Alice Hudson's Blog
Welcome to my blog. This is the place to come to find out the very latest on progress with the North Twyford CofE High School project.
16th August 2017
There is positive progress to report on the acquisition of the new site, which gives the Trust considerable confidence that plans for the new school are secure.
However, it is frustrating that timescales are still not sufficiently well advanced for the school to be launched in 2018 as planned. As a consequence we will not be holding any open evenings or participating in the PAN-London common application process for 2018 entry.
The recent decision to defer to opening in September 2019 has been taken with regret by the Trust – however this position will enable us to deliver better the standard of school promised to the local community.
It is hoped that by deferring we can ensure that the first group of students at North Twyford will face less time in temporary accommodation as some of the school building under construction will be made available in parallel, as was the case when the Trust set up William Perkin CofE High School in 2013.
15th May 2017
The recent announcement regarding the Directors responding positively to an approach from Ealing Fields High School to explore in detail the possibility of them joining the Twyford Academies Trust family has raised some questions regarding our position on North Twyford CofE High School.
I want to reassure you that Ealing Council’s May 2016 Planning for Schools DPD (Development Plan Document) highlighted the need for 16.5 FE secondary schools development to meet the need for school places in the Ealing/Acton part of the borough of which Ealing Fields constitutes 4FE, North Twyford CofE High School 6.5 FE and the Ark Soane Ealing (now due to open in 2019) providing the remaining 6FE.
Therefore welcoming Ealing Fields into the Twyford family doesn’t have any implication for our already advanced plans to open North Twyford CofE School in September 2018 as there is a definite need for both Ealing Fields and North Twyford CofE High Schools in the borough.
In fact our support and co-operation for Ealing Fields is being seen very favourably by both Ealing Council and the ESFA who are both committed to seeing the North Twyford CofE High School project through to fruition.
In addition there will be no impact on the admissions criteria for North Twyford CofE High School which has already been published for September 2018 intake.
We continue to make progress on North Twyford CofE School with regard to securing the permanent site and temporary site options as detailed at our last reference group meeting and on my blog post of 10th May 2017.
We are confident that we have the resources and experience within the MAT to successfully deliver both permanent site developments and high performing schools concurrently.
Ealing Fields will operate as another school within the Trust taking the total number of schools within the MAT to four once North Twyford CofE School is also open. Whilst we had not anticipated this additional expansion, it is within the original vision of support for the local educational community which the Trust committed to from the outset.
This approach from Ealing Fields is a strong endorsement of the standards and values which both Twyford and William Perkin schools represent and which enabled our bid to open North Twyford CofE High School to be approved by the Department of Education.
10th May 2017
As promised in my last blog post, here is a further update on progress being made towards opening the new school.
Negotiations are still ongoing for securing the site and discussions between the ESFA (the new single funding agency for education and skills within the Department for Education) and the landowner continue.
Meanwhile, at the Cabinet Meeting of Ealing Council held on 25 th April 2017 it was approved to delegate authority to make a CPO (compulsory purchase order) to secure the acquisition of part of the former Barclays Bank Sports Ground, Park View Road W5.
This will ensure that, in the event of the ESFA being unable to secure the site for North Twyford CofE High School by agreement with the owners within the relevant timescales, Ealing Council can still obtain the site. Officers were satisfied that there is a compelling case for a CPO in the public interest, the Council has clearly set how it intends to use the land and the necessary resources are available to acquire and redevelop the site to provide a new school.
The CPO covers an area slightly larger than that designated for educational use under Ealing Council’s May 2016 Planning for Schools DPD (Development Plan Document) following a full assessment of the area requirements and massing for a 6.5 FE school in line with minimum area required under DfE space standards.
We are very grateful for the Schools Planning and Resources team and cross-party support within Ealing Council for this CPO and their understanding of the need for additional secondary school places from 2018, particularly in the Acton/Ealing areas.
We are hopeful that progress on the permanent site will enable the ESFA to sign a funding agreement by the end of the year or maybe even sooner, so that we can open the school in temporary accommodation for 2018. Together with Ealing Council we are reviewing arrangements and they are carrying out feasibility studies for different site options.
The North Twyford reference group met last week and we were delighted to welcome some new members as parent representatives from a number of local primary schools. Cllr Greg Stafford also attended and gave a view from local residents in Hanger Hill ward.
The next formal reporting point is July 10th. This will enable us to assess whether we can go ahead with applications for September 2018 entry as part of the Pan-London process or, as we did for 2017 entry as an additional, separate admissions procedure. We will update you again at that point or earlier if we have more news to share.
14th February 2017
An update from the first of three reporting points which we are using to ensure there is a positive outcome for the local community in relation to the new school.
We are glad to be able to report progress on the outline design for the new school which confirms its feasibility on the part of the site now designated under the schools DPD for educational use.
We look forward to the start of the pre-application process for planning which should take effect soon.
The next formal reporting points which we have agreed with the local authority and Department for Education are April 27th and July 10th. These have been set with a view to ensuring the school can move forward with minimal uncertainty for parents and be included within the pan-London process for admissions if at all possible.
Meanwhile we are in the process of reviewing our temporary accommodation arrangements for 2018 entry with Ealing Council and are very grateful for their support of the Trust to ensure that sufficient places will be provided for pupils transferring to secondary school in September.
We hold regular catch up meetings with our reference group, which meets quarterly, comprised of parents from local primary schools, London Diocesan Board of Schools representatives, local councillors and Twyford CofE Academies Trust members.
9th December 2016
North Twyford CofE High School Opening Deferred
Unfortunately, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) has not accepted the case for opening North Twyford CofE High School in temporary accommodation in September 2017 as hoped.
The EFA assessed the case carefully but given that the acquisition and planning of the permanent site had not been secured decided that in the interest of parents and pupils it would be unwise to open the school in temporary accommodation in 2017.
Whilst the Local Authority (LA) have indicated that there was much interest locally for the new school from parents, it wanted to reassure parents that there are sufficient places available in existing local schools to cater for those joining year 7 in September 2017.
The EFA, LA and the Trust remain wholly committed to the new school and will continue to work together to ensure that negotiations over the preferred site and arrangements for interim temporary accommodation move forward to meet the timescales required for a 2018 opening.
Dame Alice Hudson, Executive Headteacher said “We have worked really hard to try and get this project off the ground in time for September 2017 entry and are no less determined to ensure we get the school open to meet what is now a very pressing need in 2018. I am very grateful for the backing of Ealing Council to make this a reality.”
Councillor Binda Rai, Ealing Council Cabinet member for Children and Young People added: “We recognise the contribution made by Twyford to the Ealing family of schools. I firmly believe that the community is best served by Twyford, the Council and the Education Funding Agency, all working together to achieve our shared goal of meeting the significant increase in demand for school places in Ealing from 2018 and beyond.”
Chair of Trustees Andrew Bickley commented “We have been very encouraged by the support from the local community in moving this project forward and it is this which gives us confidence that these short term barriers will be overcome.”
Over 330 parents had applied for the initial 125 places at North Twyford in September 2017. However parents have been aware that a final decision would be taken at the meeting of Twyford Church of England Academies trustees on 7th December 2016 so that parents and neighbouring schools were given sufficient time to make any necessary arrangements if approval to go ahead from the EFA was not received.
All prospective pupils received notification of the situation yesterday. The applications process was outside the Pan-London scheme so all applicants still have their full six choices of school.
15th November 2016
We have seen an enormous level of support for the new school among local families. Indeed by the closing date of 31st October we had registered almost 350 applicants for 125 places for Year 7 entry in 2017 largely from W5 and two adjacent postcodes.
Recently we submitted a full business plan to the EFA at their request and have asked for our case to be treated as one of exceptional circumstance given the pressing demand for secondary school places locally. In this respect we are immensely grateful for the support of Councillor Binda Rai and the schools planning team at Ealing Council and to our local MP Dr Rupa Huq for actively engaging on our behalf to ensure the matter comes to the attention of the Department for Education.
Beyond this behind the scenes Twyford Academies Trust has been working hard with numerous meetings and negotiations with stakeholders about the future of this project. Nevertheless we, along with these hopeful prospective parents for North Twyford CofE School, have to wait to see if our plan to start at William Perkin CofE School next September before moving to the permanent site in 2019 can become a reality.
As we mentioned at the parents briefings and open evenings in October, a final decision on 2017 opening will be taken next month and all those who have applied to North Twyford CofE School will be informed accordingly.
19th October 2016
A number of parents have asked us what they can do to help North Twyford CofE School become a reality. We have therefore prepared a few points for those who would like to take matters further with elected representatives at both local and national level.
Need for a new school
- Ealing council has a statutory duty to ensure that there are sufficient school places in the borough.
- There is a need to deliver additional secondary school places to accommodate an increase in demand, shown by the rising birth rate and school roll projections.
- Secondary school place shortfall is 19 form entry (FE) by Sept 2019 (need of 23 FE minus 4 FE planned provision).
- In the east of the Borough (Acton, Ealing and Hanwell) lack of capacity in existing secondary school infrastructure is allied to those parts of the Borough where demand for secondary school places is both highest (numerically) and soonest (in terms of the demographic profiling).
- A new school is the only way to help meet the identified shortfall.
- Ealing Council already identified site as part of their DPD in May 2016. The Government needs the site to be secured by December 7th 2016 for Twyford CofE Academy Trust to be able to take September 2017 entry as planned.
- Successful large primary schools in area (including Montpelier, North Ealing) but no obvious mixed secondary school in immediate vicinity.
Why Twyford CofE Academy Trust is uniquely placed to take on this project
- Already successfully opened brand new school William Perkin 2013 – so experience of doing this before
- As Willliam Perkin only has 4 year groups currently (7-10) there is spare capacity for 125 pupils September 2017 entry
- North Twyford pupils accommodated in building/community akin to the new school from day one
- No temporary facility would be required so minimal additional costs incurred to open the school prior to new site
- Trust schools have excellent OFSTED reports and academic achievement levels at GCSE and A level
- Support from local community and governors
- Both Twyford CofE High School and William Perkin are oversubscribed schools already
Additional advantages of the site
- Local transport links
- Keep green spaces for local community use (currently derelict – hasn’t been used for public use as Barclays owned it for 80 years)
- Additional sports facilities which we hope to make available for community use – as with the Pavilion project at William Perkin
If getting North Twyford CofE School site secured for September 2017 entry is important to you here are people you could write to:
Councillor and Cabinet member for Children and Young People
Conservative Education Spokesman
Your local councillors – enter your postcode here to find your local representative
Dr Rupa Huq MP
MP for Ealing Central and Acton
Stephen Pound MP
MP for North Ealing
Justine Greening MP
Minister for Education
6th October 2016
We were delighted to see so many local families supporting our vision for a third Trust school by attending the North Twyford Open Evening at St Peter’s Church, Ealing on Monday 3rd October and would like to thank them for their interest.
Feedback from this event strongly indicates that another Trust school is regarded as a welcome addition to the area and those of us working towards this goal are grateful for the appreciation shown by the local community for the effort we, together with our partners, are bringing to turn this dream into reality. In particular Ealing Council has shown impressive joined-up thinking by securing, as part of the schools DPD, designation for part of the preferred site to be used for educational use and we have a strong expectation that this will ensure we can move forward with our plans for the new school as planned. Our only concern currently is over timescales.
Executive Head Teacher Dame Alice Hudson gave a taster of school life using the words of welcome, readings and responses which are used within the existing Trust schools to engender a greater sense of community with a distinctive Christian foundation. She then highlighted the unique nature of the school day and the 10:10 ethos which underpins every aspect of the school as well as covering the contingency plans for North Twyford’s 2017 intake being housed temporarily in the Sixth Form centre at William Perkin School.
Applications for admissions for North Twyford are now open and can be made via the online form. Please note this application can be made in addition to the 6 choices within the Pan-London applications process.
22nd September 2016
Email sent to prospective parents:
As you are aware, the Twyford CE Academies Trust has been given permission to open a Third School which is currently referred to as ‘North Twyford CE High School’.
Our confidence in developing this project comes from our successful experience in launching William Perkin CE High School in 2013 using the systems and approaches from Twyford CE High School. We are therefore keen to move forward with the new project in order to offer more places locally and address the significant oversubscription in both of the existing schools.
The only delay in the project remains the range of agreements required for the preferred site. Whilst this remains a barrier, considerable progress has been made and we are very grateful to Ealing Council and the Education Funding Agency for their joint working to progress this.
After careful consideration, the Trust’s Directors have agreed that we should aim to move forward with a temporary solution, housing the new school at William Perkin for two years while the site issues are resolved and the permanent school building is constructed. In order to do this we will have to reduce the proposed intake of the school to 125 students per year group. However it has the significant advantage that we will be able to draw on the experience of the team who were so successful in launching William Perkin to support the growth of North Twyford.
At present this does have to remain a tentative process. Trust Directors will only proceed with a 2017 opening if they have Education Funding Agency (EFA) approval by mid-December and the EFA will only give their approval if the preferred site has been secured. If the site hasn’t been secured then we will have to delay the opening of the school until September 2018. We plan be able to move to the permanent site in 2019.
Assuming we are able to go ahead with the opening of our new school, we will work closely with Ealing Council over the admissions process and make our offers on National Offer Day - 1st March 2017. If however we are informed that the school cannot open in September 2017 we will inform all applicants before the end of the autumn term.
Details of how to apply for a place at North Twyford can be found on our website www.northtwyford.org.uk. Please note that parents wishing to apply for a specialist music place at North Twyford should use the same music admissions form as for music places at Twyford. The deadline for submission of these applications is 28th September with aptitude tests taking place on the 6th & 7th October.
Parents can find out more information about North Twyford CE High School at the open evenings for both Twyford CE High School (Thursday 22nd Sept) and William Perkin CE High School (Thursday 6th Oct). There will be an additional information evening dedicated entirely to North Twyford on Monday 3rd October at St Peter’s Church, Mount Park Road, W5 2RU with 2 sessions starting at 4.00pm and 5.45pm respectively.
29th July 2016
Meetings in the last 2 weeks of term and in the first week of the holidays have continued to reflect the commitment to getting North Twyford open in September 2017 as planned.
The Trust has worked very closely with Adam Whalley (Schools planning) and Jas Channe (Borough Architect) in the drawing up of a feasibility study on opening in temporary accommodation. The final report will recommend William Perkin as the preferred option for this – where there is still some capacity from 2017-2019. This will be submitted to the EFA during August for approval. The general view of parents and school representatives at the Reference Group meeting on 12th July supported this as a viable option and I am grateful to them for their ongoing enthusiasm and encouragement.
The Trust Directors also indicated strong support of pushing forward with the project in temporary accommodation in the first instance. The Trust will therefore expect to move forward to open the recruitment round for the first intake of students along with the admissions to Twyford and William Perkin this September assuming that there are no hitches between now and then. This decision will be confirmed at the Directors' meeting of 14th September and I hope very much that admissions to North Twyford will therefore go live on 15th as planned. This admission process will sit outside the Pan-London co-ordinated process and will not affect the other choices which parents will make.
We still await further progress on the securing of the actual site which is the biggest hurdle still to be overcome as approval for the school in temporary accommodation will not be given unless there is reasonable security on the permanent site. Meetings with the EFA in late July have however given confidence that the Trusts’ vision for a school with well designed sporting facilities arranged to benefit the local community is strongly endorsed by the key players. We hope to get an indication by early September on how the current land-owners intend to take this forward.
Whilst it would be good to have greater certainty at this stage over the launch of North Twyford, we have ended the academic year in a very positive position with signs of movement on a number of fronts. The Trust is therefore mobilising its resources to be ready to go ahead as planned. Next steps include a local consultation on admissions and feedback on the permanent name for the school!
Finally, prospective parents considering applying for places should be aware that the Directors have agreed to use their meeting on the 9th December 2016 as the final deadline by which a decision will be made on the 2017 opening. We hope that this level of transparency will help manage the uncertainty which still exisits around the project at this stage.
For more information about the School's Admissions Policy visit the Welcome Page of this website - here
Best wishes for the summer break.
11th May 2016
I am pleased to say that progress has been made with securing the site for the new school. The Planning Inspector has now approved the Council’s change in policy to designate sites for new schools and the policy has been adopted by Councillors. You can see the latest update on this here: https://www.ealing.gov.uk/info/201164/local_plans/1961/planning_for_schools_dpd
This change in planning policy means that a planning application can now be put in for the new school and the Education Funding Agency’s architects have started work on this. When allowance is made for the time required to prepare the application and for it to be determined by the Council, it does not now look possible for the school to open in its permanent building in September 2017. The new building will not be completed until 2018 at the earliest. However, it may still be possible for us to open in temporary accommodation in September 2017 and we are working with the EFA to identify possible locations. If we were to open in temporary accommodation in 2017 we would probably start with a reduced intake of 4 forms/100 pupils rather than the planned intake of 7 forms/200 pupils.
8th October 2015
Over the summer it has become clear that the originally planned opening date of September 2016 is no longer viable due to delays with securing a permanent site. The Directors of the Trust discussed this at a meeting on 22nd September and decided to ask the minister responsible to put back the opening date to September 2017. We await formal confirmation of this but we are not currently inviting applications for admissions in 2016.
I realise that this will be a disappointment to parents of pupils currently in year 6 who have been so supportive of our project and I share your disappointment.
The London Borough of Ealing are continuing to work on planning policy changes intended to pave the way for new school sites and we are hopeful that this process will deliver our school a suitable site in time to allow the school to open in 2017. A recent cabinet paper published by the Council here (HERE - Agenda item 23) provides more detail on how the current need for school places will be met and progress with securing sites.
17th July 2015
The Trust is continuing to work hard to develop the plans for North Twyford. The project was given a particular boost by the Ofsted inspection at William Perkin (a requirement for Free schools in the latter part of their 2nd year). The school was judged ‘Outstanding’ in all categories and the advantages to the school in being launched by an existing outstanding school were noted. You can see the report here.
Lord Nash (Minister with responsibility for Free Schools) has been briefed on our project and is aware of the challenges we face, stating in a recent letter ‘I hear very good reports of the progress with William Perkin. The Twyford brand is clearly exceptionally strong’. The Trust is very grateful for the support it has received at all levels of the DfE as the project moves forwards and is currently giving careful consideration as to its opening timescales.
Twyford is working closely with Ealing Council and the Education Funding Agency to acquire an appropriate site for the new school and a number are currently being explored. To facilitate the planning process, Ealing are proposing to re-designate a number of sites for educational use through a DPD (Development Planning Document) process. The process for this is outlined here.
One of the benefits we hope to bring to local people is improvements to community sports facilities. Both our schools provide sports facilities for community use during evenings and weekends. At William Perkin we have recently been working with the the Council to secure funding for improvements to facilities and would aim to build on this success with a similar project at our new site. Details of the successful project at William Perkin are here.
I intend to speak at the DPD examination in public which is likely to be in October and represent the strength of feeling locally in favour of our new school project. Please feedback any comments you would like us to represent using this form: