Huge pile of educational materials dumped outside Falcons pre-prep school

Image: Books, folders and paperwork dumped outside former Falcons School site in Grove Park

Parents of former pupils say confidential paperwork with private information about their children dumped outside school along with hundreds of books and educational materials

Hundreds of books, educational materials and folders allegedly containing confidential pupil files have been dumped on the street outside of the old Falcons pre-prep school in Chiswick.

One of our readers wrote to The Chiswick Calendar:

‘I have just seen Falcons school closure articles online and someone has posted this photo in an online FB forum. Hundreds of books and educational materials (possible pupil data in folders) simply thrown outside the door like rubbish.

‘Disgusting when so many children in need could have used these items. Also a huge breach of data law if there’s any personal information in those folders. Such a disgusting attitude from a private school and terrible example of greed and wealth.’

The former boys school was closed at very short notice towards the end of 2023 to the outrage of parents, many of whom described the closure as “an egregious example of corporate greed”.

The school is subject to an ongoing legal challenge by a group of parents who were first told of the plans in September. The owners were the Alpha Plus Group which also includes Wetherby, the prep school attended by Princes William and Harry.

At the time of the closure the company was being taken over by US-based group Inspired Education. It was claimed that the ‘difficult decision’ to close was made due to falling numbers with just over a third of the 180 places taken when the announcement was made.

On Wednesday 8 May, Tower Waste removed thousands of items from the school leaving books and documents outside to be loaded into skips.

Parents now allege that, along with the books and play equipment, there was material in the piles containing sensitive, personal and confidential information relating to children that attended the school including personal pupil assessments and education psychologist reports. They claim these reports included the names, addresses and personal details of children.

“Truly shocking”

The parents sent a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner on Thursday (9 May) and issued the following statement:

‘This is truly shocking and shows how little Alpha Plus/Inspired Education care about the children that attended this school and their other schools.

‘These documents are highly sensitive containing the personal details including names, addresses and case notes relating to children. There is absolutely no way that they should be treated in this way. We have asked the Information Commissioner to undertake an urgent investigation.

‘It is also outrageous that thousands of books, play and school equipment worth tens of thousands of pounds that could have been donated to other schools have simply been sent to landfill. With many local schools crying out for resources, this is an outrageous and shameful waste.

‘Alpha Plus/Inspired Education all along have put profit before children, they are the very worst example of corporate greed and shame the entire independent school sector and these actions merely confirm that.’

Jorge Edwards, Director of Tower Waste, questioned why there would be confidential documents among the books and classwork his firm was asked to clear from the school.