Monday, 15 September 2014

Michaela opens despite safety fears over site

Michaela Free School opened to 120 Year 7 pupils this morning despite fears about the safety of Arena House which is now a building site with just as narrow roofed timber lined corridor for entrance and exit.  Concerns have been raised with both Brent Council Health and Safety and the London Fire Brigade.

It was really sad this morning to see eager young faces, excited about starting secondary school, drop when they saw the state of the building.

Worried parents were assured that it was just the outside that looked like that - it was 'lovely' inside. However, parents were disconcerted to be refused entry to the building to see for themselves. They were promised a chance to view it at the Open Evening on Wednesday.

This is a glimpse of what appears to be an assembly/canteen/classroom seen through the windows.

Outside parent and grandparent views were mixed. Some accepted the promise that the school would soon be ready at face value, while others said the state of the building was 'disgusting'.  One grandparent, who welcomed the 'strict discipline', contrasted the building with the 'beautiful' building at Oakington Manor Primary that her grand-daugher had just left.

Parents at the school entrance today (white door)
There had been grumbles about the strict school rules at a pre-meeting with parents. They were told, 'If you don't like our rules, find another school!'

Several of the parents said they had not chosen Michaela but it was the only school available when their six choices were refused.

Clearly the school has a major job to win some parents round on several counts, including the state of the building, safety and discipline.  There may well be a split in the first few weeks between those who positively chose the school because of its 'strict, private school ethos' and those who were forced to take it because nothing else was available.

Challenging times ahead.


  1. Poor children!
    What a mess.

    1. now it is a good school!Maybe you should be patient and don't judge a book by it's cover


  2. From the Michaela website, ‘Our Ethos and Values’ section: ‘Our school will encourage parental and family involvement’
    From the Michaela building site:
    ‘parents were …… refused entry to the building to see for themselves’

    From the Michaela website, Our Educational Vision section: ‘We will expect our pupils to be polite and obedient.’
    From the Michaela building site:
    'If you don't like our rules, find another school!'
    (To be continued .........)

    Mike Hine

  3. I believe Labour's Cllr Pavey supports all this, doesn't he?: amateurish free school education organisation, balkanisation of state education provision, pathetic apeing of a very selective perception of what constitutes traditional educational values and standards, blatant breach of safeguarding and fire regulations. How does he reconcile all that with his current position and his former role as Labour education boss in a Labour council?

  4. You may be asking, 'why did Brent Council's building inspectors allow the school to open when it is still part of an active construction site?' The answer is that they didn't allow it. Here is the text of an email I received from Brent's building control section:-

    'Brent Council is unable to deal with this project. Building Regulations compliance is being dealt with by the private building control provider- details below.

    The school have elected to follow a process whereby the Councils’ district surveyor makes no checks under building regulations at all. It is dealt with entirely and signed off by MLM.'

    The details of the building control provider engaged by Michaela Community School, or by the Education Funding Agency on their behalf are:
    MLM Building Control Ltd, Eldon House, 2 Eldon Street, London EC2M 7LS.

    So, not only is this Free School taken out of the control of the local authority, so is control over the work on the building it is housed in.

    Philip Grant.

  5. 'The school have elected to follow a process whereby the Councils’ district surveyor makes no checks under building regulations at all'.
    Brilliant! Light touch asbestos regulation is the way forward!

  6. The lovely comments on MCS' Facebook page seem to suggest that at least some parents are happy.