News

Barristers to share Gray’s Inn with 300 kids as new primary school gets go-ahead

By on
34

To open amid top chambers next year, with kiddies lunching in historic hall

Barristers in Gray’s Inn are preparing to welcome the latest set of tenants: 300 primary school children.

The Inn, which rents office space to some of London’s fanciest barristers’ chambers, has announced that a junior school is to open in the old City Law School building (pictured below) next year.

City Junior School will be a feeder school for the existing City of London School and City of London School for Girls.

The kids will eat in the historic dining hall — although not at the same time as the grown-ups — while an area understood to be at the Theobald’s Road end of the grounds has been set aside as a playground.

The old City Law School building

That’s a potential headache for chambers backing on to the gardens, which include the likes of Matrix, Monckton and Three Raymond Buildings. The school building itself is opposite The 36 Group and Field Court Chambers.

A source tells us the move has apparently caused “huge controversy” over the prospect of screaming kids interrupting video hearings, and that some barristers in neighbouring buildings oppose the plans.

Sadly no chambers contacted by Legal Cheek could be persuaded to go on the record with their dislike of schoolchildren.

Perhaps that’s because those with kids will actively welcome the prospect of a school on their doorstep. Barristers are among the select few likely to afford the fees of £6,888 per term.

In addition to wealthy parents, would-be pupils will need to pass two rounds of exams taken in Year 2.

An FAQs brochure also promises parents that “refurbishment work will be undertaken during the 2021/22 academic year, and we are currently working with architects to design an exciting educational space that is safe, comfortable and inspiring for children”.

The school will open in September 2022 with 75 pupils, rising to 300 by 2025.

Treasurer Ali Malek QC said:

“The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn are delighted that the City Junior School are going to be established at the Inn from September 2022. They will occupy a building that has supported the delivery of education since 1963 and we are delighted that its educational role will continue.”

The Inn says that keeping the building in use for educational purposes avoids the need for major redevelopment given the planning classification of the site. It did not respond to a request for further details of its outreach to chambers about the project.

You can watch the school’s promotional video below:

34 Comments

Sad

Taking exams in year 2. Bruh.

(44)(0)

Anon

My chambers are one of those mentioned. Ghastly news.

(48)(2)

Archibald Pomp O'City

3M 1100 ear plugs are among the most effective and least irritating to the ear canal. You can buy a pack of 50 for under a tenner.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/3M-1100-Foam-Ear-Plugs/dp/B0166S0ASQ

(5)(4)

Legal journalism enthusiast

Absolutely solid legal journalism here 10/10.

(41)(2)

Gray's Inn Member

The Inn did not engage members in any form of consultation whatsoever on this proposal.

It is an absolute disgrace:

1) The level of noise the school will produce in such close proximity to working chambers;
2) The shameful optic of having a prestigious independent school literally in the grounds of the Inn – it really does show you how little the Inn’s commitment to social mobility at the Bar actually means;
3) Kids using the Walks as a playground – really?; and
3) Kids using Hall for lunch – really?

(99)(3)

WorriedDepressedBarrister

It’s madness! I’m also in a chambers directly affected and even though this isn’t happening til 2022 people where I work are already talking about looking to move outside the Inn. Letters of strong obejction were written to the Inn by almost all of the chambers affected.

You can add to your list:
5) Problematic safeguarding issues – Major criminal chambers with clients attending conferences in chambers (some of whom should be no where near children), First Avenue House (family court) just round the corner with numerous attendees who are there precisely because they should be kept away from children – attendees who often wander up and down Warwick Court.
6) 300 kids moving through the Inn to play and go to lunch is not compatible with clerks moving trolleys up and down to Court and the DX.
7) Probable distruction of over 400 years of a beautiful quiet and cloistered place for the practice of law.

Agree with previous poster that the lack of consultation was a shocker.

(99)(1)

Anon

Agree with all of this. It’s awful every way you look at it.

The Inn must be desperate for money.

(50)(3)

Touker

The barristers with kids will welcome the move but for the vast majority of barristers who either have children that study elsewhere or don’t have/don’t want children, this is bad news. Why do people with children feel the need to shove it in the faces of everyone else?

(29)(2)

Archibald Pomp O'City

“Why do people with children feel the need to shove it in the faces of everyone else?”

Those same children will be wiping your arse and dabbing the soup off the corners of your mouth in a decade or two. Their parents have every right to be proud. Show some respect.

(4)(34)

Alfred

It’s unlikely these particular kids will be going into such careers.

(5)(1)

Deputy District Judge

If any of the kids disturb my telephone hearings I’ll hold them in contempt.

(41)(1)

Anon

God what an awful idea.

(29)(1)

Big Hollywood Producer

Yes I love it! Adorable little rascals wind up a crusty curmudgeon QC with their hilarious antics. His frosty heart is melted and then he risks everything to save their school. A big showdown finale between him (played by Anthony Hopkins?) and the stern, misguided but essentially good ofsted inspector (same judi dench maybe?).

(55)(9)

Anon in Grays

>>>>Treasurer Ali Malek QC said: “The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn are delighted that the City Junior School are going to be established at the Inn from September 2022.

I think the Inn will be less delighted if all the barristers working in the Inn who are royally p*ssed off both with idea of loads of noisy kids AND the lack of any consultation leave – along with their big commercial rents!

(37)(0)

Yuck

Cue applicants flooding to sets in Inner, Middle and Lincoln’s Inn. What madness!

(26)(0)

Pupil

Given how few pupillages are available and how tough the competition is, I don’t think a nearby primary school is going to put people off applying to a set based in Gray’s Inn.

(7)(14)

Yuck

I was referring to tenants not pupils.

(18)(0)

a

Lol, no-one meant pupillage applicants here.

(17)(1)

Archibald Pomp O'City

Are you sure? I thought most pupillage applicants were extremely discerning, and their candidature much wooed by the top sets.

(5)(2)

Alfred

Or perhaps time for a new breakaway Inn?

(2)(2)

Scounsel

Is it April 1st?

And as for affording the fees…those of us doing Crime can only dream…

(17)(0)

Judges’ Kids Too

Plenty of barristers send and have historically sent their kids to CLSG and CLSB within the Barbican complex and opposite the Tate Modern respectively.

I have never heard of city workers complaining about the presence of 11-17 year olds commuting to school.

Surely it’s convenient to be able to pick your young children up within walking distance after finishing papers at chambers?

Or is this impinging on the very real workaholic/guilt culture at the Bar towards children?

(7)(22)

Anonymous

These will be 7 to 11 year olds not 17 year olds!! Kids that age make a racket – they shout and scream. The commuting is only a tiny issue. The big issue is the play ground in the walks which will be used at break time and lunch and moving them from the school up there.

Who wants shouting kids outside a window when you are trying to give sometimes difficult and sensitive professional advice? Who wants to receive sometimes difficult and upsetting legal advice in a playground?

(27)(1)

helpful henry

Having lived next door to a primary school when growing up, and then next to a secondary school while living out when at university, I can assure you that primary school children are far, far, far noisier.

(4)(0)

Lord X

Surely an April fools?

(9)(0)

Leagle Eagal

The presence of a quiet, clean oasis of calm within central London where contemplative business can be conducted is one of the greatest assets of the Bar. The Inns are not just offices; they are pleasant spaces to work, meet, dine and relax. If it simply becomes yet another mixed-use space within the City, it will lose its uniqueness and become simply a living museum rather than the beating heart of the legal sector. It’s time for people to start actively resisting change like this, before the Inns get sold off to Chinese developers to become flats, the public spaces get fenced off, and the barristers decamp elsewhere.

(31)(1)

Archibald Pomp O'City

“The presence of a quiet, clean oasis of calm within central London where contemplative business can be conducted is one of the greatest assets of the Bar. The Inns are not just offices; they are pleasant spaces to work, meet, dine and relax. If it simply becomes yet another mixed-use space within the City, it will lose its uniqueness”

Oh get over yourself you pompous sod.

(10)(36)

Al

Some while ago, I had to obtain proof I’d passed the BVC.

On receipt of the certificate I was somewhat surprised to find I was now an alumni of City Law School (and also had a Diploma in Professional Legal Skills).

It transpired that was because City Law School had taken over the old ICSL.

On that basis, I wonder if I can now put City Junior School on my CV.

(10)(3)

Criminal barrister

“ Barristers are among the select few likely to afford the fees of £6,888 per term.”

Good to see legal cheek using that broad brush to paint criminal, chancery and commercial barristers as the same.

For shame.

(11)(0)

Wozza

Ha indeed. There will be toddlers paying more in annual fees at this school than some criminal barristers earn in a year

(9)(0)

Jon

The optics of this are awful. Grays Inn trying to shake of elitist reputation establishes expensive private school on its grounds?! Posh kids running smoke around the Inns. Dreadful all round.

Silly statement from the treasurer about the Inns commitment to education. This isn’t education for all – this is education for the kids of the rich.

Other than the money this will bring in, I can’t see any reason to approve this.

(27)(0)

Anon

Hot nannies. Yay!

(4)(7)

Anonymous

Billy Bunter and his mates go wild in the city!

(2)(5)

Grim

R.I.P. (Rest In Playgrounds), Gray’s Inn

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.