Hammersmith and Fromage?

Council in talks with French Government over Plans to Lease Schools to Lycee

Will the French Flag Fly in Fulham?



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Peterborough School in Fulham is to close next summer, and could be leased out to the French government for a fee-paying bi-lingual school.

The proposal is linked to a wider plan to turn a local comprehensive, Hurlingham and Chelsea, into a school part-funded by the French government, in which pupils

would be taught in English and French.

The school would be free to the children of British citizens while French expatriate pupils would pay fees.

It would be a partnership between Hurlingham and Chelsea comprehensive in Fulham and the nearby Lycée Français private school, owned by the French government.

Land currently occupied by the state school would be leased for an extension of the Lycée, which is popular with French diplomats and business people.

The school would be able to offer free bilingual education to the 11- to 16-year-old children of local council taxpayers. In July, council leader Stephen Greenhalgh set out a proposal saying there was

"tremendous political will to partner the French government" in an initiative which would see a bi-lingual primary and secondary school in the borough.

The council argues that Peterborough School has too many surplus places, and should close, despite the objections of school governors.

The council says the proposals, still to be finalised, are efforts to revitalise the borough's schools - and to encourage more families to use them rather than sending children to schools in other authorities. But the MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush, Andy Slaughter, believes the shake-up of schools, including another merger, is about selling off assets on valuable sites rather than raising standards. Writing in his blog he said: "It was no surprise that the Tory Council has chosen to ignore the hundreds of objection to the primary closures, and only a mild one that the reason for closing Peterborough turned out to be a cash offer from the French Embassy to set up a private school on the site. Hurlingham & Chelsea will survive provided it goes into partnership - with the French again, perhaps Hammersmith and Fromage or Hammersmith and For Sale would be better names for the borough."

October 26, 2007