Saturday 3 February 2024

Brent Council to go ahead with formal consultation on halving the size of Leopold Primary School despite overwhelming parent opposition - Gwenneth Rickus site to close


Site proposed for closure

Brent Council Cabinet on Monday is set to launch a formal consultation on the closure of the Leopold Primary School Gwenneth Prckus site, Brentfield Road, despite overwhelming opposition at the informal consultation stage. LINK

The Governing Body of the school opposed the proposal as did 86.7% of the consultation respondents.

Brent Council's rationale is based on the need for forward planning as pupil numbers drop and the additional expense involved in running a school on two sites.  They admit that parents' perception is that despite a shared senior management team and governing body, it runs as a separate school from the Hawkshead Road site. 

Certainly it seemed a school in its own right when I visited several times a few years ago and I was bowled over by its ethos and the vitality and talent of the diverse staff and pupils. It was (is) very special. Leopold School (both sites) had a period of difficulty which saw the appointment of an Executive Headteacher to stabilise things and came through with flying colours and improved pupil achievement. It made a postive contribution to the Black Achievement project.

Considerable capital investment was made into the building when it was decided to refurbish what had been  the Brent Teachers Centre into an annex to Leopold Primary to accommodate the 'bulge' of pupils that was moving through the system at the time. 

The Cabinet paper states:

The Local Authority remains of the view that the proposal is required to address the level of spare places in the local area. While concerns raised by parents would need to be taken into consideration if the proposal was implemented, officers are of the view that the Council should move to consult formally on the proposal to cease provision on the Gwenneth Rickus site of Leopold Primary School.

The building would be used for other educational purposes according to the Cabinet paper but there is no mention of it as a possible site for the Islamia Primary School which is under notice to quit its Queens Park site. SEND and alternative provision are mentioned as possibilities so building expenses would remain.

The closure would lead to job losses and proposals are put forward to manage this process involving talks with trade unions and possible re-location of some staff to the Hawkshead site or re-employment elsewhere.

I embed below officers' responses to the consultation.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps they should close Byron Court Primary

Overall effectiveness Inadequate
The quality of education Inadequate
Behaviour and attitudes Inadequate
Personal development Inadequate
Leadership and management Inadequate
Early years provision Inadequate
Previous inspection grade Outstanding

a marked deterioration in all aspects of the school’s work. Areas that need urgent improvement, including the school’s work to promote good behaviour, have been left unaddressed for too long. As a result, pupils are not receiving an acceptable standard of education.

pupils with SEND not making progress through the curriculum

In some lessons, pupils disrupt their own learning and that of others. Breaktimes are chaotic, even when they are being managed by many members of staff

concerns about bullying or behaviour

Significant issues in school remain either unidentified or unaddressed.

Responses to bullying incidents are also inconsistent

cases of misbehaviour, including racist language and sexual harassment, are not thoroughly dealt with or followed up

not doing enough to ensure that pupils celebrate equality and diversity, and show respect for each other. Pupils throughout the school use racist language casually, as part of their day-to-day conversations

Incidents of homophobic behaviour are not adequately addressed

From early years to Year 6, the school does not consistently support pupils with
SEND to know and remember more

Pupils’ outcomes in national assessments demonstrate the neglect that the curriculum has had over recent years.

Anonymous said...

Brent primary schools are in a mess, just look at Byron Court School's Ofsted Report. Most of the schools don't have enough income to support them sufficiently and therefore the schools will fail their pupils most likely for life. Butt its OK, they will keep all but one school open.

Anonymous said...

Byron Court Primary School certainly sounds like a complete failure and the fault lies with the Head and the management team, plus the Governors and not forgetting Brent Council who can't know boast all their schools are OUTSTANDING, and not forgetting the Tories for not funding schools under Council control by the same levels as Academies. We will see how Brent's schools fair when the schools finally have long awaited OFSTED Inspections won't we.

We should all feel for the kids who are getting a substandard education in Brent.

Martin Francis said...

Yes I don't know the school personally but have worked with several schools to get them out of Special Measures. There are some general factors including difficulties in recruiting senior management, budgets in crisis, and in my opinion some of the over expansions that have left large primary schools that are harder to turn round (yacht versus ocean liner). The Brent School Improvement Team has also been reduced over the years that may have affected monitoring in the large gap since the Oustanding Ofsted - in effect a judgement on a different school given the changes over that time.

On a personal note I have seen the awful impact on pupils, staff and parents when a school is judged as failing. This often falls on those left behind after rapid personnel changes immediately after inspection.

I hope that with the support of Brent Council and encouragement from governors and parents (and the local media) the school will get over the shock and move forward positively for the sake of the children, families and community.