Extravagant thanks to the staff of Roe Green Infants School for providing extra places for primary children over the last 6 years cut little ice at Cabinet on Monday when it was decided to consult on the phased closure of the Strathcona site in Wembley which has been run as part of Roe Green Infants under an Executive Headteacher.
Roe Green Infants had come to the aid of the local authority at a time of rising primary school rolls and agreed to run a 5-11 school on a separate site in Wembley. They are now faced with making staff redundant and as the two sites are run as one school in terms of staffing this will affect both the Infants and Strathcona.
The report to Cabinet stated:
The proposals, if implemented, are likely to impact on the required staffing for Roe Green Infant School; the proposal would lead to a reduction in overall staffing levels which would, therefore, result in the possibility for the need to consider redundancies. The number of staff affected will depend on the nature of a phased closure. There may also be opportunities to reduce the impact on staff, for example, by transferring existing staff to the main Roe Green Infant School site. The school would need to follow the Managing Change in Schools policy and procedure including consultation with affected staff and trade unions to effect the changes in due course.Gail Tolley, Strategic Director of Children and Young People, said that in 2015-2016 GLA projections had still indicated a rising roll in Brent's primary schools but migration, Brexit and statistical issues meant that projections for 2018-19 had been reduced. There had been a need for Strathcona at the time but it was no longer required as neighbouring schools could absorb the displaced pupils. The report gave the following figures. The key information is in Reception places comparing in the first column the number of available places (PAN - Planned Admission Number) and in the second the number of reception children actually in the school in October 2018. It can be seen that some of the controversial expansions (see previous articles on this blog, ) created with considerable building costs, have not been successful in attracting pupils and that there are 208 spare places in Strathcona's local area. This is equivalent to a one form entry primary school.
Hidden behind the figures is of course the impact of an uncertain future on the school staff and upset for children and parents who will have to find a new school, depending on when the Strathcona site closes. This will be a matter for the consultation the Council will launch but they have said that new admissions will cease from 2020.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Muhammed Butt, said at the meeting that the local authority had to look at provision and start a discussion with the school and its stakeholders. He said that they would make sure concerns regarding the staff were taken into consideration. The authoirty had to make best use of its resources and the spnding of the Direct Schools Grant.
It is likely if the trend continues that more primary schools will be affected and that the Planned Admission Number (PAN) will be reduced to take account of the demographic changes. The new Ark Somerville, to be built in the York House car park in Wembley, has been reduced from 3 forms of entry to two and will not take pupils until the demand from new developments in the Stadium area emerges.