“Free” schools in Harrow

June 24, 2014

As you may know, the Government is encouraging parents and local groups to submit proposals for new “free” schools, where they believe there is unmet demand. Harrow faces a significant shortage of school places because of demographic changes.  Over the last few months, I have met with a number of groups wanting to create new schools in Harrow and I have been impressed by their commitment. I would be interested in any comments that residents have. I have written a quick summery below:

Harrow Bilingual Primary School

The Harrow Bilingual Primary School is a Free Church of England Primary School which will offer bilingual education, accepting students into Reception to Year 1. It is planned to open in September 2015. The bid has been proposed by a teacher and parent group supported by the London diocesan Board for Schools which has an excellent reputation for setting-up and maintaining over 150 good and outstanding schools in London. The groups is led by Daniel Norris, Head Teacher of Holy Trinity Northwood and it is intended that the two schools will work in close partnership with each other. The proposed school will be open to children of all faiths.

The school offers the additional language of French and the curriculum will be taught equally in English and the additional language with separate literacy lessons for each language. Teachers will work together to cover every other curriculum subject. The school’s Executive Head Teacher is currently Headmaster at a ‘well established, local, successful and oversubscribed’ Church of England primary school. These schools will work closely together.

The Harrow Bilingual Primary School received backing from the New Schools Network, a charity which supports school proposals which are credible and support the needs of the local community.

The exact location is yet to be confirmed and will not be until the application is successful although the Education Funding Authority are considering locations across the borough including within the Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner constituency.

Pinner Church of England Free School

The Pinner Church of England Free School is comprehensive free school for 11 to 18 year olds, planned to open in September 2015 and founded on Christian principles. The school intends to admit 1200 students with 180 Year 7 places in September 2015, growing to full size by 2021. 50% of the places are to be reserved for local families, 50% are intended for families of any faith (with a 25% Christian intake; 75% any faith intake).

The proposed site for this school is Heathfield School (Beaulieu Drive, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 1NB). However, the school is happy to locate anywhere the government can provide a site as long as it is near Bishop Ramsey School (Hume Way, Ruislip). If established on the Heathfield site, it will share post 16 provision with the Bishop Ramsay School.

The Bishop Ramsay Church of England School and the London Diocesan Board for Schools are working together on this project. Mr Andrew Wilcock (current Head of Bishop Ramsey High School) will be the Executive Head teacher for both schools with two Heads of School working under him. The bid has been submitted to the Department for Education.

Pinner High School

The Pinner High School will accept students from ages 11 to 18 and is planned to open in September 2016. There will be 180 Year 7 places each year as well as an onsite Sixth Form, forming part of the Harrow Sixth Form Collegiate. Children of all faiths and none will be admitted with priority given to local children and siblings from the second year of being open. The school will also support 12 pupils on the autistic spectrum.

Ten local high schools in Harrow are working together on this project. Seven of these schools are rated ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED and include: Bentley Wood High School, Canons High School, Harrow High School, Hatch End High School, Nower Hill High School, Park High School, Rooks Heath College, Sacred Heart Language College, Salvatorian College and Whitmore High School. Integration with other local high schools will enable Pinner High School to benefit from their staff development programmes and staff will be shared in the first few years.

The proposed site for the school is Heathfield School (Beaulieu Drive, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 1NB) which is due to relocate in September 2014. The application has been submitted to the Department for Education.