Kate Ferguson of the Willesden and Brent Times was right and not in error as I had thought in this week's report on school places. The recent Primary Places report to the Council Executive does outline a two stage approach to Preston Manor High School expansion into primary provision.
The first proposal is a temporary classroom for two classes of Reception age (4+) children on the secondary school site which would open in January 2011. The second is permanent primary provision on the site from September 2011. This would eventually amount to 420 children as the school filled up over the years. The report says that further discussions need to take place with the governing body. There would then be formal public consultation on the proposal. It will be interesting to see if the consultation will include residents' views on overall size of schools and the principle of all-though provision.
The school could exist as a separate primary school with a different name on the Preston Manor site or be the primary department of a new all-through 5-19 school. The form of governance has not yet been decided. The school would be funded through Basic Need Safety Valve (BNSV) funding based on the expanding Brent population.
Such a proposal would mean two all through 5-19 schools within half a mile of each in Wembley (Preston Manor and ARK Academy) and primary classes at Chalkhill, Ark, Preston Manor, Park Lane, Wembley and Preston Park in the immediate area. There also remains the possibility of a primary school in Quintain's Wembley Stadium regeneration area. It is unclear from the Executive paper if this is where the need for primary places in Brent is greatest.
Declaration of interest: I am Chair of Governors at Chalkhill Primary School which may be affected by the proposals