|Artist's impression of the new school (Barnet Times)|
All six members of the Committee, including the chair, voted for the proposal. Observers commented on the low level of questioning by councillors and their reluctance to engage with objectors. At least two were said to be disparaging towards the improving nearby Totteridge Academy which may well be detrimentally affected by the new school.
Objectors had argued that Totteridge could have been expanded on its current footprint for any increase in secondary pupil numbers as an alternative to building a new school. They felt, in any case, that misleading figures had been given on future need. New housing was mainly one and two bedroomed rather than family three bedroomed and that any bulge in the eight wards surrounding the Green Belt site would peak by 2025 at the latest. Local children who attend faith primary schools tend to move on to faith secondary schools and a significant number go to private or selective schools. Saracens is opening a new all-through school in Colindale in Graham Park.
All this means that the new school's intake is likely to come from further away and there will be increased traffic congestion as public transport to the site is poor.
Perhaps most galling was that the CEO of Ark was allowed to give a promotional speech extolling the merits of the proposed Ark Pioneer with its controversial methods.