Enfield school plans big after seeing its refurbishment proposals agreed

Enfield Independent: Principal Jerry Collins Principal Jerry Collins

A school's plans to demolish old buildings to make way for major expansion have been given the go-ahead.

Plans to demolish the old sixth form centre and the design and technology block to make way for three new two-storey buildings at the ARK John Keats Academy in Bell Lane, Enfield were approved by Enfield Borough Council's planning committee.

The school will welcome 180 more pupils this September as it gears up for an extensive refurbishment of its current site.

Principal Jerry Collins has laid down a strategy for the future of the school, which will be taking in 1,940 students at full capacity.

He said: “It is a lot of pupils but to have the ability to see pupils develop the whole way through out school is fantastic and we will be there every step of the way to give them the very best education that they fully deserve.”

Not only will the school take children from three years old to 19 but Mr Collins is keen to change many things about school days and his pupils' lives.

He said: “All the pupils have to eat at school there will be no packed lunches. We wanted to make sure all of the children eat together as a community or family dining. We wanted to make sure there was an opportunity for the teachers to talk to pupils at dinner time.

“All children will do a weekend diary and then talk about what they did over the weekend."

Not only have packed lunches been banned, but school days will be longer from Mondays to Thursdays to give pupils a better grounding.

Mr Collins added: “Pupils will be getting a really rigorous approach and will be doing about an hour and a half extra at school. It will start around 8.30am and finish at 4.30pm four days a week.

One afternoon will be compulsory enrichment to do with art, sports, and pupils will get to taste everything throughout the year.

“We want to raise the aspirations of children at the school and also set a standard of education which can rival that of private and prep schools in the UK.

“We believe that it doesn’t matter what background pupils come from, they can make rapid and substantial progress to be able to go to a top quality university and that is our aim.

The school currently has two reception classrooms built and the new secondary dining hall completed.

The plans are set to cost £18million and have been funded by the Education Funding Agency.

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