An education charity which is helping establish an academy on the Bolingbroke Hospital site has hit back at claims the school will only be populated by the children of wealthy bankers.

Dubbed the Battle of Nappy Valley, a row broke out last week after the GMB union accused members of the Neighbourhood School Campaign (NSC) of attempting to create a “banker-free school” by refusing to accept youngsters “from the wrong side of the tracks”.

It claimed the backers of the planned Bolingbroke Academy had ignored Falconbrook Primary as a feeder school in favour of Wix Lane Primary despite it being closer.

GMB research suggests the average family income at Falconbrook is £33,280 a year, compared with the £81,120 a year at Wix Lane.

Union members also lashed out at Wandsworth Council, which this week exchanged contracts to buy the former Battersea hospital in a deal thought to be worth about £13m.

Paul Maloney, GMB regional officer, said: “Whatever monies are available should be spent for the benefit of all parents and pupils in Wandsworth on the existing schools where there are spare places to accommodate all the children in the borough.”

However, a spokeswoman for Ark, an education charity supporting the NSC, said more than 2,500 residents - representing a “very broad cross-section of the community” - supported the campaign for a new school.

She said: “The GMB identified around 25 - of more than 1,000 who objected to the NHS planning application to use the site for residential development - who work in the finance sector, including banks.

“They did not tot up the many teachers, doctors, health service workers, local government workers, legal workers, full time mothers and people who work for charities who are as or more prevalent in the campaign.”

The spokeswoman added the approach to picking feeder schools was widely supported during the consultation process.

She said: “Of 159 respondents, 118 agreed with policy and 41 opposed, although most of these did so on the basis that their children went to private schools and would not be in feeder primaries.

“Arguably this suggests that the ‘rich bankers’ children’ are likely to be those excluded by the policy, in favour of children in local state primaries.”

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