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Pressure on primary school places rises after academy sees its plans for new build rejected
Pressure to find primary school places could now reach critical levels after fresh plans to build a new school were rejected.
Ashmole Academy, in Cecil Road, Southgate, had developed £5million plans to build a free primary school on its grounds, with pupils due to join from 2015.
But the plans have now been put on hold after an application for funding from the Department for Education (DfE) was rejected.
Headteacher Derrick Brown described the demand for primary school places in the south west of the borough as “desperate” and now says supply must come from elsewhere.
Gonul Daniels, chairman of South West Enfield Action Team (SWEAT), believes that families could be driven out of Southgate if calls for new places are not met.
She told the Enfield Independent: “We are bitterly disappointed by this news and it is another opportunity squandered to have more school places in Southgate.
“If there is a lack of school places in the area then Southgate will lose a lot of its families because they will have to move elsewhere.
“I have twins who are set to start school in September 2015, when Ashmole was set to open the new primary school. It is going to be very tough to find spaces in this area.”
Rated as one of the top ten state schools in March 2014, Mrs Daniels is bemused that funding was not granted to the academy.
She said: “The success of the academy means it would have been a perfect place to have a primary school.
“I hope they continue to push on and find new funding for this project.”
In a statement, Ashmole Academy said: “Ashmole Academy is disappointed to announce that it has been unsuccessful in its application to the Department for Education to create a free school primary school on its site. The academy fully understands how disappointing this will be to the many parents who wanted to send their primary school children to the school.
“This decision will leave for the local community a gap in primary school provision with the shortage of places continuing. The academy understands the DfE’s decision.
“It has many applications and can only approve a limited number of applications across the country. Ashmole Academy will continue in its efforts to provide improved primary school provision in the local community and will consider in the next few weeks whether to make another application later in the year.”
Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes, who joined planners last year to support the scheme, told the Enfield Independent of his disappointment.
He said: “I am deeply disappointed, surprised and shocked by the decision not to grant Ashmole Academy funding to build a new primary school.
“This is an area with desperate need for primary school places and I believe the Government has a lot to answer for after this verdict.
“This puts the ball back in the court of Enfield Borough Council, which must look for more areas to build primary schools. The academy has worked incredibly hard to supply an area crying out for primary school spaces.”
Enfield Council’s cabinet member for education, children’s services and protection, Councillor Ayfer Orhan, has allayed fears that there will be a shortage of school places.
She said: “Enfield Council has had long established plans to meet the need for more primary school places in the south west area. We will open a new reception class under the management of the Bowes Learning Alliance, which has an excellent reputation.
“Bowes Primary School in N11 is rated outstanding by Ofsted and its management team will oversee this additional reception class to meet demand for reception places in the area from September 2014."
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