|Site Swap for Cambridge and Free Schools
Council "welcomes" proposals to switch buildings
The high profile West London Free School, which plans to launch in H & F this autumn, may not now be sited at the Bryony Centre in Shepherd's Bush but is instead expected to swap premises with Hammersmith's Cambridge School, for children with special educational needs.
The free school's permanent site is expected to be Palingswick House in King Street, which was among a number of buildings approved for sale at a council cabinet meeting on February 7.
While Palingswick House is converted, and the community groups currently using it are moved out, it was proposed that the free school should use the Bryony Centre in Shepherd's Bush as a temporary home.
However, this site, which is next door to the Phoenix School, was already earmarked as Cambridge School's' long awaited new home.
Now H&F council now say it welcomes new proposals from Cambridge and Phoenix High schools:
* bringing forward Cambridge School's move to the Bryony Centre
Cambridge School headteacher, Olivia Meyrick, says: "Locating Cambridge School next door to Phoenix High School will enable improved integration and inclusion for pupils from both schools. The sharing of facilities, where possible, and expertise within the staff of both schools, will enable pupils to access a wide range of learning opportunities.
" The vast majority of pupils at Cambridge School live in the north of the borough, and this site therefore offers our students all the advantages of attending a local community school. Parents and family members can become more easily engaged in supporting their children, and the school can work with pupils and their families far more effectively.
" The position also provides improved access to health and social care, sports and recreational activities and vocational opportunities."
The council says it will support the schools in putting together a plan that suits all their needs. "If Cambridge School would rather bring their move forward, we will do everything we can to help them prepare the site and help their pupils settle in to their new building," says Cllr Helen Binmore, Cabinet Member for children's services.
Cambridge school and the West London Free School, together with Phoenix High School, now plan to work together on more detailed feasibility work and timescales for the moves.
Sir William S Atkinson, executive headteacher, at the Phoenix Canberra Schools Federation said: "Phoenix High School strongly supports the proposition that the Cambridge School should relocate to the Bryony Centre. Cambridge School and Phoenix High School have been in discussions for a number of years and concluded some time ago that the co-location of Cambridge School would bring many benefits to the students and the parents of the two schools.
" We are in a position, where appropriate, to share facilities as well as teaching expertise. The possibilities for professional development of teaching and non-teaching staff would also be significantly enhanced as a result of Cambridge School moving to the Bryony site. We already collaborate on a range of initiatives and therefore would be building on a strong relationship going forward on the basis of mutual benefit.
" In conclusion, it is our view that the West London Free School would be better sited in the centre of the borough."
February 16, 2011