Oct 05 2014

Consultation to Expand Welldon Park Schools

school_expansionThe Council has launched a consultation to expand both Welldon Park Infant and Welldon Park Junior schools to three-form entry, thus increasing the number of children at each school by 120 each over the next few years.

It says, “In common with many local authorities, Harrow must create more primary school places to meet the growing demand by Harrow residents. Harrow has a Primary School Expansion Programme that is creating sufficient permanent additional school places to meet the increasing demand. As part of that programme, Welldon Park Infant and Junior Schools are well located to help meet the increase in demand for school places in the South West Primary Planning Area. As a result, it is proposed for expansion to become a three form of entry school (90 pupils per year, 630 pupils in total). The expansion would be effective from September 2015.”

This is a bad move for a number of reasons:

  • Traffic in and around the school currently is dangerously high. Both schools are in high-density residential areas, with little or no space to stop or drop off children. Already, one of the school has been forced to write to parents setting out the dangers of stopping and parking on yellow zig-zags outside the school. Parents already park on double yellow lines.
  • There is no indication as to what this expansion might mean for neighbouring residents: we’ve seen the Council’s total disregard for neighbours on previous expansion plans, such as Vaughan, which will result in a loss of mature trees, and a two-storey building a few feet away from the end of peoples’ gardens.
  • Both schools are already at capacity, in terms of hall space – adding 50% more children to a school assembly isn’t possible, and divisive splitting into groups would have to be considered for assemblies, for example.

But it’s more than just adding on an extra classroom or two: back office workload would increase; reception desk traffic would increase; demand for school libraries and ICT facilities would increase; demand for music lessons and after school clubs would increase.

And could we be assured of a build fit for education? Possibly not. Marlborough School, which is undergoing a much-needed rebuild, opened a week late in a temporary home in the Civic Centre, with a playground unfit for use. And then, a week after that, we hear that parents are upset at the traffic issues, exhaust fumes, poor drainage, overcrowding and so on – and that’s a school in absent Council Leader Dave Perry’s ward. What on earth will the council try to get away with in a deprived part of South Harrow?

Children in Harrow deserve good quality education, in buildings fit for purpose. Bulking out existing schools is only a temporary answer, and at some point, we – as a community – are going to have to take it on the chin and start building new schools, or finding more inventive ways to address the problem. But at the moment, it’s a never-end problem. Build more houses, you need more school places. Build more school places, and more people want to move here. Build more houses for those people…

Residents in and around the two schools above are advised to voice their opposition to the plan. There’s no other way to get the message across that continually expanding schools isn’t the answer.

You can respond by going to Harrow’s consultation portal here.

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  1. Timeforchange

    From bitter experience it’s already a done deal and totally irrelevant what valid objections residents may put forward. It will be agreed come what may like all the others.

    We should stop these botched expansions and build more primary schools in Harrow and quickly

  2. Mike N

    We all have to expect and put up with school expansion programs within residential areas. Schools, like A & E departments, doctors surgeries and any other services that people use, have to grow to cope with the ever expanding population of the UK.
    We can put the start to this down to one thing……..Tony Blairs open doors policy!

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