Harrow charity evicts school for black children - Home News - UK - The Independent

Harrow charity evicts school for black children

One of the few black-run schools in Britain has lost its David and Goliath fight against eviction to a charity founded by a top public school.

The Tabernacle Christian School, which works with disaffected black children in north Kensington, west London, was evicted from its premises yesterday after a long legal battle with its landlord, the Harrow Club, a charity founded by Harrow public school.

Parents and teachers had staged a round-the-clock occupation of the school since its lease expired in February before it had had time to find alternative premises. They slept in the school for fear the landlords might change the locks if the building was left empty.

Tabernacle specialises in educating young people who have struggled at or been expelled from mainstream schools. Pastor Derek Wilson, the school's chairman, fears the school will have to close unless it can find new premises, jeopardising the education of more than 40 pupils.

The school, which charges £275 a month, had appealed for extra time to find new buildings.

The school was founded in September 1998 by a black evangelical church, offering a second chance for pupils failing in state schools.

After starting with three pupils, the Tabernacle had expanded to take more than 40. Tabernacle pupils do not study towards conventional public exams such as GCSEs. Instead they follow the curriculum of the School of Tomorrow, a Christian fundamentalist organisation that runs schools.

The Harrow Club, a charity set up by Harrow school in 1883 to do missionary work and educate the poor, had refused to renew the school's lease because it wants to use the building for its own community work. It will use the space to expand its recording studios, which give young unemployed people experience of the music industry.

Mr Wilson's wife, Paulette, Tabernacle's headteacher, said the school had searched for new premises for more than a year. She said: "This school is providing a last chance for these children. The closure of this school would be a great loss to these children and the community."

Roger Graham, a sales and marketing manager from Hayes, west London whose son Matthew, three, is a Tabernacle pupil, said he was devastated by the eviction.

He said: "I am very upset because the Harrow Club is destroying something that is so good. The teachers here are fantastic. The development of my boy has been fantastic too. His vocabulary and confidence have grown since he started last October."

Funlola Ojomo, from Edgware, north-west London, had slept at the school for the past two nights in an effort to keep it open. Her daughters Afope, six, and Ife, four, are pupils at the school.

She said: "I think it's disgusting that we have been thrown out into the streets without the children having a permanent building to go to. This is not the way to treat a school that develops the youth for the country."

The school plans to use a temporary site in nearby Notting Hill until the end of July when exams finish.

The school enlisted the support of the Prince of Wales, who wrote to David Elleray, the football referee and chairman of the Harrow Club, to raise the school's concerns. In a letter to the school, the Prince's private secretary, Mark Bolland, wrote: "His Royal Highness admires the commitment and dedication you have to your school."

George Bennett, a spokesman for the Harrow Club, said the school had been told last June that its lease would not be renewed because the building was needed for new community projects.

He said: "Harrow Club is just relieved that this has come to an end as it is putting other projects in jeopardy."

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Sport
David Moyes and Rio Ferdinand
FootballRio Ferdinand on why the former manager failed at United
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
News
i100
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week