PAXTON: “NO FUNDING FOR NEW SECONDARY SCHOOL UNLESS SOLUTION FOUND”
Funding for a new Gipsy Hill secondary school based in Clapham will NOT be granted at the present time.
The latest twist comes in a ’round-robin’ email this morning (Friday) from Paxton Matters, a parent and community led campaign group set up to fight plans to put a two year entry of secondary school pupils into the Paxton primary school, Woodland Road.
Paxton Matters say the EFA (Education Funding Agency) have decided the Gipsy Hill Federation’s assumption that the school’s proposed site – the former Glenbrook primary school in Clarence Avenue, Clapham – would be finished and ready for occupation in two years is too high-risk.
“Which is, of course, what we have been saying all along!” they add.
“As a result, they will not grant funding for Gipsy Hill school unless a solution is found for three years of interim use.
“Paxton can only accommodate the school for two years, so now the EFA and the Federation are in a mad rush to find an alternative, although Paxton, unfortunately, remains on the table.”
Paxton Matters say one option is to forgo Paxton for another site in Chapel Road, West Norwood, which could accommodate Gipsy Hill school for three years from 2017 and would be everyone’s ideal solution.
“Unfortunately, for various reasons, it looks impossible at this point, although we will continue to apply political pressure as much as we can. “If you are interested in helping us out with this by writing a letter to Lambeth council, please let us know.
“Another option would be to build temporary structures on the Glenbrook site from the start of the construction programme, which would accommodate the secondary school from 2018 or 2019.
“Gipsy Hill school would still be at Paxton in 2017, but it could potentially be restricted to one year, or at the very least, we would know for sure the students would have somewhere to go after year 2.
“This plan is currently being considered by the EFA (it will come down to technical decisions related to the site’s capacity), and a decision will be made next week about whether or not this is possible.
“We want to assure you that we continue to oppose Paxton as an interim site based on our original objections, and we have made that clear to the Federation.
“They are currently taking on board our thoughts and those of everyone who has filled in and attended the consultation.
“We have agreed with the Federation that if Paxton goes ahead as an interim site, we will be working closely with them to continue to chip away at the risks and hold them accountable to their promises.”
The Paxton Matters email follows a meeting between representatives of Paxton Matters and Gipsy Hill school held on Wednesday evening.everal of us met with Gipsy Hill School reps on Wednesday evening.
“Decision on temporary site as soon as possible” – Department for Education
In a separate letter to a local resident, the Department for Education say the opening of the Clapham-based Gipsy Hill secondary school could be deferred if a suitable site is not found.
In their letter the DfE say the EFA’s assessment of the Paxton primary school site is that if it was to be used, it could accommodate Gipsy Hill secondary school for a maximum of two years whilst the primary school’s intake grows year on year.
“No work on how, in practice, the two schools could share the site ensuring the safety of all pupils has been carried out yet – it is still at this stage just a potential option.
“As the construction programme for the proposed permanent site (Clarence Avenue, Lambeth) is expected to take three years, this raises the concern about the ability to provide continuity for the school whilst the permanent site is built.
“The EFA is therefore continuing to search for an alternative temporary site for the secondary. “This is proving challenging.
“If a suitable site is not found the EFA and the Federation may consider deferring the opening of the school. “No decision has been taken on this.
“The EFA carefully considers any proposal to use a site, particularly a temporary site, to ensure we are able to provide a suitable location for the school.
“The decision to open the school on a temporary site will be made as soon as possible and will be communicated by the Gipsy Hill Federation.”
Interim site consultation: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ZGWRHWB by 24 December 2016.
Further reading: Clapham Park Neighbourhood Forum News – Proposed New Secondary School at Glenbrook November 6, 2016