Planning permission and effect

Planning permission has been granted to build 3 new family homes in Bourne Hill, see http://foxlane.net/ planning message in FLDRA messages 31st January.

The plot was previously a car park opposite the entrance to Grovelands Park and  would have been used mainly by people going to the park. Is the sale of this plot of land for housing the best outcome for community property? The sale has brought the Council revenue for the short term but what will the long term effect be?
In this area and the nearby Lakes Estate Conservation Area there is a lack of school places both for primary education and secondary education. There is already a crises area in the centre of five or six community schools where children will not be admitted into a school near their home.
Enfield Council have a Primary School Expansion Programme to address this problem in areas all over Enfield however this is a reactive approach that will not resolve an ever growing problem, particularly as some of the proposed schools have objected and been withdrawn from the programme.

The Council receive a five year forecast from the GLA informing them of the number of Education admissions they will require year on year so there is no excuse for the LEA’s lack of forward planning.

There are two publicly owned buildings in Palmers Green that could be ideal for new schools, namely Southgate Town Hall  and Broomfield House. I am not so naive that I don’t understand why Council officers prefer housing opportunities in this old Civic building and this historic building as opposed to Education, and the answer is money.

Housing will bring in revenue and Education will bring expenditure.

Housing will demand increased services and Education will provide a service.

Housing will pollute and Education will be green, local children walking to their local school.

More long term planning please!

 


Southgate Village Hall

plaqueI have walked past this plaque many times in Southgate and not really noticed it. It remembers a community’s village hall that was knocked down. In its place stands an empty looking office block with a “To Let” sign on it. What a waste!

It should have remained a community hall or maybe an extension for the library or something that benefits the local community.

The reason I am blogging about the village hall is because Enfield Council appear determined to make a similar mistake with Southgate Town Hall. This is an old building in Palmers Green that Enfield Council used to provide Social Services and Housing services from. Enfield Council have left the building and are determined to turn this lovely old community building into housing.

Turning this building into flats will meet a community want, however the needs of the community is for education and this building would be ideally suited as a primary school. There are not enough primary school places in this area and Enfield Council have a Primary School Expansion Programme which affects 10 existing schools in the borough.

Make Southgate Town Hall into a primary school!


Enfield Primary School Expansion

The London Borough of Enfield has been consulting on how to provide more primary school places in the borough. The Council proposes to expand 10 existing schools to increase the number of children that can be taken into Reception classes and in some cases into Year 1.

In my area of Southgate and Palmers Green there are expansion proposals for Walker School and Broomfield School but there are no proposals for a new school. A new primary school could be situated in the old Southgate Town Hall which is empty.

I support the proposal for the expansion of Walker School which is rated a 1 by Ofsted and offers outstanding education. I attended the consultation meeting at Walker which was the forum to have my say. I live ½ mile from Walker School but will be unable to get my twins admitted due to over subscription. There are other issues with admissions to Walker where parents rent properties next to the school for a short period and then once their children are admitted move further away thus taking places that should rightfully belong to people who really reside in the immediate area, but that’s another story!

I do not support the proposal to expand Broomfield School. Broomfield School is rated a 4 by Ofsted and therefore has issues regarding the quality of education provided. It would mean changing the age of admission from 11-18 to 4-18. I would not want to send my child to a failing school so I cannot understand the thinking behind expanding this school. The effect of an expansion would be to force poor education onto more children in the community. Surely a new school in the area would be a better proposition. There is a separate consultation for Broomfield School.

The consultation period is over but if you wanted to comment or get involved then I think the Programme Director of the Primary School Expansion Programme, Bridget Evans could be a good starting point.


Primary School Admissions 2012

Congratulations to the London Borough of Enfield Education Authority on fulfilling its statutory duty in providing the necessary number of Primary School places for the borough.

I made a Freedom of Information request to the borough (The details of the questions and answers are below) which proves that they have made adequate Primary School provision. Does this mean that all Primary School parents whose children will start school in this coming school year are happy? The answer is a definite No.

There are 148 children who have not been offered a place. There are no new schools in my area and new schools in the east of the borough will not help our problems. There is a possibility of a bulge class at Walker but that sounds reactive and unreliable for the long term.

I think a change in law is required so that those resident within a certain radius of a school must be admitted which in turn would mean that class sizes could not be maintained at their legal maximum of 30 children. Smaller class sizes make for a better education.

FOI request and answers
Your FOI Request

1. How many primary school applications were received at Enfield for reception aged children on or before January 15th 2012?

2. How many late applications were received at Enfield after January 15th 2012 for reception aged children?

3. How many Enfield resident reception aged children have not been offered any school place for 2012, irrespective of when the application was received?

4. Will all Enfield Primary School reception classes be at their capacity and to the maximum number of children legally permitted ie. 30? If not identify which schools and the reasoning behind the class size.

5. How many places are available to reception aged children in Enfield schools for 2012? I have added up the places in the Primary School admissions booklet and have calculated a total of 4363 reception aged places. Please can you confirm whether that is correct and if not please provide the correct figure?

6. What was the GLA projection for reception aged pupils on roll for the academic year 2012/13 in Enfield? I understand that this figure would change on a yearly basis so if you could provide the figures for the previous 5 years I would be grateful? If resources do not permit this then the projection prior to October 2011 when this years admission process started.

Your FOI Request

1. 4498 applications were received from Enfield residents by 15th January 2012.

2. 108 late applications were received after the closing date of 15th January 2012 and allocation date of 18th April 2012. The total number of applications received after the closing date of 15th January to date (8th June12) is 340.

3. As at today, 148 children have not received an offer of a school place, irrespective of when the application was made.

4. Currently, all schools in Enfield with the exception of Eldon Infant school will be operating reception class sizes that meet the requirements of the infant class size legislation of 30 children. Eldon Infant School will be admitting 140 to their reception year group in September because of the physical size of their classrooms. In addition to Eldon, Enfield Heights Academy, a new free school opening in the east of the Borough, have published an admission number of 25 and have advised that they will be admitting this number in September.

5. 4,749 Reception places are being made available for 2012/13. This figure includes places at new free schools due to open in September and academies and in those one-off additional classes being provided to meet demand for the coming year. The level of demand for September 2012 is monitored very regularly and additional places will be opened if needed to ensure that there is a place for every child.

6. The latest GLA projection for 2012/13 made this year, i.e. 2011/12 is 4,563. For the previous 5 years, the projections were as follows

2010/11 – 4,467
2009/10 – 4,595
2008/09 – 4,247
2007/08 – 4,077
2006/07 – 4,105


Primary School Admissions 2012

Every year the local paper reports on distress that is experienced by parents living in Enfield when they cannot get their child into their school of preference. A petition has been started to try and address the problem in Southgate. The petition highlights a problem that happens every year in Enfield and I’m sure all over London. As parents we are led to believe that we have a preference of school but that is not in fact the case. I live 1/2 mile from Walker School but that distance will be too great for my twins Harry and Poppy to gain admission in 2015.

The petition will raise awareness and I am hopeful that changes will be made to address the shortfall in school places for Primary School children in Enfield. Some parents that I know have not been offered a place at any school for their child! I am in contact with a mother who has moved back into the area after being away for some months and neither of her children, who are Reception and Year 2 aged for 2012, have been offered a place.

The Education Authority receives projection figures from the Greater London Authority which provides them with the knowledge to plan for upto 10 years in advance. So why do we still have this shortfall in Primary School places?

It is obvious that the Education Authority’s long term strategy is not effective else they would be able to provide every Enfield child with a Primary School place. The problem may lay with maintaining classroom sizes at their legal limit of 30 students per 1 teacher. If the classroom sizes were smaller there would be more room for managing children moving into different school areas and we know that smaller class sizes provide children with a better education.

There needs to be a method to make the Education Authority’s duty achievable by ensuring they have a strategy which provides children with the school places we as parents demand. This will require financial support and therefore either Government or legal support to make it happen.


Primary School Admissions

I am researching Primary School Admissions in Enfield for 2015 for my twins Harry and Poppy who will be starting school then.

I want to send my children to the closest community school to my home which is Walker School at 0.563 miles away; a not unreasonable request. I have checked with Enfield School admissions and had my children been starting school this year they would be unable to go to our closest community school. This leads me to believe that there are insufficient Primary Schools in my area.

I have sent this email to Enfield Council today:

Thank you for your reply. As you know from my original email I am interested in the admissions process as I want to send my twins to the Community School closest to my home.

I have reviewed the data that is freely available on the London.gov.uk website and obtained data using the “Excel Custom Age Range Tool for GLA Projections Data”.
 
I have reviewed the projection for children aged 5 in the year 2015 and also 2016 to take into account the fact that school year admissions start in September; and then divided by 2 to get only one years data. In Enfield the projection of children aged 5 for 2015 is a total of 4650 children (boys and girls).
 
I have also reviewed the admission numbers for Enfield in 2011 and by comparing the data it appears to me that there is a shortfall of approximately 550 places.
 
As you see my workings out are crude and based on the data I have sought; I do not know what process Enfield follows as I am working from the email reply I received below, nor do I know what other factors are taken into consideration.
 
Please can you let me know what the projections are for Enfield’s 2015 Primary School admissions? What process Enfield follows to ensure there are sufficient primary school allocation for the Enfield population in the future? Does this need to be a Freedom of Information request?
 
Yours truly,
Gonul Daniels

 Please see my previous post for the previous email. My calculations may be incorrect but if you don’t ask you don’t know!


Primary School

I had my twins Poppy and Harry in April this year and I am now looking at the options for their Primary School education so that I am not shocked or disappointed in 4 years time when they are due to start.

The closest Community Primary School to my home in Bourne Hill is Walker based in Waterfall Road and approximately 1/2 mile from our home. Walker School has an excellent Ofsted report and is the primary school that I want my children to attend.

My next door neighbour’s children go to Firs Farm School because they could not get into Walker School and another neighbour’s children go to St Monica’s Roman Catholic School. Therein lays my problem!

Based on this year’s Primary School admissions from the London Borough of Enfield I would not be able to get my twins into the closest community school to me, and would therefore have to accept any school offered to me by Enfield’s School Admission Service.

All other schools within a 1 mile radius are religious schools and they have their own admission criteria based on their religion.

I wonder if the number of school places provided in Enfield meets the needs of the borough?

Enfield has kindly replied to my question regarding where they obtain their statistics from and I quote:

In common with most other boroughs in London, Enfield Council subscribes to the School Roll Projections Service of the Greater London Authority, who produce annual forecasts of pupil numbers for each year group for the primary and secondary sectors in our schools, including the 6th form. These forecasts, which also include numbers in academies, are based on a number of factors appertaining to Enfield, including trends in pupil numbers over the previous four years, birth trends, data on known new housing developments and migration (both national and international). Projections are provided for a 10 year period and are produced each year following the annual census of pupil numbers in schools, which is carried out each January. These most recent pupil numbers are also used to inform the projections.

 I have 4 years to work out what to do next!

 

 


Primary School Places

I am currently supporting a parent trying to get her son a school place in the London Borough of Enfield. Mrs M has 2 children, J who has a place in Year 4 at a Primary School in LB Enfield and K who has not been offered a place at any school and has been out of education sice October 2009.

Mrs M is distraught that her son is not being educated and that there is no iminent prospect of K being offered any school place.

I have been speaking with LB Enfield and their legal obligation is to offer a place at a school in LB Enfield, not necessarily at the school that K’s brother is attending or even at a school close to where they live. It is Mrs M’s legal responsibility to ensure that K attends school.

Whilst trying to help in this problem I realise that it may not be in the family’s best interest to force LB Enfield into offering a place at any school due to the logistics of taking one child to a local school and then taking another child to the other side of the borough to another school which is clearly not sustainable.

Last week I spoke with the Council and found there are 2 primary schools which had a place and a very short waiting list in close proximity to Mrs M’s home. Mrs M has now put K on the waiting list of both schools. I will continue to contact the Council regularly to ascertain if more Year 1 places become available.

My thoughts – The Council are trying to fulfill their obligations to the best of their ability and in this case there would be no benefit to the family to force the Council to provide a place at any school for K. I do think that more can be done to maintain communication for example the Council phoning parents who don’t have a school place regularly (I would like to see it done daily).

The problem that Mrs M is facing is clearly affecting the moral of the whole family and there is a feeling of helplessness and desperation that they have endured for 7 months. I’m hoping that between us K gets into a school within the next few weeks and I will be phoning the Council daily to try and achieve this.

17 May 2010

As some of you may know if you have been following my blog, I have been trying to help Mrs M get her son K into a primary school. Today Mrs M was offered a school place for K at a primary school. Good news however the school is too far away from the school where her other child is going. If she takes one child to school then the other will be one hour late everyday and won’t be picked up on time. Mrs M is going to turn the place down with much regret. I have phoned the school where son J is, and K is either 1st or 2nd on the waiting list. I’ll be phoning again tomorrow.

6th July 2010

I am delighted that Mrs M’s son started his first day at school today in Year 1 after being out of school since October last year. Clearly there are not enough primary school places that there is no flexibility to allow 1 child into a class. Ideal class sizes are approximately 18 children however the schools in Enfield have 30 pupils per class and over subscribed. On a personal note I am so happy for Mrs M and her family.