Frequently Asked Questions
General questions and answers about our school.
For information about our temporary and permanent sites and public consultation process, please visit the Public Consultation section of our website.
IAG is a free school 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.
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.
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.
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.
Our temporary premises (for up to three years) 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 2019) will be Eltham Road, Lee, London, SE12 8ES (known as ‘Bowring Sports Grounds’).
We opened our doors to the first students 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, we anticipate moving to the permanent site in 2019 academic year.
We are anticipating IAG will occupy the site for up to three academic years. There are no plans to annex the site.
We will offer something unique – an all-through 11-18 state school offering the full International Baccalaureate programme. This is a proven curriculum appropriate for the full range of abilities and prior attainment. It is now extensively in use in schools both state and private across the globe. Our school will offer language learning in greater depth than is currently offered in most other state schools. At the International Academy of Greenwich the learning of languages will be exciting, relevant and successful. We will offer an extended school day, which will allow for extra tuition in languages. We plan to make partnerships with global companies which will pave the way for really challenging work experience opportunities – possibly in a foreign language – and we will also plan extensive partnerships with international schools abroad for exciting exchange visits.
Our school will be smaller than many existing state secondary schools (up to 875 students and around 40/50staff) – small enough to give students the support, monitoring and motivation they need, but large enough to offer an exciting and challenging curriculum. We understand the school as a vibrant community, which exists not just to teach and obtain good exam results for its students but also to support their social and emotional development as citizens and productive members of society. We know that schools can make a huge difference to their students’ lives and we will build a community that ensures every student gets real personal attention and support to have a fulfilling and successful experience which will set them up for the challenges of their future life.
Because we will be a centre of excellence in the teaching and learning of languages we plan a language centre which will offer language courses for parents, adults in the community and to other schools. We believe strongly in the importance of partnerships with other schools locally and will share our expertise and understanding in order to raise the profile and standard of foreign language teaching wherever we can.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) offers four programmes of education – Primary Years, Middle Years (for students aged from 11-16) and Sixth Form IB Diploma or IB Career –Related, prestigious qualifications recognised by top universities in the UK and Europe. These institutions want students who think and question. The IB produces that.
All students will have the opportunity to learn a second language to a high level. Furthermore, the IB offers an international education which produces citizens of the world who understand and respect other cultures. There is also a strong focus on promoting students’ own cultural identity and on playing an active role in the community.
The IB is reputed for the high quality of its education, encouraging students to ask challenging questions and think critically. There is an emphasis on education of the whole person in all major domains of knowledge – languages, humanities, arts, mathematics and sciences. Teaching takes place not only by individual subject but across disciplines, an approach which stresses the inter-relatedness of areas of learning.
Universities and employers worldwide recognize the IB as developing well-rounded young adults who are confident of their place in the world and who know how to think and learn.
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.
All students will learn at least one foreign language, but we are also committed to preparing them for the new English Baccalaureate which includes GCSEs in maths, English, a science, a humanities subject and a language. Most subjects will be taught in English, but there will be scope for some, such as sport, music and art, to be taught in a foreign language, such as French.
We will be bound to admit students according to our Admissions Policy which is consistent with the guidelines that apply to all publicly funded schools. Our admissions policy is fair, non-selective, transparent and inclusive. We will not be selective and will offer places to students irrespective of their previous attainment and academic performance. In the event of oversubscription, priority will be given to looked-after children and those with siblings already at the school.
After that, 75 % of places will be allocated on the basis of home-to-school distance with the other 25% awarded by random allocation. Students with a statement of SEN which names the school will have priority even if we are oversubscribed. Founders, Directors and staff of the school will have to apply for places in exactly the same way as every other member of the community and will not have priority places.
One of the features of free schools is that they are likely to be concentrated in areas of deprivation. They are also expected to be inclusive and to meet a local need. Our research has shown a very clear demand for an international school in south-east London, where there are many bilingual families.
While some are relatively affluent, less well-off immigrant families are also well represented. Equally, the International Academy of Greenwich appeals to English-speaking families who are looking for an education for their children which fills the vacuum in language learning that has existed in state schools since 2004 when modern foreign languages became optional at GCSE. Only a fifth of Greenwich GCSE students in 2011 were entered for French, for example.
The vast majority of these families cannot afford to educate their children privately. Our group is representative of the mix of families from a variety of cultures and backgrounds who have registered their interest in the project. All our supporters – like reasonable parents everywhere – want the best possible education for their children.
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.
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.