Mystery over Highbury free school bid after £33.5million government spend

PUBLISHED: 12:42 27 July 2016 | UPDATED: 11:21 28 July 2016

Former London Metropolitan University building Ladbroke House in Islington

Former London Metropolitan University building Ladbroke House in Islington


Mystery surrounds controversial plans for a new secondary free school in Highbury.

The Department for Education (DfE) has spent £33.5million on former London Metropolitan University building Ladbroke House, in Highbury Grove, it was revealed by The Guardian this week.

But Islington Council leader Richard Watts said the council only knew about the proposal when designs appeared on an architect firm’s website.

He branded the DfE’s spending on Ladbroke House as a “staggering waste of taxpayers’ money,” and said there was no need for another school in the area as there are two successful community secondary schools in the area already: Highbury Fields, and Highbury Grove.

Islington National Union of Teachers (NUT) said it will be organising a protest against the plans in September, with branch secretary Ken Muller calling it a “criminal waste of money”.

There is little information available about the proposal, but architects Architecture Initiative has published artist impressions of what the renovated school may look like.

It appears that the proposal would be for a arts-focused school with 750 places, with residential flats above the school.

The DfE said it was “considering options” but refused to divulge further information.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 17:39

Fans outside Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium today greeted news of Arsene Wenger’s resignation with relief – but also spoke of sadness at the end of an era.

Yesterday, 15:57

Upper Street’s famous King’s Head Theatre pub could move into a “trendy neighbourhood bar” for more than 18 months until its new site is ready, a new report reveals.

Yesterday, 10:33

A stunned Jeremy Corbyn this morning thanked Arsene Wenger for his service to Arsenal, saying: “You took our club to a higher plane.”

Yesterday, 09:28

A 24-year-old man was stabbed in Rosemary Gardens yesterday.

Yesterday, 08:04

Police are appealing for information after a 41-year-old woman was knifed in a lift in a block on flats on the Hackney and Islington border.

Thu, 18:32

A “reckless” pair who tried to steal two mopeds in Old Street were arrested all the way out in Essex, after a dramatic chase which saw cops on the ground guided by their colleagues in a helicopter.

Thu, 17:45

Seven Sisters Road was taped off this afternoon after a collision.

Thu, 14:26

Two young moped riders who crashed in Finsbury Park on Tuesday morning are recovering from their injuries.


“I try and do my best to enhance the young person’s capabilities. I’m very focused on their education, their wellbeing and their cultural needs.”

Breaking News

Yesterday, 10:07

Arsene Wenger is to leave Arsenal at the end of the season, which will end an association of more than two decades with the North London giants.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now