Petition for new primary school in High Barnet

Written by  Thursday, 19 June 2014 13:47
Foulds Primary School - one of three High Barnet primary schools where demand for places exceeds supply Foulds Primary School - one of three High Barnet primary schools where demand for places exceeds supply
Parents of children due to start school from 2016 onwards are being urged to sign a petition to support a campaign to establish a new Church of England free school for High Barnet.

Last year around sixty children could not be found a local primary school place, and in order to tackle what is seen as a growing schooling crisis, the four churches in the Parish of Chipping Barnet have combined together to prepare an application to the Department of Education to establish a new free school.  

If approval could be obtained – and a suitable site found in High Barnet or perhaps Arkley – the aim would be to open the school in time for the September 2016 intake.

Parents who have children under three, who will be starting school in 2016 or later, are being urged to demonstrate the strength of local support by signing a petition at www.chippingbarnetcofeschool.weebly.com

The application is being made by the four churches in the Parish of Chipping Barnet – St John the Baptist, High Barnet; St Mark’s, Barnet Vale; St Peter’s, Arkley; and St Stephen’s, Bells Hill.

The new school would aim to take sixty children each year, some places going to parish children and some to those from the local community of all faiths and none.

Such is the current shortage of places for a growing population that High Barnet’s two existing Church of England schools – Christ Church and Monken Hadley, face demand that far exceeds supply; and Barnet Council, which is in favour of the application, is unable to expand Foulds School to provide extra spaces.

Two of the leading members of the campaign to establish the new school, parish priest the Reverend Tristan Chapman and former teacher Judy Burstow of Fitzjohn Avenue, are urging local parents to back an online petition.

Five hundred signatures are needed in support of the application

Five hundred signatures are needed in support of the application from parents with children who will be starting school in or after 2016.

“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 the 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.”

The application also has to demonstrate that those making the application have formulated a good admissions policy, plan a competent budget, propose a rigorous curriculum, intend to appoint the best possible staff and have a vision for the school in terms of the achievement of future pupils.

Judy Burstow said the bid had the backing of the Diocese of St Albans and was also being assisted by the advice and expertise of education professionals.

“The question on everyone’s lips is where will be new school be. We are looking at three separate sites at the moment but need to have community support first and this is crucial to the success of the application.

“When the application is approved, we will then be able to move to choosing a site with the help of Barnet Council’s Education Department.”

Another, far more ambitious bid to establish a new free school within the London Borough of Barnet for both primary and secondary pupils has been launched by a group of teachers, parents and friends who plan to open the Ara School.

Their venture was launched twelve months ago and parents are being asked to register their interest at www.araschool.org

The organisers say that Barnet Council is “very impressed” with their plans to establish a primary school for the age range four to eleven which would then become a through-school for age twelve to eighteen.

In a statement to the Barnet Society, Ara School said that it had not yet secured a site but hoped there would be progress in securing premises once the government had made decisions on the latest round of applications for free schools. 

If approval was granted and a site secured, the aim would be to begin the school with age four entry level for at the last the first two years.

“We are fortunate to have teachers who have both UK and international teaching experience. This will give our school the added value of offering an education which will enable our students to take their places in a globalised world.

“Our aim is to align the UK national curriculum with the hugely successful International Baccalaureate.  Our proposal to the Department of Education and our advertising campaign are progressing well, and at this stage, we would like to invite key stakeholders to support us in this venture.”

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11 comments

  • Comment Link Thursday, 19 June 2014 14:38 posted by Nick d

    This is all well and good, but what we actually should be doing is pressurising LBB to build the extra schools needed FOR ALL. Not just CofE.
    Free schools are just patches on the problem and give the council the excuse not to properly fund it.
    That is apart from the question of where you will find a suitable site. The Underhill Stadium perhaps?

  • Comment Link Thursday, 19 June 2014 20:10 posted by James W

    Hi Nick

    As you know, free schools receive all the funding they need and it comes from central government, which of course means less strain on Barnet council's budget, therefore doesn't affect other local services - which is a good thing. Assistance with finding suitable sites for free schools can be given both by the council and the central department.

    To be fair on the article, the proposed CofE school will offer a full national curriculum for children and the intake is for children of all faiths and none. Regarding the second free school proposal in the article, http://www.araschool.org, the International Baccalaureate curriculum is offered, which many believe is superior to the UK national curriculum (in fact the government was going to copy it with their English Baccalaureate certificate) although it will also be aligned with the UK national curriculum.

    Free schools are not a patch on a problem and they are all subject to full Ofsted inspections to ensure that standards are met. The free school program is making use of local teaching and management expertise and allowing schools to be started more quickly.

    The issue is that with the increasing demand for pupil places more schools are needed of all kinds and which meet the needs of the local community.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 19 June 2014 20:39 posted by JF

    Ridiculous idea. We need to look at existing schools & improve provision there first. Which of our schools can support another form? Can TTA become an all through school? A free Church school sounds like a vanity project and not an inclusive solution for the local community.

  • Comment Link Friday, 20 June 2014 01:30 posted by James W

    Hi JF. Exisiting schools won't be able to cope with so many extra pupils. According to official statistics the UK currently has the fastest population growth in the Europe and growth is especially high in the southeast and London. During the next few years tens of thousands of new primary school places need to be found in London. We simply need more new schools.

  • Comment Link Friday, 20 June 2014 23:39 posted by JF

    In High Barnet there are a minimum of three schools who can take an extra class (two have done so in previous years when asked by LBB). Another school in the locality has moved to 2 form entry permanently. A local secondary school has the space to become an all through school. The capacity is there to build on in existing schools but LBB is too incompetent to see it through. Free schools (espec faith based) are not the answer. Where on earth is another school going to squeezed in? We should be pressing our council to provide extra spaces, not pressing local residents to express interest in another Tory experiment.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 02 July 2014 09:12 posted by Kate W

    Absolutely disagree that we need ANOTHER faith school in Barnet. If parents are that concerned about their children being taught a faith why don't they take them to Church?

    A school should be an environment where faith is beside the point - it should be a place where children are taught side by side, learning to accept everyone around them. This is how you build a successful engaging World, you don't secularise based on religion.

    So sure open another school, although as JF said there is no need as there are places that could be used - open your eyes and your minds LBB, you know you want to.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 16 July 2014 20:07 posted by James W

    Have a read of this:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-28323859 - "London needs 15,000 more school places to meet demand, says report", 16 July 2014, BBC News website.

    We'll need more than a couple of squeezed in classes in existing schools to meet the demand.

    So more new schools need to be opened, whether traditional state schools, academies or free schools, all of which are of course state schools as they are all-state funded.

    Agree about avoiding faith-based education though - keep schools secular and follow the national curriculum.

  • Comment Link Friday, 18 July 2014 09:49 posted by James W

    It gets worse...

    "London’s school places shortage rises to 133,000"

    http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/news/current/pressdetail.htm?pk=1798

  • Comment Link Friday, 25 July 2014 15:24 posted by Tim Webster

    Another vote here for a non-faith based school. Please keep religion out of education. The reason Foulds is so over-subscribed is because parents are crying-out for a good faith-free education for their children.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 16 June 2015 11:40 posted by JM

    First, a fact that has escaped many people. LBB cannot open a new school. New schools have to be Free Schools or Academies, and their buildings are funded by Central Government agencies. New classes at existing schools are funded by Barnet.
    Schools that have accepted additional classes can do so again, but probably only after their 'bulge' class has left (which for a primary school is 7 years later) or they have expanded to take an extra class in each year-group - as happened in St Catherine's. None of the three schools at the top of the hill (Monken Hadley, Christ Church and Foulds) can expand unless they move, as the sites are too small, and/or roads are too congested for safety.
    Thirdly, some of your correspondents may be interested to know that Christ Church school is oversubscribed partly because people from outside the CofE would prefer a faith-based education even if it is not their own faith, and Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists learn alongside Christians of all denominations, and those whose parents are atheist or agnostic.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 15 July 2015 01:29 posted by odette garvey

    It is discrimination against children when it is faith based. Fact!

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