Frequently asked questions about our new school
Who will be the headteacher?
Gavin Smith will be the Executive Principal
Gavin has worked at Wren Academy in Finchley since 2008 and is the founding Principal of that school, which recently went from a secondary school to an all through school.
The new school’s Principal will be appointed about a year before the school opens.
Will the school have a specialism?
The school’s curriculum will focus on academic subjects and it is expected that most students will achieve the EBacc (English Baccalaureate) standard.
The question of a specialism is currently being discussed by our Reference Group of local stakeholders. Several suggestions have been made. However, academies are no longer required to have a specialism.
Will the sixth form be ‘A‘ levels and academic or more job relevant skills?
We are discussing the curriculum with parents and teachers on our reference group. We believe that the demand locally is for an academic curriculum up to and including A Levels. There will, however, be some vocational courses provided for those students who show a particular aptitude.
If my child was in the first intake to the school, so there would be no older children do you have any data/knowledge on if this is positive or negative for their education/development?
We have recent experience of the first ever Year 7 intake in a brand new school at Wren Academy in Barnet.
In any outstanding school, Year 7 students should receive an excellent learning and social experience. In a brand new school, it is not so much that the experience is better - more that it is unusual and gives rise to opportunities which children in most schools do not have.
The first Year 7 cohort in a brand new school is a privileged group. They receive the dedicated attention of teachers whose sole aim is to provide them with the very best learning experiences. Teachers' attention is not diverted by the demands of exam classes and the like. Lessons are scrupulously planned and the school is likely to be extremely well resourced. The new school wants to make an impact so there will be plentiful trips, visitors and extra curricular activities. Chances to develop leadership skills are extensive. In a new school Year 7 children are given opportunities they would not have elsewhere. In short, children in a new school's first cohort are likely to be confident, they are given high levels of responsibility and they are likely to feel themselves special, in a good way.
There are challenges. Because of their unusual position, some children may feel a little too 'special' with a possible danger of becoming slightly arrogant as 'first ever students'. At Wren in Barnet this potential danger was challenged through the school's ethos of service and through the establishment of mixed age tutor groups from Year 2 of the school's life. This split up the first Year 7 and made them responsible for looking after younger children. The second potential difficulty is the first year group's lack of exposure to older children particularly at key times such as preparing for examinations. To combat this, we will provide regular and structured contact with students at Wren Academy in Barnet.
Overall, we have found the experience of the first ever cohort to be a very positive one.
Is there not a need for a primary school too?
No additional primary school places are planned. Enfield’s places planning data suggests that there will sufficient places in local primary schools for the foreseeable future.
What will the design of the school be like?
An outline design of what the new school will look like will be included in the planning application but this is indicative only. A detailed design will be agreed with the contractor after permission has been granted.
Will the school be ready for September 2019?
As with many other free schools the school may open initially in temporary accommodation. This allows more time for planning permission to be granted, the design process to be finished and the school construction to take place.
Do you know where the temporary accommodation will be?
it is the role of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), now working with LocatED, to find the school a site, both temporary and permanent. We will continue to work closely with them.