find possible alternatives.

Mr Omar said he feared these could be a “fair distance away” and that he preferred his son to stay locally.

Parents will be attending the school on Wednesday to continue discussing the issue with the headteacher in an attempt to save the school.


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