|William Gladstone makes a point...|
The Questions and Answers
1. How will you ensure that all children have access to the school and what will your admissions criteria be?
Our aim is to create a non-selective community school for the Cricklewood/ Gladstone Park area. The school will be open to all but if we are oversubscribed then distance from the school will be the main criterion. We want this school to reflect the local community and will try to place it where it is accessible, though we can’t select a site until we have been approved for funding.
2. Will your school reflect the socio-economic profile of its neighbourhood as measured by the proportion of children admitted who are entitled to free school meals.
We actively want a community school that reflects the profile of its neighbourhood and are planning for at least 27% (Brent's average) of pupils on free school meals. We have chosen distance as the main criterion with the intention of siting the school in the heart of that community. We hope this will ensure a fully representative pupil intake.
3. Will you give priority to children with statements of special education need and those who are Looked After?
Pupils with Special Education Needs who have the school named on their statement will be guaranteed a place. Looked after children are given priority, as they would be with a local authority school.
4. Will you insist that all teaching staff have Qualified Teacher Status?
We anticipate that the majority of teachers will have qualified teacher status (QTS). However, in order to best support the anticipated range of educational needs we will be using a wide variety of innovative strategies, including bringing in expertise from cultural organisations, industry, universities and so on. We can't therefore guarantee that all those teaching will have QTS. What we won’t be doing is using non-qualified teaching staff to cut costs or to make profits.
5. Will your teachers enjoy the same conditions of service as local authority school teachers?
Recruiting, developing and supporting the very best teachers is a key part of our vision. We will have fair terms of employment and will consult on those terms. Our hours and our term times might be different from the Local Authority and therefore we can’t guarantee at this stage that the terms of employment will be identical. We intend to seek the two ticks for disability rating as an employer.
6. How will you ensure democratic accountability for the school and its expenditure of public money?
Our published annual accounts will be publicly available to ensure accountability. We are forming a company with charitable aims to make the bid and run the school. A partnership with Brent council remains a possibility, and we welcome other proposals to ensure accountability.
7. Have you any premises ear-marked for the school?
We are not able to select or earmark premises until we have been approved for funding and have the buildings grant. If anyone knows of any large derelict sites which might suit our proposed school please get in touch. We want something in the heart of Cricklewood/ Gladstone park with good transport links and access to open space to support our active approaches to learning.
8. How far have you got with the application/approval process?
The DfE application submission window is from December 17th to January 4th. We have been recognised by the New Schools Network as a high potential new school and so are confident that our application is on track. We need to demonstrate demand for the school with 240 signatures of parents with children in years 4 and 5 on our pledge, and welcome assistance from parents and other members of the local community with that process. Please ask your readers to take a look at our website at www.gladstoneschool.org.
9. Would you consider a partnership with Brent Council for the school?
We have invited Brent Council to consider exactly that.
10. How will you consult with neighbouring schools and the community about your proposals?
We have made considerable efforts to communicate the plans about Gladstone School to local primaries, and have invited 40 headteachers to a special information briefing. We have put information on the NorthWestTwo residents association page and we are grateful for the opportunity to seek the views of readers of Wembley Matters. We had a stall at the Brent Golden Summer festival in Gladstone Park, and have an informal information briefing session at 11.00am every Thursday in the reception area of the Crown Moran Hotel on Cricklewood Broadway. We encourage feedback, either at the Crown briefings, or via our website. To date we have had an overwhelmingly positive reception to our proposals from local residents.
Anyone who seeks further answers is very welcome to use the "questions and answers" service on our website.