Friday 16 September 2022

Islamia Chair of Governors tells parents that final approval after consultation on school move 'should be no more than a formality'. Yusuf Islam Foundation is to redevelop the present site.

The proposed site photographed earlier this week

 Sofia Moussaoui, Chair of the Islamia Primary School Govering Board, has written to parents troday following the Brent Cabinet's approval of the report that cleared the way for consultation on the move of the school from Queens Park to the former Roe Green Strathcona site  in Preston, Wembley.

The letter reveals that the Yusuf Islam Foundation plans to redevelop the Queens Park site - a prime site in a well to do area.

In a passage that has annoyed parents, who sense a fait accompli as regards the consultation, Ms Moussaoui states:

...This approval in principle is subject to final approval upon the conclusion of the consultation process, but it should be no more than a formality.

The letter conscludes:

We would encourage you all to provide constructive suggestions as to how we can the transition easier for both teachers and parents.

No mention of children!

The text of the letter to parents and carers:

I am writing to update you on the proposed relocation of the school.

I am pleased to report that the Yusuf Islam Foundation, the GB[Governing Board] and the Local Authority have agreed terms in principle for the relocation of the School. The Yusuf Islam Foundation has agreed to withdraw the eviction notice in return for the GB committing to vacating the Salusbury Road site in July 2024 and in return for the Local Authority committing to provide an alternative site for Islamia by the same date.

The greement is yet to be signed but all 3 parties have committed to signing the document in its current agreed form. Brother Yusuf Islam is due to travel to London to sign and execute the agreement.

The Local Authority has proposed that Islamia relocate to the Strathcona Site which is located at the Roe Green Strathcona School Site, Strathcona Road, Wembley, HA9 8QW. Furthermore, the Local Authority is adamant that they have conducted extensive searches over the last couiple of years and that there are no other suitable sites within the Brent area,

The Yusuf Islam Foundation will be redeveloping its land and therefore ongoing occupation of the curent school site after the agreed July 2024 date is not an option.

The GB is aware of the 500 strong petition to relocate the School to a site in South Kilburn. This  has been raised with the Local Authority who have confirmed that the site has already been earmarked for another school and that  it will in any event not be ready for occupation for 4 years, Therefore, the site in South Kilburn is not a viable option.

The priority for the GB is to avoid the closure of Islamia, who in 2 years' time cannot continue to occupy the Salusbury Road site. Currently our only viable option to avoid closure is the relocation to the now closed Roe Green Strathcona School Site, Strathcona Road, HA9 8QW.

On Monday 12th September 2022, 5 members of the GB attended the Cabinet Meeting at Brent Civic Centre  * where Councillors voted on the proposal to fund the relocation of Islamia to the Strathcona Site. In total the costs of the relocation and rebuild ** are estimated to be circa £12million. The Councillors approved the proposal and have committed in principle to providing the funds. The approval in principle is subject to final approval upon the conclusion of the consultation process, but it should be no more than a formality.

The next step for the GB is to conduct a informal consultation process which we hope to begin within the next 1-2 weeks. The informal consultation will run for 4 weeks. Thereafter, there will also need to be a formal consultation process.

We would encourage you all to provide constructive suggestions as to how we can make the transition easier for both teachers and parents.

* Around 15 parents opposed to the plans also attended the Cabinet meeting and one made a speech presenting the 500+ signature petition.

** The plans are for the refurbishment of the existing buildings and the building of a new block. From the Cabinet Report: 

4. Retain and refurbish all buildings on the Strathcona site and build a new block to meet 2FE accommodation requirements


Philip Grant said...

The Yusuf Islam Foundation is a charity. As far as I am aware, its charitable objects do not include property development.

This is what its website says:

'THE YUSUF ISLAM FOUNDATION is a pioneering charity registered in England and Wales and works in the fields of lifelong education, community development and philanthropy.

Its work is guided by the intrinsic altruistic values of Islam and the belief that knowledge and mutual respect lead to a healthier and more prosperous society. Its approach is defined by its goal of fostering these core principles and of effecting genuine and sustainable social progress.

The Foundation embraces innovation, diversity and a collaborative approach and seeks to identify local and international issues to which it can make a meaningful, positive and lasting difference.'

Martin Francis said...

Yes but is does have interest in property, presumably purchased. From the latest accounts:

The Foundation's investment assets include five residential units in a single building, a separate maisonette, a residential unit which is presently converted into an oflice for administration purposes, and a property consisting of two commercial and six residential spaces. These are managed by external third party property management agents and generate rental income to fund the charitable activities of the group

Anonymous said...

Money, Money, Money and made possible by Brent's Cabinet spending £10,000,000 on a new school for them. Disgusting and more

Philip Grant said...

Another potential point of interest for the parents opposed to these plans is that for the present Primary School site in Salusbury Road to be redeveloped, other than for educational use, it would need the permission of the Department for Education.

I know this, because Brent Council had to get that permission, in order to build homes on the former Copland School site at Cecil Avenue. (It's a pity that the DfE didn't specify that all the homes built on the site should be for Council tenants, rather than 152 of the 250 homes proposed to be for sale by a private developer!)

Parents may wish to contact the new Education Minister, with the support of their local MP, if possible, to ask for the DfE to ensure that the site is retained for educational use, preferably by the Islamia Primary School which currently operates from there!

Anonymous said...

Philip, the charity would not need that permission until 2024. By 2024, the Council will have already committed and incurred the £12m expenditure. Therefore, the path towards redevelopment will be clear for the charity and the Council will probably demonstrate that the redevelopment forms part of the Brent Local Plan.

Anonymous said... in the comment is made above, what about the children, and also what about the Residents of Preston Park/South Kenton.

Anonymous said...

Why are the council funding this move to the tube of £12m so that they can make money developing the site. It is outrageous