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TOPIC: Parents launch petition to save threatened primary school

Closure of Bowes Southgate Green primary school
02 Aug 2019 20:09 #4729

[Sue Younger is secretary of Fox Lane & District Residents Association (FLDRA) but is writing in a personal capacity.]

I just wanted to clarify that the proposed Grovelands Park site for a new primary school will not involve any encroachment onto the actual public park. The land consists of a separate piece of land which is accessed by the gates to the Priory hospital in Bourne Hill and there is a high fence between this land and the existing park. The site, which is separate from Grovelands House, is currently a wasteland of disused sports facilities and it has been reported by local police that it is frequently used by drug dealers and as a dumping ground for cars and general waste.

Originally this land was part of the Grovelands estate but it was annexed a long time ago when Grovelands House (Grade 1 listed) was used firstly as a military hospital in the first and second world wars and subsequently as an NHS hospital. In 1986 the House became part of the prestigious ‘Priory’ private hospital group. (One of its most notorious residents was General Pinochet who was temporarily placed there by Mrs Thatcher in 1998).

Quoting from Wikipedia:

In 2013 Enfield Council revealed several concepts to improve the park, including refurbishing existing sports facilities, opening up disused land owned by Thames Water, and the provision of a new primary school.

Enfield Council reassured residents that the park they currently have access to will not be built on or reduced in size. The council has stated that: "Options include locating the new school in the area near to existing tennis courts whilst restoring and extending the existing tennis provision which may involve an artificial turfed surface."

At FLDRA we are aware of the huge pressure on any existing piece of land close to a town centre or station for redevelopment as residential housing. Is Enfield Council under pressure to redevelop this Grovelands park site which is in a prime position close to Southgate station and town centre for housing?

If so, where is the primary school that the young children from the development will attend? All the schools are full up in the FLDRA area and I believe that West Grove school, on Chase Road, is the nearest school which may have places available. However, this is very close to the proposed new large site for the Southgate Village Office development so it is very unlikely that the school will have any spare places.

I sympathise with the Council in that they have no choice under the mayor’s London plan but to consider any small parcel of land for housing development but don’t forget the infrastructure that should accompany it.

Children aged 4 years old need 'local' schools and shouldn't be expected to travel long distances on buses and trains (or by private car which adds to air pollution in this congested traffic area). They will probably have a future of commuting at secondary school level so don’t make the start of these very young children’s schooling include a commute along the very busy North Circular road or Bourne Hill / Hedge Lane to a school in Edmonton where there happen to be vacancies.

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Bowes Southgate Green school: Cabinet member for children's services refutes claim about council policy
04 Aug 2019 22:28 #4732

I've now obtained a copy of the letter from David Burrowes that was mentioned [url=Bowes Southgate Green school: Cabinet member for children's services refutes claim about council policy]in an earlier post[/url] and have extracted the part relating to Bowes Southgate Green school.

Enfield Council has instructed Bowes Primary School NOT to take a reception class after September 2019 at the Bowes Southgate Green (Bowes — Wilmer Way) site.

This decision by the Labour Council means the end of the school — I am campaigning to reverse this decision.

Bowes Southgate Green is a successful and popular school, which OFSTED rates as 'outstanding'. The Council is trying to say that there is no need for a primary school In the area but GLA figures and Enfield Council's Strategy and Approach to Delivering Pupil Places suggest that the need for primary school places in the southwest of Enfield Is expected to grow significantly by 2022-23 and beyond. In our area, parents are not able to send their children to thelr local school, with too many having to travel across the borough.

This is not a new issue - there has long been recognition that the Southgate Green area has a problem when it comes to securing a local primary school place given the popularity of nearby schools and limited catchment. After a long campaign with residents the Labour Council in October 2015 confirmed the "need to continue developing existing proposals to deliver additional permanent primary school places in the South West area." Whilst the Council resolved to investigate the possibility of a new school at Grovelands (which has not been progressed), it also decided to make use of space at Broomfield School to provide additional primary school places on a temporary basis in advance of the permanent provision.

We must reverse the decision to no longer admit children in Reception to Bowes Southgate Green primary school after September 2019.

The expectation of existing parents at Bowes Southgate Green Primary Schoot and prospective new parents is that this school either at Broomfield School or nearby would become a permanent provision as promised by the Council.

As local parents say: "The decision to wind down BSG will split siblings across the two Bowes primary primary school sites and across the North Circular Road. The site at Bowes New Southgate is unable to accommodate existing children from Bowes Southgate Green due to current waiting list demands. This decision will decimate the school, and disadvantage remaining pupils who will be left in a ghost school as the school fades away. There are no other viable options for schools In the area."

In October 2015 the Council decided to look at "a longer term option and subject to further discussion with the school, consultation, feasibility and funding" of the "potential extra primary capacity through a school expansion to become an all-age (+2FE or +3FE at Broomfield)...to meet demand from 2018." Now - The Labour Council has reneged on its promises and let down local parents - by taking away future school places at Bowes Southgate Green Primary School and not offering any alternative permanent provision. Please go to change.org and search Save Bowes Southgate Green School and sign the petition.

Now with the plan to build more flats on Arnos Grove Station Car Park it also does not make sense to close our outstanding local primary school. Our area has already suffered from the Council not planning sufficiently for the impact of developments in the North Circular area on surrounding roads, local schools and healths services.

Below is the letter from Cllr Rick Jewell in which he states that David Burrowes' letter was inaccurate.

Dear Resident Date 28.July 2019

Bowes Southgate Green Primary School

It has come to our attention that you have recently received a communication from David Burrowes which contains inaccuracies regarding the situation at Bowes Southgate Green Primary School.

To clarify — Enfield Council has never instructed the Enfield Learning Trust (ELT) who are the Academy Trust responsible for Bowes Primary School not to take a reception class after September 2019. Enfield Council does not control admissions at Academies. Enfield Council has in fact agreed to fund any admissions to Southgate Green in the same way as any other reception class in the borough is funded.

The Council is also facilitating discussions between Broomfield School and ELT to try and secure a longer term lease on the site for the additional primary school places. Broomfield School and ELT have provisionally agreed an extension of the lease. Once this is formally agreed it will need approval from the Secretary of State for Education.

To be clear, Enfield Council as a local authority, does not have the power to either open or close an Academy Trust school. Furthermore, should any school or academy wish to change its designation or pupil admission number there is a formal process to be undertaken which would need to be approved by the Department of Education.

We will continue to work closely with the School and Academy Trust and hope to be able to facilitate s resolution shortly


Councillor Rick Jewell
Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Education and Protection

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Update on Bowes SG/primary school places situation
14 Aug 2019 20:32 #4748

The following update on the situation with primary school places, with especial reference to Bowes SG school, is taken, with kind permission, from the latest Fox Lane & District Residents Association newsletter

In late June parents of children (including those with children about to start school in September 2019) attending Bowes-Southgate Green Primary were informed by letter from the Enfield Learning Trust that they would not be taking any new pupils from September 2020. A campaign was started by parents, including creating an online petition ‘Save Bowes Southgate Green’, which has gathered over 1000 signatures to date (see below).

After meetings and various letters, including from government minister Lord Agnew following a letter from Bambos Charalambous MP, we have arrived at this position:

Pupil numbers: Clara Seery, Assistant Director Education at Enfield Council, has promised a full investigation into current and projected numbers in the South West Enfield area, by early September at latest and to be shared with parents. Best-available numbers are crucial to any argument to secure permanent local primary places because of the large investment involved.

Sites: Retention of a primary provision on the Broomfield School site involves a number of agencies negotiating a way forward – LB Enfield, Broomfield itself, which is a Foundation School so controls the site, and Enfield Learning Trust if the present arrangement continued or A N Other provider. Any agreement would need to fully meet the need of space for secondary pupils as their numbers grow. The other option is the Grovelands site, which FLDRA is attempting to clarify.

Money: Enfield Learning Trust (Bowes Primary School) decided not to offer places at Southgate Green in 2020 because of concerns connected with the lease of their part of the site (see above) and for financial reasons. This would be ‘lagged funding’, meaning that the new class would need to be funded from internal revenue resources in 2020-21, only receiving the normal per capita funding after a year in September 2021; this is the normal system for academies that increase their intake. Beyond the revenue costs, any new school would require major capital funding.

This issue will become urgent in September when Southgate Green either will or will not be offered to parents in Primary Admissions 2020.
Online petition, which has 1,000+ signatures: tinyurl.com/savebsg

Campaign page on Facebook: facebook.com/savebowessouthgategreen

Further background material can be found on our website .

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