Wednesday 20 January 2016

Brent academies propose new free school and special schools a new free special school

With the present government snot allowing local authorities to build new schools to meet growing demand for school places, Brent Council has said it will pursue options with academy and free school providers.

As all local secondary schools are academies it is unable to force them to expand on existing sites. Now local academies that are not part of a chain have claimed they have been backed by Brent Council in proposing a new secondary free school in the north of Brent.

Separately a consortium of special schools have forward a bid for a new special school to meet growing demand. This also claims to be backed by the Council.

In both cases a headteacher will be appointed from an existing school and will head up the new school in addition to their present post.

Both bids will have to be approved by the DfE.

The secondary proposal is for Brent North School in the north of Brent/Wembley area and is backed by Terry Molloy, headteacher of Claremont High School; Mike Hulme headteacher of Queens Park Community School and Gil Bal, Executive headteacher of Wembley High Technology College. Gil Bal would me headteacher of the new school in addition to her role at Wembley High.

The proposers have no site in mind at the moment and readers will know the difficulties various free schools have had in finding a site in Brent. A site in the north of Brent will add to the imbalance of schools between the north and the south of the borough.

Wembley already has Ark Elvin (previously Copland), Ark Academy, Michaela Free School,  Preston Manor and Wembley High with the new 1,000 plus private French School also in the area. Elsewhere in the north of the borough there is Claremont, Kingsbury High and St Gregory's RC - the only non-academy. The Jewish Free School, situated in Kingsbury, takes few pupils from Brent.

Despite not having a site the school intends to open in September 2018 with 180 places for Year 7 pupils. It promises to admit children of 'all faiths and none, giving priority to siblings and children at local primary schools'.

The proposers  justify the need for a new school on the basis that Claremont, Queens Park and Wembley High collectively received over 3000 applications for Year 7 in 2016, including almost 1,000 first preferences for the 670 available places.

This is their brochure:

The second proposal is for a new special school and is led by Woodfield Special School Academy, Manor School and the Village School. This may prove to be controversial as there are many who want to see special needs pupils integrated into mainstream schools rather than segregated into special provision. This is dependent on resourcing that ensure high quality provision.

The school would be sited at the junction of Christchurch Avenue and Brondesbury Park NW6 which is possibly the same site that Marylebone Boys Free School had their eye on. LINK

It would provide 100 places for children aged between 4 and 18 with complex needs including ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). The proposers say that the school is needed because the existing special schools are full.

Ms Jardine, Head of Manor School, would be headteacher of the new school in addition to her existing post.

This is their brochure:

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