London Schools Closing Due to Rampant Homelessness

schools closing in London due to rampant homelessness

The surge in homelessness in London, affecting 1 in 50 residents, has reached a critical point where schools are being forced to close due to families being priced out of housing. With the average home costing 13 times the average worker’s income, the city faces a mass exodus, leaving behind empty classrooms and a bleak future for its residents.

An astonishing 1 in 50 Londoners are now homeless. The crisis is so deep it is forcing schools to shutter as low- and middle-income families find themselves completely priced out of housing.

“Imagine a London without children and families. You would essentially have a soulless city,” remarked Labour MP Florence Eshalomi in a candid interview with local news periodical The Evening Standard.

Eshamoli was responding to the massive number of local school closures impeding the City of London. Here, we find a homeless crisis so thick that entire regions of the city have essentially become ghost towns because they are completely empty once the work and school bells ring. 

For the time being, these are places where employees work and children play. However, after hours, a collective hush falls over these sections of the city because nobody can afford to live there anymore.

As schools shut down and employment dwindles, these sides of the city could forever exist in silence, their buildings standing only as relics of a once-thriving metropolitan hub.

Housing in London Priced at 13x the Average Worker’s Income

According to Bloomberg, London is one of the most unaffordable cities in the housing market. With an average home price tag sticking it to everyday workers by costing 13x the average wage, a mass exodus has ensued. Some have exited London and entered into other less expensive locations. However, far too many residents have instead entered into the desolate state of homelessness.

Figures published by The Guardian indicate that there are now more than 60,500 homeless households in all of London, consisting of more than 80,000 school-aged children. These figures represent a 70% increase in citywide family homelessness since 2010, an issue that is having an unfavorable and relatively unexpected result – mass school closures.

Families Find Themselves Locked Out of Housing and Education

These school closures reflect a poor report card for city planners who have long been prioritizing corporate cuts over affordable housing construction.

With longtime locals and young urban hopefuls all heading for the hills, experts project there will be 8,000 fewer children left to enroll in London schools. Indeed, some grade schools have already shuttered or announced their plans to do so in the near future. Among them are:

Archbishop Tenison’s School, overseen by the Archdiocese of Southwark

This 340-year-old secondary institution has recently confirmed plans to shut down in August 2024. Their reason boils down to simply not having enough students, which put the school on par to lose approximately £118,000 by the year’s end, a deficit the board cannot afford.

Kidbrooke Village’s Holy Family Roman Catholic Primary School

A decrease in students is also adversely affecting this Catholic primary school in Kidbrooke, which saw a massive decline in students this year. With just 128 students inside to fill a facility designed to hold 210 children, the faculty is seriously contemplating a shutdown.

Rhyl Community Primary in Camden

This educational institution has already merged with another school after cutting all of its extra-curricular activities and is still unable to manage its debts.

Losing Schools Means Dwindling Resources According to Experts in the Field

“In urban neighborhoods, school closures can be part of a cycle of disenfranchisement and disinvestment,” according to expert researchers hailing from the Urban Institute.

Not only do these primary educational institutions serve as community hubs, encouraging social gatherings and positive interactions, but they also influence opportunities for upward mobility, which is the likelihood that a person can improve their socioeconomic status, effectively surpassing their parents and grandparents on the economic ladder. 

Alternatively, school closures have been linked to decidedly more negative outcomes, such as:

  • Higher poverty rates
  • Lower wages
  • Lower rates of college completion
  • Lower home values

Imagine a place where the homes are both expensive and worthless at the same time. This is the projected near future of London, England, and a testament to what happens when we build to serve corporate interests over the needs of average-earning workers.

Will all of London be a ghost town if the homeless epidemic continues? Considering the fact that there are more homeless children in the City of London than there are across the rest of the combined country, all signs point to yes.

Talk to Your Law Makers About Making Housing a Human Right

Education is a cornerstone of all thriving societies. Here, we see how a lack of affordable housing adversely affects other social sectors, like learning.

The toxic combination of skyrocketing rental rates and out-of-reach mortgages is causing a crisis that just might kill London or, at the very least, render it an unrecognizable place, abandoned both in hope and spirit. This is already happening in certain parts of the city.

Now is the time to talk to your local legislators about ending the homeless crisis by making housing a human right.

Cynthia Griffith

Cynthia Griffith


Cynthia Griffith is a freelance writer dedicated to social justice and environmental issues.

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