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Stay in a three form-entry intake : Deansbrook Infant and Junior Schools Petition

(15 Posts)
murniati Sun 19-Jul-09 03:19:45

Deansbrook Infant School is one of five schools in Barnet instructed by the Local Education Authority to take a fourth Reception class this September 2009 due to shortage in primary school.

The school was given only two weeks' notice to prepare for the new class. While there is no spare classroom, parents are not being consulted at all about such a drastic measure.

Furthermore, the ICT suite is going to be ripped out to make way for it. This move has been causing some anger and upset among parents who are still reeling in shock from the news knowing how their children love embracing a variety of technology therein. In fact, a podcast created by Year 1 class entitled "The troll and the three bears" was where they worked together to create and recorded a story of their own. It demonstrates their passion towards technology whereby feeling pride towards their astounding teamwork. Yet, it was soon replaced with disbelief and disappointment on realising that they will no longer see it after they come back on 7th September 2009. How is Barnet's LEA taking away something that is of much importance and an integral part to their learning?

The plan will go ahead regardless parents' huge concerns towards their children's welfare at school. Nevertheless, an opportunity to express opposition is already underway through a petition saying "No" to an extra class at the school.

If your children go to Deansbrook Infant or Junior or has been offered a Reception place by May 2009 and disagree with it, please sign in the petition at www.ipetitions/petition/notoextraclassatdeansbrook.

If you know any parents in Deansbrook and believe in the cause, please kindly spread the word about it.

EachPeachPearMum Sun 19-Jul-09 04:21:46

I find it astonishing that the LEA would compel a school to take an extra class when there is no physical space to do so. shock

However, if there are no places anywhere in the borough, where do the extra children go? I presume there is no physical space in a London authority to build a new school... what if it were your child without a place? I understand there are still almost 50 children in Barnet without a place even with the extra classes. And they have more than 2 weeks... school does not restart until September.

Why is Deansbrook not using a 'mobile classroom' though, as the other schools in this situation are? Sounds as though they are trying to get out of taking extra children with this threat of removing the IT suite. FWIW- I know plenty of schools with no space for a dedicated IT suite- they use a mobile suite, and some still manage to have an outstanding ofsted rating, as Deansbrook does... which I am sure has more than a little to do with the anger and upset felt by parents!

Finally, I am not sure why parents would be consulted on the issue- the size of a school is not the concern of parents- if you wanted a small school for your child, you choose a one-form intake school, if you've already chosen a large school, 4 forms is not that much different to 3. 4 form intake primaries are unusual, but they exist- and LEA has to respond to demand for places somehow, even if it needs short-term measures such as these.

EachPeachPearMum Sun 19-Jul-09 04:27:21

Also, unless you are a namechanger (which you don't state) I find it a little galling that you join our forum just to drum up support for your campaign, which as far as I can see is more about maintaining the cachet of your school rather than ensuring a high quality education for all children in Barnet.

If you have concerns about the number of places available in your authority, you should to be taking that up with the authority and the DCSF.

EachPeachPearMum Sun 19-Jul-09 04:31:18

You may be interested to see that another Outstanding rated school in your authority is actually embracing the issue in a far more inclusive way... here

nooka Sun 19-Jul-09 05:02:41

This is something that schools and LEAs should communicate better about, but cannot really consult on, as the places have to be found, and it will be an LEA decision in consultation with headteachers/governors. It seems highly unlikely that the school was not involved in discussions about the issue of rising numbers, probably for many months, possibly for years (demography usually following trends that are plotted by local authorities). We had the opposite decision made fairly recently, with our school dropping down to single form entry and half the school being converted to a Children's Centre. Parents were informed at the end of term about the changes being made over the holidays, but it wasn't a surprise as numbers had been falling in the area for several yeasr (they probably should have closed a couple of schools a few years back).

RustyBear Sun 19-Jul-09 08:04:36

I suggest you harness your support to campaigning for the LA to fund the purchase of a few classroom sets of laptops on charging trollies - this is the path a lot of schools are taking now, and it allows a lot more flexibility in timetabling IT lessons and in the use of IT in other lessons.

petelly Sun 19-Jul-09 13:50:27

I agree with the sentiments expressed here.

While it may be inconvenient for your school to accept an additional class, it is far more inconvenient for children to be without a school place.

As someone who is struggling to find a place for Year 1 for my dd in Barnet (with Deansbrook actually being the nearest school to me), I fully support Barnet's actions as a responsible LEA responding to a crisis situation (you may legitimately question why it has come to be a crisis, some factors may be unforeseen but others could easily have been predicted) and only hope similar actions may be taken to ease the pressure on Year 1 as well.

Deansbrook isn't the only school accepting another class at short notice. Additional classes are being added at Colindale, Moss Hall, Tudor, St Catherines and Danegrove.
As someone else suggested, if you're unhappy at the ICT suite being used, then get in touch with those schools and see how they're accommodating the additional children, then suggest alternatives to the school. That would be far more positive and productive than simply campaigning against the school accepting another class which doesn't provide a solution for the children without a school place. NIMBYism isn't always the best way.

hocuspontas Sun 19-Jul-09 13:56:57

As it is a 'bulge' year by the sound of it, I agree that a mobile classroom is the answer unless space is really tight.

A permanent extra class requires permission, consultation etc and will need a new classroom to be added each year for the next 5 years. A major undertaking!

MammyT Sun 19-Jul-09 21:33:18

I live in Barnet and have young children who will be entering school in 2010.

The fact is that there are too few schools in the area for the population. I'm unsure what exactly you propose the LEA do for children who haven't got a place for 2009 and must be going through a lot of uncertainty. They have chosen the strong schools who can absorb the extra children.

I understand that losing an ICT suite is not ideal but it's very short notice. In other schools, they have laptops that travel to the classrooms. Maybe this is being proposed instead?

To the original poster, where would YOU like to see the children who haven't got places GO in 6 weeks?

murniati Sun 19-Jul-09 21:48:40

First and foremost, I do understand a shortage of place this year and it is certainly a nice surprise for parents who weren't accepted to be offered a place by the LEA. Congratulations.

Nonetheless, my "drumming up" support here due to the council's bad planning with regard to the issue. Haven't they noticed the rising birthrate in the last six years? The number of families with children aged between 3 and 4 year old? Furthermore, is there any feasibility study and timeline to increase the number of class in some schools as the result of this? (Bear in mind that some "late" offers have gone to parents who has got schools on their second and third choices).

Having said that, if you know Deansbrook, there is no space either to install a mobile classroom or to build a new one. This is not the case in Moss Hall and Colindale schools where LEA puts a mobile classroom in MH and C will be rebuilt this summer (so there will be new classrooms to cater 30 additional pupils). On the contrary, Deansbrook's playground is already crowded and one dining hall is barely able to accommodate existing pupils.

What I particularly object is the timing. If the school would have been given sufficient time to prepare for the organisation change, say for January 2010, it would not have been such a huge concern for us parents.

By the same token, last Thursday I attended the presentation of a podcast in my son's Year 1 class. I saw little faces brimming with pride listening to the story they created and beaming showing their parents afterwards their astounding writing on the story. What a teamwork.On going out of the class, my heart sank to realise that it will no longer be there when he comes back this September. No matter then.

On the whole, I realise nothing will change yet making my voice heard matters.

Btw, I never change my nickname(it's my name, no pretending). I only comment a thread if really necessary - yes, I'm simply an observer all this time- and I strongly believe that such a last minute measure is unjust to a good school in the long term.

katiestar Mon 20-Jul-09 14:22:17

What would be the alternative for the children, if your school wasn't being forced to take a fourth class ?

thegrammerpolice Mon 20-Jul-09 16:57:56

There are some occasions where, for the greater good, you have to swallow a bit of inconvenience or disappointment.

Tens of children with no school place at all is far worse than losing the IT suite which can be replaced with a mobile one.

I agree Barnet could have foreseen this better BUT to start a petition is unreasonable in the circumstances imho.

petelly Mon 20-Jul-09 21:12:58


But you're still not proposing a solution.

Barnet, along with other London boroughs, has messed up, big time. OK, can't blame them for the recession which led to less kids in the private sector and less young families selling up and leaving London but doing a pop projection for 4-5 years into the future is not rocket science and they should have left themselves excess capacity for the margin of error. I agree with you there.

However, that doesn't fix the problem NOW. What is your alternative solution? I can tell you that the Edgware area is particularly badly affected - you can't expect young children to travel miles and miles to go to school.

You can't just say "No, we don't want another class" but you need to provide an alternative solution for those 30 children in the area.

I'm sure there was good reason why Deansbrook was chosen and I'm sure extra resources were provided as well. Your son will not be deprived of ICT - there are plenty of alternative ways of teaching ICT than just in a dedicated ICT suite. Check with the school and see what they're planning on doing.

I hope you can channel your energies and dedication to the school in a way that will positively benefit everyone.

murniati Wed 22-Jul-09 22:43:50

The council's solution to the shortage of place has been decided, which is obviously different than mine. Personally, a good solution comes from a meticulous planning from a visionary leader. Therefore my solution is irrelevant in this case as I ain't no politician but a parent whose daughter is supposed to start in Deansbrook in September 2010.

It seems to me the staff still reels in shock from the impending "organisation change". I suppose the loss of ICT suite is an immediate effect to pupils, while other consequences will be dealt with by the staff in need-to-know basis. Furthermore, according to LEA, the extra class is a temporary measure. What is it supposed to mean? What will happen in 2010, 2011, 2012...(education should continue for those children for the next six years). It's certainly unsettling as far as I'm concerned.

To thegrammerpolice, the school encourages parents to write individual letters to LEA. Nonetheless, there are some parents who will not be able to express themselves in writing. The petition in a way is easier, channels their views, and goes together with an individual letter.

I'm moving on.

MammyT Thu 23-Jul-09 20:36:51

You might say that Barnet LEA have screwed up, and god knows I have no time for the council at all, BUT the fact is that there has always been a large number of kids in Barnet who have attended private schools and anecdotal evidence is that this is dropping rapidly with the current economic problems. On my street alone, I know of two families sending a child to a state schools unexpectedly, including one whose other two go privately.

I can't see that Barnet had any other choice and I salute the attitute of St Catherine's.

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