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.