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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:13 am 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
There is a consultation in progress until 15th February about a proposed new Sikh Free School in Stoke Poges. This may have implications for local children in terms of secondary school transport costs.

More information is available on these sites:

http://www.khalsasecondaryschool.com/index.html

http://www.stokepogesparishcouncil.gov. ... sultation/

There is also an article about it on the Bucks Advertiser site: http://www.buckinghamshireadvertiser.co ... -32680657/


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:11 pm 
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It would be interesting to know whether free schools (in general) are counted when transport is provided to the nearest school if more than 3 miles away. This could mean transport costs for a lot more people around the country. I note that the school is theoretically open to all, but the reality is that most pupils will be coming from outside the immediate area, while the local children are bussed elsewhere. I also understand that free schools are to be allowed to open without planning permission for a year in an effort to allow them to open more quickly and easily.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:05 pm 
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The approach adopted by the (Slough-based) Trust, putting out a press release before filing a planning application, has already caused uproar in Stoke Poges. especially as it claimed the school would open in September.

Putting a 4 form entry school for out of area children in a small village, with poor, unlit, road connections is going to be problematic


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:48 pm 
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Another interesting development regarding free schools (Eton are to sponsor one in Holyport for those who don't have a Times subscription):
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/education ... 673868.ece


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:18 pm 
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Location: South Bucks
Yes, people will lose their free transport entitlement if this new school is closer which could cost a family with 2 secondary aged children the best part of £1,000 pa.

And although it is claimed that up to 50% of the pupils might be non-Sikh it is clear that there was no intent to serve the local community (which is already well-served) as nobody in the area was consulted at all (not the villagers or other schools). The first the locals heard about it was when the site location was released as a 'fait accompli'. Even the local primary school which has had good and friendly relations with the Khalsa primary school in Slough knew nothing at all.

I only know of one family that knew about it and went to the schools presentation about it some time back. They are a Sikh family from Slough and heard about it through their Temple and parents. They told me that the though the site was secret (though it was hinted to be in SP) it was sold to them as settled and certain, something that was backed up by a "non-sikh govt official" who they took to be from Bucks CC or DofE. The community that has been consulted is the Sikh community in Slough and West London (as apparently there is a huge wait list for a secondary school they have there).


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:58 pm 
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drummer wrote:
it is clear that there was no intent to serve the local community (which is already well-served)

Yes, this baffled me as well. This was the statement made in the Bucks Advertiser (the italics are mine):

Quote:
Chairman of Slough Sikh Trust Nick Kandola, speaking to the Advertiser, said the new school would help alleviate the pressure on school places in the area, as well as provide a school for Sikhs.

He said: “A couple of years ago, calculations by the council showed there was a need for more school places – about four new schools – to meet demand. There’s already a shortage and with more people moving it’ll get worse. I expect as people move from Slough to South Bucks, as many in the Asian community are, the problem will become more apparent there too.

The shortage is not in South Bucks though, as you rightly point out, drummer. The catchment Upper for Stoke Poges is Chalfonts Community College. Last year only 1 child in catchment was not allocated a place there. Geographically, the nearest school to Stoke Poges is Burnham Park E-ACT Academy (previously Burnham Upper), and that was undersubscribed by 22 places.

I have also just noticed that there is a bid to open a Free School with a Catholic ethos in South Bucks. Originally they were looking at Chalfont St.Peter, but now it looks more as if it will be Gerrards Cross:
http://www.buckinghamshireadvertiser.co ... -32721196/

The implications for housing, transport and the environment of this are huge, and it all feels slightly mad ... :?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:28 pm 
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There are open days this afternoon and tomorrow from 4-7pm if anyone is interested.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:01 pm 
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Location: South Bucks
Sally-Anne wrote:

The implications for housing, transport and the environment of this are huge, and it all feels slightly mad ... :?


You are not wrong - I am having to consider moving my primary school children to a school near my secondary school children because we won't be able to afford the transport next year. We are already having to try and change our son's school for 6th form because of this. The only thing we can do is have me drive them to and from school which I can only manage if the schools are closer together. This also severely limits my ability to get a job now that my youngest is in school. Madness indeed :(


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:36 pm 
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That quote posted by Sally Anne (“A couple of years ago, calculations by the council showed there was a need for more school places") undoubtedly refers to Slough.

It has been reported in the local press that Slough will need at least two more secondary schools if not three!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:55 pm 
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guest666 wrote:
That quote posted by Sally Anne (“A couple of years ago, calculations by the council showed there was a need for more school places") undoubtedly refers to Slough.

Yes, I am sure it does, and it surprises me that the Advertiser didn't call him on it, but there you go. Local press and all that ...

I do feel sorry for the residents of Stoke Poges though. A tiny population of 5,000 which will increase by nearly 20% every school day if the proposal goes ahead. It will be murder for them during the school rush hour.


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