Page 3 - HGS Suburb News 135 - Summer 2018
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Stormy start to Henrietta Barnett School expansion plan

      Henrietta Barnett School’s main
      hall was the scene of an Open
      Meeting on the evening of July 12
      to start the debate on the proposal
      to construct additional buildings                                                                                                                              PHOTOS: PETER McCLUSKIE
      to increase pupil numbers. The
      meeting was opened by the vice-
      chairman of the school, Peter
      Cosmetatos, who explained there
      would be brief presentations by
      Del Cooke, the school head, and
      Richard Paynter, architect partner
      at Barker Associates, before a
      short Q & A session.
         The meeting would be an   Peter Cosmetatos and Richard Paynter
      opportunity to hear some   area and a demand from parents   continuation of these trends   seemed to be a prisoner of the
      questions and opinions from   for more selective places; and  means that the present size   strict  criteria laid down in  the
      residents and parents. There   •  schools have ambitious and   school is not sustainable. We   admissions policy, apparently
      was a consultation using an   realistic plans for increasing access   were later told that a soon to be   in stone.
      online survey for those who   for disadvantaged pupils (by   announced rise in teachers’ pay,   Another point was the effect
      wished to have their opinion   which we mean pupils eligible   if substantial and unfunded,  the increased numbers would
      taken into account. The school   for the pupil premium), and  would mean the school, at its   have on the already difficult
      wanted to stress that it was still   •  they have plans to work with   present size, going broke within   traffic situation around the
      undertaking a feasibility study   other  local  schools  to increase   two years.  school. We were told it is hoped
      on a possible application.  access for disadvantaged pupils   Richard Paynter explained   that with the help of Barnet, the
         The background is a DfE   and to raise attainment.”  that any design would respect   RA’s Roads & Traffic Committee
      initiative, the Selective Schools   If the bid for some money   the original, take account of the   and an increased use of buses
      Expansion Fund (SSEF), which   from the SSEF is successful and   heritage status, have a minimal   the problem could be mitigated.
      was announced in May and asks   the school can find the additional   impact and be complementary to   There was no indication of how
      for applications from grammar   funds needed, it intends to   what already exists. Some feasible   this would help.
      schools for a part of a £50   increase the size of the school   options had been considered   The questions for the architect
      million fund. Bids have to be   by 35% from its present 779   and he shared them with those   were focused on the processes
      submitted by August 2, and the   pupils to 1050. To accommodate   present for some initial comments   of  planning and  building.  The
      results will be announced in   this increase in numbers the   and observations.  building work should be complete
      the autumn.                school anticipates building two   He showed a plan to  build   within a year of starting and there
         The introduction to the   science labs, one technology   on the two undeveloped corners   would be a plan for managing
      government guidelines states,   lab,  one general classroom, an   of the site by Bigwood House,  the disturbance caused.
      “The purpose of the SSEF is to   expanded canteen, 22 more   and a preferred alternative,   Residents were worried about
      support the expansion of selective   toilets and, if possible, additional   which created extensions at the   openness and consultation in
      schools where:             sports space.              side of Bigwood House leaving   the planning phase. Although
      •  there is a need for additional   The recent constraints on   the corners open.  there were details of the
      places, both in terms of a short-  school funding, the increase in   Then there was a plan which   proposals posted on the RA’s   The low point of the evening   meetings should the feasibility
      fall of secondary places in the local   costs  and  the  predicted  developed the two courtyards at   e-mail forum, the HGS List, this   was the heckling, to the point   study result in a successful
                                                            the back of Bigwood House,  is still limited to its subscribers,  of  shouting  down,  the  views   application to the fund being
                                                            and  a more innovative design   and  a number  of people  were   expressed by a young former   made, and a planning application
                                                            which created a sunken building   angry at the lack of  publicity.  pupil of the school, who wished   eventually materialise.
                                                            in the centre of the HBS site   The School would do well to   to praise the education she and   RA Council will be following
                                                            with a grass roof so as not to   consider using a mail drop of   her fellows had received. The   events, and its Conservation &
                                                            lose the open space.      the Suburb before each step to   strength of feeling in the audience   Amenities  Committee will  be
                                                              Time then for questions and   avoid further bad feeling.  was evident and the way it was   keeping a very close eye on the
                                                            it was very clear that for many of   The architect said they were   expressed demonstrated how   situation as it changes. The RA
                                                            those present the lack of places   not responsible for the previous   divisive grammar schools can be.  will hold Open Meetings on the
                                                            for Suburb (2%), or even Barnet   expansion and wanted to try a   The arguments over how the   subject when it feels it is
                                                            (31%), girls was the main source   different approach – being broad-  school selects its pupils and the   appropriate.
                                                            of concern. It was a concern   based, collaborative, open and   legacy of feeling from the   Suburb News will, as always,
                                                            clearly understood by Del Cooke   transparent. They were committed   controversial Hopkins extensions   attempt to keep residents fully
                                                            but  one  she  showed  little  sign   to taking into account the results   10 years ago persist. These themes   informed as developments occur.
                                                            of being able to address; she   of their survey.     will doubtless echo through future       TERRY BROOKS

                                                    Hedgehogs on Hampstead Heath

      In early June this hedgehog was   in partnership with the City of   as to develop a programme to   at night. From  this data the   further work with London Zoo
      spotted on the Heath Extension   London Corporation, have been   help conserve them. An initial   population can be estimated. The   and other local authorities to
      near the play area one afternoon.  carrying out a study of the hedge-  survey in 2016 revealed that   trial was a success and London   improve the scope for hedgehogs
      It is unusual to see hedgehogs   hog population on Hampstead   hedgehogs were quite widespread   Zoo concluded that the area   to move around.
      during the daytime, so perhaps   Heath. Hedgehogs have declined   across the Heath and a more   appears to be a significant refuge   A key element of this     PHOTOS: GEORGE JENKINS
      this was a female going out to   by about 30% over the last ten   detailed study was carried out   for hedgehogs in North London.  involves homeowners ensuring
      find food – becoming scarce in   years, particularly in rural areas.   last year in Golders Hill Park.   They  are  carrying  out  that  their  gardens  allow  the
      the drought – for her young.  London  Zoo  are  keen  to   This involved setting up cameras   another survey this year across   easy  passage  of  hedgehogs:  a
       GAD_Suburb_News_137mm x 120mm_Layout 1  12/07/2018  13:00  Page 1              the whole of the Heath,  13cm  x  13cm  gap  is  sufficient.
         Readers may remember that
                                                            and recording encounters with
                                 increase their knowledge of the
      the Zoological Society of London,  urban hedgehog population so   hedgehogs and other mammals   including the Heath Extension.  And do put out water for them.
                                                                                      So far hedgehogs have been   Suburb News know (see SN129
                                                                                                                    If you spot one, please let
                                                                                      sighted at seven of the thirteen
            Property                                                                  locations on the Extension. A   winter 2017 for previous
                                                                                      report will be produced towards
                                                                                                                 hedgehog news).
                                                                                      the end of the year.
                                                                                                                              COLIN GREGORY
                                                                                         The City would be very
                                                                                      interested in any hedgehog
            Lawyers                                                                   sightings on Hampstead Heath             G Cohen
                                                                                      or in neighbouring gardens. They
                                                                                      would like to see how well
                                                                                      connected the Heath is with other
                                                                                      larger open spaces or indeed the
                                                                                      wider area and will be doing              ANTIQUE SILVER
            Serving the suburb for 30 years.                                                                           We wish to purchase items of silver in any

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      SUBURB NEWS IS PRODUCED AND DELIVERED TO YOU BY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION VOLUNTEERS                                                                             3
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