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bowes southgate green schoolParents are petitioning Enfield Council and the Department for Education in a bid to persuade the council to reverse its decision to instruct Bowes Primary School to cease taking any further reception pupils at its Wilmer Way site (Bowes School Southgate Green) following the September 2019 cohort.

The primary school in Wilmer Way, co-located with Broomfield School (a secondary school), consists technically of "bulge classes" and is an offshoot of the older and larger Bowes School in Bowes Road (now referred to as Bowes School New Southgate).  The council has been funding it since it was set up six years ago.  The council's original intention was for the Wilmer Way primary school to be a stop-gap solution pending opening of a new primary school at their preferred location in The Bourne, on land adjacent to Grovelands Park, but so far there is no indication when, if ever, this school will open.

The online petition was begun about a week ago and has already gathered more than 900 "signatures".  The organisers take issue with the council's apparent view that there is no shortage of primary school places in the south west of the borough.  This is also the view of the committee of Fox Lane & District Residents' Association, which recently published a briefing with the title Primary school places: Confusion and disaster. 

The petitioners say that there has been no consultation and that Bowes Southgate Green is a "successful and diverse school with a lively and engaged community and happy, thriving children", rated by Ofsted as "outstanding".  They argue that

The decision to wind down BSG will split siblings across the two Bowes primary school sites and across the North Circular. 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.

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PGC Webmaster posted a reply #4693 14 Jul 2019 01:43
Councillor Daniel Anderson published the following update on the Enfield Voices Facebook page on 11th July (note: Enfield Learning Trust is the name of the organisation that now runs both Bowes Primary School sites)

I have received a response back from Children’s Services to concerns about this issue.

The response is as follows:

Background

In 2014 Bowes Primary School were asked to establish a temporary 1FE primary school at Broomfield School to meet the rising demand for reception places in the south west of the borough. At that time the Council were continuing to progress plans to establish a school at Grovelands Park (2FE) which was viewed as the long-term solution to the need for places in the area. However, this option is no longer viable given central government policy on new schools (only allowing Free Schools or Academies).

Initially established as 1FE Bowes Southgate Green was extended to 2FE for couple of years although this was capped at 1FE for September 2018. SCS has invested significant funds in capital works to adapt parts of the building for Primary use and access arrangements.

Broomfield School (a foundation school) were amenable to the use of part of their school as they had been experiencing falling rolls for a number of years and the additional income generated would assist with their budget deficit. Broomfield have agreed, in principle to a 7-year lease from September 2018 to allow all pupils to see out their primary education at the Bowes Southgate Green.

At a parents meeting held at the end of the 2017/18 academic year it was explained that there would be an annual review of the need for both primary and secondary places in the area and provision on the Broomfield School campus. Enfield Learning Trust (ELT) agreed to have one admissions process for Bowes and Bowes Southgate Green which will ensure that the siblings of both sites will be treated the same within the admissions criteria (subject to DfE approval). The Southgate Green Site was always designed as a temporary school.

Current Position

There seems to have been some misunderstanding in relation to the funding. The Local Authority will fund places at the school if Enfield Learning Trust wish to admit pupils. This funding will be the same as funding allocated to pupils in any school within the Local Authority.

Based on 2019 primary admissions there are surplus primary places in the Borough, including places in the local area. This information indicates that there is not the need for a reception class in 2020, as a result there will be no additional “bulge” funding for the school, this means that the school is funded on a per pupil basis’s rather than guaranteeing the funding for 30 pupils.

Lease arrangements have not been finalised as approval from the DfE has been sought and both schools await the DfE response. It is our understanding that ELT wish to have clarification of the position prior to committing to confirming their admissions criteria.

Senior Officers from the Education team have agreed to meet with parents on Thursday the 18th July, to clarify the issues related to a Reception Class at Bowes Southgate Green in September 2020.

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