Old Palace parents cancel protest in respect for murdered girl

A campaign launched less than a week ago to fight for the future of Old Palace School has cancelled plans to stage a protest tonight, out of respect for the schoolgirl murdered in Croydon yesterday.

Elianne Andam, the 15-year-old who was killed when on her way to school, was a pupil in Year 11 at Old Palace, having just begun her GCSE exams year.

“The Old Palace community is a family who will support each other during this time of grief,” the Old Palace Parents Alliance said in a statement issued on social media last night.

OPPA was established following the announcement last Thursday that the Whitgift Foundation, the property owners who operate the £20,000 per year fee-paying girls’ school, intend to shut it down in 2025.

The parents’ group wanted to stage anti-closure demonstrations outside the Whitgift Foundation’s two large boys’ independent schools, Whitgift and Trinity, which the Foundation asserts are under no threat of closure.

Condolence: the statement issued by OPPA last night

“Whitgift School and Trinity School are in a much stronger financial position than Old Palace, and places at both schools remain in high demand,” the Foundation said.

“Parents, pupils and staff at these schools should therefore feel very confident about their future.”

Whitgift, in South Croydon, where annual fees can be as high as £48,000 (for full term boarders), is due to hold an open evening for prospective pupils and their parents and carers this evening.

In a statement issued in response to the killing of one of their school’s pupils, OPPA said, “To say we are devastated is not enough.

Change of direction: a week before they announced they were closing Old Palace, the Whitgift Foundationwas promoting an open day

“A member of our beautiful school community – one of our precious, brilliant daughters – has been senselessly taken.

“All of our thoughts and prayers and love are with her family and our girls right now.”

And in a formal statement, they confirmed, “In light of today’s tragedy, OPPA is cancelling the 4pm planned parents’ meeting at the school. We will provide a new date and time shortly.”

The Foundation’s decision to close Old Palace School appears to have been made in a rush.

On September 14, the Foundation issued a notice to publicise an Old Palace School open day to be held on September 30, this Saturday. By September 21, last Thursday, they were announcing the school’s closure and taking no new intakes of pupils.

Trinity School’s parents’ open day is going ahead this Saturday, when members of the Old Palace campaign and their supporters are expected to stage a demonstration outside the school gates in Shirley.

Read more: Whitgift Foundation decides to close Old Palace School in 2025
Read more: Old Palace head announced retirement days before new term
Read more: Old Palace closure brought on by shaky Foundation finances

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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