Campaign for new primary school

Written by  Tuesday, 21 April 2015 10:06
Of seven local primary schools, Foulds was the most heavily oversubscribed Of seven local primary schools, Foulds was the most heavily oversubscribed
All seven primary schools in High Barnet and Underhill have again been oversubscribed, leaving 32 children without an agreed place in September – yet another indication of the strength of local demand for an additional school.

Four churches in the Parish of Chipping Barnet that combined together last year to prepare an application to establish a new Church of England free school are renewing their appeal to parents to sign up in support.

The deadline for an application to the Department for Education for a new free school opening for the September 2017 intake is 29 May. So far the Chipping Barnet team ministry have collected 73 per cent of the signatures they need.

If government approval could be obtained, the new primary would offer 60 places each year from 2017 onwards, with a two-form entry for 4- to 5-year-olds. The aim would be to open the school in a refurbished building such as the former Marie Foster home in Wood Street.

In a statement urging parents to give their support, the team ministry says the admissions figures issued by Barnet Council for September 2015 underline the desperate need for an additional primary school.

If government approval could be obtained, the new primary would offer 60 places each year

There were a total of 337 first-preference applications for the 305 places available at the seven primaries in High Barnet and Underhill – Christ Church, Foulds, Grasvenor Avenue, Monken Hadley, St Catherine’s, Underhill and Whitings Hill.

Foulds was the most oversubscribed, with a total of 171 first-, second- and third-preference applications for 45 places, followed by St Catherine’s, with 160 applications for 60 places and Christ Church with 154 applications for 30 places.

The four churches that are making the joint application for a new school are St John the Baptist, High Barnet; St Mark’s, Barnet Vale; St Peter’s, Arkley; and St Stephen’s, Bells Hill.

Their aim is to provide a Church of England school with an inclusive ethos, open to those of all faiths or none. Some places would go to parish children and others to those from the wider local community.

The team ministry says the level of oversubscribing for local primaries is predicted to continue rising, and that explains the renewed effort to persuade parents to express their support.

Five hundred signatures are needed in support of the application for parents with children starting school in or after 2017.

“Signing up does not involve a commitment on their part to applying for the school when it opens; it will just show that there is support in the area for the application. We have to provide evidence of both a local need and a desire for places in a new school, but there is no obligation to send your child to the school when it opens.”

So far the team ministry has secured 73 per cent of the signatures needed for children needing a place in 2017, but only 17 per cent for 2018.

If the application was approved, the Department for Education would offer assistance in find a suitable site in an existing building in the High Barnet area that could be refurbished as a school.

Parents are being urged to demonstrate the strength of local support by signing a petition at www.chippingbarnetcofeschool.weebly.com. Alternatively petition papers are available at the four churches.

An open meeting to discuss the plan is to be held at St John the Baptist (crèche available) on 21 April.

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12 comments

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 21 April 2015 18:59 posted by Mark

    I don't agee that Foulds is the most oversubscribed school assuming your stats are right.

    Foulds 45 spaces 171 applications = so for every place 3.8 people applied

    St Catherines 60 spaces 160 applications = so for every place 2.7 people applied

    Christchurch 30 spaces 154 applications = so for every place 5.1 people applied

    Foulds had the most applications I agree but Christchurch was the most over subscribed followed by Foulds and then St Catherine's.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 22 April 2015 09:17 posted by Karis Millington

    I'd be interested to know the actual number of community places proposed at this school....seems there are plenty of faith places already available in high barnet.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 22 April 2015 09:19 posted by Jennie Woods

    Why does it have to be another faith school? If more junior school places are needed in High Barnet why can't the government supply them. without the "help" of a church? Sad, and worrying.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 22 April 2015 19:40 posted by Lauren

    Foulds is the most oversubscribed school that caters for the local area. Christchurch offers 70% of places to worshippers and St Catherine's did not admit any non-Catholics last year as these children are 11 on the criteria list. I do not understand what religion has to do with delivering the national curriculum to children. Why do we even have church schools that so badly discriminate against people who do not go to church. And often makes liars of good people who pretend to go to church just so they can go to their local school. SAY NO TO ANOTHER CHURCH SCHOOL IN BARNET!

  • Comment Link Friday, 24 April 2015 10:34 posted by Judy Burstow

    The Church of England has a long history of providing schools for their local community; they were the first non-fee paying schools in this country. This will be a church school, not a "faith" school; the admissions will be (if oversubscribed) 50% Christian and 50% community. The aim to provide high quality education for all children regardless of their faith.

  • Comment Link Friday, 24 April 2015 10:38 posted by Richard

    I agree with Lauren, Karis and Jennie. Why does Barnet need another faith school? Why is such a discriminatory policy not only allowed, but seemingly encouraged? Barnet needs another primary school, but what little information I can find about church attendance in the area would suggest that the existing schools are more than enough to cater for religious requirements. We need another primary school in Barnet, but I strongly oppose it being yet another faith school. What does religion have to do with education anyway?

  • Comment Link Sunday, 26 April 2015 14:14 posted by Lucy Kiernan

    Too many faith schools in Barnet! We have to put at least 2 down in order to choose our six schools. We are not religious at all but may have no choice.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 26 April 2015 14:15 posted by Lauren Carnegie-Gomez

    Thank you for adding the admissions criteria but it is just the same as all other faith schools. Why should we support a school where 50% of admissions could be from anywhere as long as they go to church. How is it fair to spend the tax payers money on that.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 26 April 2015 14:16 posted by Lucy Kiernan

    Agree totally with Lauren. We need local schools for local children regardless of faith. The selection criteria just don't work and push people in to other oversubscribed sbooks they are not in the priority area for and end up with no school!

  • Comment Link Sunday, 26 April 2015 14:17 posted by Jennie Woods

    50% initially, but a couple of years down the line all places will be taken up with church- going siblings. Why should parents be forced to attend church just to get their kids into their local school???

  • Comment Link Sunday, 26 April 2015 14:17 posted by Richard Gardham

    Well said to those who have commented on this. I don't understand why religion and education have to be so closely tied anyway, but surely Barnet has enough faith schools to cater for its church-going community. We need a new primary school that accepts 100% children of any faith, denomination or race. You wouldn't get a publicly funded hospital that only accepts a certain percentage of non-church goers. Why should our taxes be spent on schools that allow this kind of discrimination? A new primary school? Yes. A new faith school? No.

  • Comment Link Monday, 27 April 2015 11:32 posted by Richard

    Judy Burstow:

    How can you write: "the admissions will be (if oversubscribed) 50% Christian and 50% community"

    and then in the sentence after write: "The aim to provide high quality education for all children regardless of their faith."?

    The first sentence directly contradicts the second. There is no 'all' children with this proposed school. There is no 'regardless of faith'. This school - as in all schools that only admit a certain percentage of non-religious children - will be discriminatory in its selection policy. If it were serious about providing a 'high quality education for all children regardless of their faith' then it would make the intake 100% community. There is no reason for education and religion to be linked like this. It is grossly, grossly unfair on those who do not follow the religions of these schools.

    All children should be equal when it comes to getting places at primary schools. How anyone can argue otherwise is beyond me. Yet this new school - and the other faith/church schools - fly directly in the face of that statement. I'm at an absolute loss as to how this can be justified.

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