In July 2012, the Department for Education approved The International Academy of Greenwich to move to the pre-opening phase. As part of this process we conducted a public consultation to gauge the views of a wide range of stakeholders. The public consultation ran from 18 December 2015 until 08 February 2016. We have now analysed all responses and produced a Consultation Report.

The full consultation document is available here:  Full consultation document.

IAG is committed to a fair and transparent Admissions Policy which adheres to the Admissions Code. Children with a statement of SEN will always be admitted, even it the school is over-subscribed. Find out more about the Academy’s Admissions Policy.

The Academy plans to serve its community by hiring out its premises to local groups, making its digital learning facilities available to other schools or groups providing language courses, and by creating a Language Centre which will be a hub of expertise for language learning locally.

Frequently asked questions from residents of the area surrounding our Temporary and Permanent sites and our answers:

The new school:

What is the International Academy of Greenwich (IAG) and why is it opening?

IAG will be a free school which will be run by a Trust under Central Government funding, in the same way as all other Academies. It is opening to provide much-needed secondary places to students who will mainly come from Greenwich and Lewisham boroughs.

Where can I find Greenwich Academy Trust’s memorandum and articles of association?
What is a ‘free school’? How will the new school be funded?

The Government’s free schools initiative allows for new publicly funded, non-fee paying, non-profit making schools to be opened and run outside local-authority control. As with academies, funding will come directly from central government. Free schools are technically independent schools operating within the state system. They are being set up by a wide variety of proposers – the first ones opened in September 2011 – including charities, universities, businesses, educational groups, faith groups and groups of parents and teachers.

While the schools are not obliged to follow the National Curriculum, they will all be expected to meet a local need; with the Department for Education (DfE) approving only those it believes have a strong chance of succeeding. The running of these schools will be overseen by a charitable trust.

Who will fund the new school? How much will it cost?

The capital cost of providing new school places is the responsibility of the Government’s Education Funding Agency (the EFA). It is not uncommon for new schools to open in temporary accommodation whilst the permanent site is being built, which subject to planning, is the case with IAG.

As you can imagine, every new school project is different but the EFA is responsible for making sure costs are kept to a minimum and represent the best value for the public purse. Once it is open, the IAG will be funded in accordance with the Local Authority funding formula and receive the same rate of funding per student as other state secondary schools in Greenwich. Once a new free school is open the costs are published on the DfE website.

Is there demand for the new school in Greenwich?

Yes there is demand for new secondary school places in Greenwich and Lewisham. The places at IAG are needed to accommodate students coming to the end of Year 6 at primary school. At Greenwich’s request the DfE have agreed to raise the intake of Year 7 students from 100 up to 125 in order to help provide the number of places needed for September.

The DfE supports free school applications in areas where there is a basic need for student places, including Greenwich, and the EFA is tasked with locating sites that are both available and suitable for a new school. School place data is publically accessible via the DfE website.

When will the new school open?

We opened our doors on 5 September 2016 at our temporary site. The school will grow year-on-year and so it will take several years to reach full capacity. Subject to planning consent, we anticipate moving to the permanent site in late 2020.

Where will the new school open?

Our temporary premises are located at King’s Church, 21 Meadowcourt Road, 1st Floor, Lee, London, SE3 9DU.

Subject to submitting a planning application and receiving approval, our proposed permanent premises (planned opening in late 2020) will be Eltham Road, Lee, London, SE12 8ES (known as ‘Bowring Sports Grounds’).

Please see below for more questions / answers about the sites

What consultation has / will there be with residents to set up the new school?

Section 10 of the Academies Act 2010 requires that anybody entering into ‘Academy arrangements’ with the Secretary of State, in relation to a school, must ‘consult such persons as the person thinks appropriate’ on ‘whether the arrangements should be entered into’.

However a section 10 consultation is not intended to replace any building or planning applications surrounding the new school; it is solely to consult on whether the appropriate persons referred to above support the academy trust to enter into a funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education to run the International Academy of Greenwich.

Follow this link to read the relevant legislation.

IAG’s section 10 consultation ran from 18 December 2015 to 8 February 2016, a period of just under 8 weeks. The legislation does not specify the length of any consultation period.

A number of methods of communication were used that included a link to a consultation questionnaire on the IAG website, approximately 1000 emails sent out to local groups and individuals who had registered an interest, a leaflet distribution, adverts in local media and two public meetings that were held on 21 January and 1 February 2016. Again the legislation does not prescribe how academy trusts should consult with appropriate persons. A copy of the consultation report is available on the IAG website.

Please follow this link to the consultation process undertaken by IAG to set up the new school.

There will be separate planning consultation held in respect of proposals to develop the permanent site as part of the planning process associated with the full planning application for the proposed site. The timescale for this consultation is not yet defined, though we anticipate it will not take place until early 2018.

During the consultation the number of students / year was increased from 100 up to 125 / year. Why?

The decision to increase the intake of the proposed school from 100 up to 125 students per year was taken in early January 2016. This is in response to the growing need for additional secondary school places in Greenwich over the next five years and will also allow the school to offer a broader curriculum to prospective students. As this happened during the consultation the questionnaire was updated and an additional question included reflecting this. Those attending the public meeting on 1 February 2016 were also informed of the proposed increase.

How can I be sure that IAG will deliver a high standard of education?

The International Academy of Greenwich, in common with all other free schools, will be subject to Ofsted inspections and expected to meet the same standards of teaching as other state schools. Ofsted will inspect the school before it opens and again in the first term of its third year of operation. The government has already indicated that it is not prepared to bail out failing free schools and it is certain that they will be subject to intense scrutiny by government, opponents and the public in general. Ultimately, though, parents will vote with their feet if they are not happy with the education on offer. We at the International Academy of Greenwich recognise that and are spurred on by the challenge of creating a top-quality school that parents will want to send their children to.

Will the new free school take money away from existing schools?

No, free schools receive the same funding as any other Academy (most English secondary schools are now academies). Student numbers have been increasing in Primary Schools and the Royal Borough of Greenwich has already identified a need for a further 11 forms of entry at Year 7 (the first year of secondary schooling) by 2017. The International Academy of Greenwich will help to meet this need in a new kind of school not currently available in Greenwich – an international school with a focus on language learning.

Why does Greenwich need an international school teaching languages?

Greenwich, the historic home of time and navigation, has always had an eye firmly on the world. Today this is truer than ever, with the borough housing many different communities, cultures and speakers of other languages. Some are drawn to the global financial hub of Canary Wharf, just across the Thames, and to the City of London. Others have simply made their home in the area. Our research in October 2010 revealed that of 206 families who had registered their interest in an IB school in south-east London, 79% spoke French at home. Many have one English mother-tongue parent.

London, as a major international business and tourism centre, will benefit from a school offering in-depth language learning and an internationally-focused approach. We have support from global companies who recognise the importance of this in a business and human resources context.

But on top of that, Greenwich itself would benefit from a wider choice of high-quality schools, especially at secondary level. At present 31.4% of secondary-age children are educated outside the borough, many of them at grammar schools in Kent. Other families leave Greenwich entirely. But not all families have the resources to do that and we firmly believe that children should have access to top-class schools whatever their background or circumstances.

At the same time, Greenwich has an expanding population and needs more school places. According to Greenwich Council’s Greenwich Children and Young People’s Plan 2008-2011, Year 7 capacity will need to increase from 86 forms to 97 forms of entry by 2017.

The temporary site – King’s Church, 21 Meadowcourt Road, 1st Floor, Lee, London, SE3 9DU

How long will the school occupy the temporary building?

We are anticipating IAG will occupy the site for up to four academic years. There are no plans to annex the site.

Why are you opening on a temporary site ahead of the permanent site?

Originally DfE approval was given to IAG to start admitting students in Sept 2013. The opening of the school has been delayed for three years because of the difficulty in finding an available and suitable site.

It is not uncommon for new schools to open in temporary accommodation whilst the permanent site is being built, which subject to planning, is the case with IAG. As you can imagine, every new school project is different but the ESFA is responsible for making sure costs are kept to a minimum and represent the best value for the public purse.

The Kings Church building is suitable because it is a purpose built school (former language school) with sufficient space to house the students and staff of IAG during the first three years (and possibly into a fourth year if necessary). No additional planning consent is required because the building is already classed as suitable for educational purposes. Because of the nature of the building conversion costs are likely to be much less than buildings that would require extensive fitting-out or conversion.

Why was the temporary site not named at the start of the section 10 consultation period to set up a new school?

All parties were subject to commercial confidentiality until negotiations were completed, the trust was unable to announce the exact location of the temporary site for the school until mid-January 2016. There is a balancing act in trying to provide information as early as possible to local residents and prospective parents as to the location of a proposed school, whilst maintaining commercial confidentiality during any site negotiations. This is why the trust initially specified a general location within walking distance of the Lee Green traffic lights where Lee Road meets Lee High Road / Eltham Road and announced the exact site as soon as they were able to do so.

Is planning permission and consultation required for the temporary site?

The building has ‘D1’ planning classification (non-residential educational centre) and therefore no planning permission or consultation is required to use part of the site for the temporary school.

Who will fund the new school and what facilities are provided at the temporary site?

The DfE provides revenue and capital funding for the school. Accommodation is to be limited to basic teaching accommodation. Specialist activities such as dining, assemblies, science, sport and food technology will be provided through a combination of multi-purpose rooms and offsite visits to state-of-the-art organisations and businesses.

Is there car parking at the temporary site? How will you manage events when parents attend the school?

Yes the school will have some allocated car parking on the site. Our school will only use Meadowcourt Rd for pedestrian access. All parents and carers were interviewed by the Principal before joining the school and asked not to drop off or pick up children on Meadowcourt Road. Parents receive reminders about this via email from the Principal.

Visitor, staff and deliveries access will be through Osborn Terrace where we will also have access to the car park underneath the Kings Church building.

How will you manage access and egress to the Temporary Site?

The school will develop a travel plan for the temporary site which will consider the likely modes of transport for students and staff to and from the site. The Travel Plan will be developed to promote sustainable transport initiatives to reduce the impact of the school on the local area. The plan will need to consider pick up / drop off locations for students. A travel plan is also required for the proposed permanent site.

How will the school manage the safety of students at the temporary site? I’ve heard the Church has a project supporting vulnerable members of the community?

The health and safety of our students, staff and visitors is paramount. All new free schools are subject to a pre-opening inspection by Ofsted and are required to have robust student safeguarding procedures in place. This will ensure that the site is secure against entry from anyone not authorised to be on the school premises.

In terms of the Church’s support project, this includes self-contained premises that adjoins the Church, but does not share the same access as the proposed school.

How will you manage noise and disruption generally during the evenings and weekends at the temporary site?

The International Academy of Greenwich is working closely with the King’s Church to learn from their experience of managing a large congregation every Sunday.

Once the school is open at the temporary site, how will you manage / mitigate antisocial behaviour from students and at weekends?

Respect for the environment and active citizenship within the community forms a large part of the International Baccalaureate curriculum. There will be inter-disciplinary projects covered during students’ lessons to address specific local issues.

How many staff will there be at the temporary site and what is the parking provision?

We have 20 parking spaces on site at the Temporary site. We anticipate the staff numbers will be lower than this initially. Parking provision to the permanent site will be developed during detailed design and form part of our planning application.

Proposed permanent site – Eltham Road, Lee, London, SE12 8ES (known as ‘Bowring Sports Grounds’)

What stage are the plans at for the proposed new school? What are the timescales? What other consultation has / will there be with residents regarding proposals for the new school?

The EFSA is currently developing detailed proposals required for a planning application, this will include conducting public consultation prior to the submission of a planning application along with the pre-planning dialogue with Greenwich Local Planning Authority (the LPA) and other statutory bodies e.g. the Environmental Agency. There will then be formal planning consultation managed by the LPA as part of their assessment of the planning application. We anticipate commencing the public consultation during early 2018.

 

The site is in a flood zone and designated Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) – how can you build on it?

Within the Pre Application Planning process which is being undertaken, the Local Planning Authority, have advised what information is required to meet the very special circumstances required to develop on MOL.

The appointed design team are currently in dialogue with the Environmental Agency to develop a scheme which fully satisfy flood risk levels.

 

How will you manage access and egress to the proposed permanent site? What about other developments?

The plan is to access the site from Eltham Road and we have engaged a transport specialist to assess the impact of developing a new school on the local transport network. This will include taking account of other local developments and their impact on the proposals.

The transport specialists are including the consultation of the statutory transport agencies as part of the pre planning consultation process.

How will you address air quality concerns?

During the detailed design of the proposal we shall undertake air quality assessments. This will allow us to identify appropriate mitigation measures required for the site and proposed structures.

Where on the permanent site will the building be located? How will you minimise the impact on resident’s views?

The plans showing the intended location of the school buildings will be presented at the forthcoming public exhibition event planned for November 2017. A visual impact assessment has been commissioned to assess and identify measures to minimise the impact of the development to the local outlook and inform the design and location of the new school building.

How will you mitigate noise pollution to the properties adjacent to the permanent site?

An Acoustics Engineer will be commissioned during the detailed design phase to further identify what impact a permanent school building might have on the environment. The engineer will inform the design to ensure mitigation measures are implemented where possible and this information will form part of the full planning application.

What other possible permanent sites have been looked at and why were they rejected?

An extensive search site was undertaken in regard to the project. The analysis of the site search of over 35 sites will form part of the planning submission and will be available once submitted.

What level of light pollution will the school emit and how will this be mitigated?

An analysis of the proposed new building including proposed mass and sizing will be undertaken as part of the detailed design stage prior to a planning application.