Proposed Woodfield Expansion
Woodfield is planning a two phased expansion to take capacity to 208 places
What is being proposed?
Woodfield School currently has capacity for 176 pupils aged 11 – 19 (50 in the sixth form) who have needs that include but are not limited to autism, moderate or severe learning difficulties.
To help meet the increasing demand for special school places in Brent, Woodfield is proposing to expand by up to 32 places.
This would be in two phases:
• An additional 16 places from September 2019, which would take the capacity to 192 places; and
• Up to an additional 16 places from September 2020 or at an agreed later date, which would take the capacity to up to 208 places.
The school has agreed to provide 16 additional places for September 2019 to help ensure that LB Brent is able to provide sufficient special school places. LB Brent will be providing additional accommodation on the school site in order to accommodate these new pupils; this new accommodation will be ready by October half-term and alternative arrangements are being finalised for September and October.
We are also consulting now about a possible second phase of expansion of up to another 16 places. While Brent has not requested the second phase at this stage, views of staff and parents will help inform the approach that the school takes should LB Brent make such a request.
Note: There is a separate consultation being undertaken at The Village School about formalising a temporary expansion that took place in 2018. The two processes are separate.
Why is this being proposed?
Demand for special school places in Brent is increasing. In recent years Manor, The Village and Woodfield have all expanded (adding 130 places), and a new all-age special school (The Avenue) is being established to provide 100 additional places for pupils with autism and complex needs. However, demand continues to outstrip this increasing supply of places.
To provide additional places, Woodfield has agreed to a request from Brent Council to admit 16 additional pupils in September 2019. The Council will provide modular buildings to provide two more classrooms, group rooms and toilets to accommodate these pupils. This expansion is a temporary expansion for the period that these additional 16 pupils are at Woodfield School. After that the capacity of Woodfield would reduce again to 176 and the modular accommodation would be removed.
The Council has not requested further expansion in 2020 or later, but the school is seeking views now about a second phase of expansion if it is required. The second phase of expansion, if required, may be on the existing Woodfield site or could potentially be on another site (which has not yet been identified).
If the second expansion was to take place, we would need the permission of the approval of the Department for Education because the two expansions together would add more than 20 places to the school. We are required to undertake consultation about the proposal before we can submit the application. We are consulting about the second phase now, therefore, to enable an early application to the Department for Education if Brent Council does request additional places.
What are the implications?
If the proposal is approved then:
• Woodfield expands from 176 places to 192 places in September 2019 and LB Brent would provide the necessary additional accommodation;
• There may be a second phase of expansion, if Brent Council requests additional places in 2020 or later and provides the necessary accommodation. This second phase of expansion may be up to 16 pupils, so taking the total capacity to up to 208 places. The second phase of expansion may be on the existing Woodfield site or potentially on another site; and
• Woodfield would continue to be a school for pupils aged 11 – 19 who have needs that include but are not limited to autism, moderate or severe learning difficulties.
Expansion would not change the timings of the school day or the school year. The school uniform would not change. There would be no change to the culture and ethos of the school.
The school has agreed to the first phase of the expansion and so that will proceed, subject to planning permission. If the second phase of expansion is not approved then Woodfield would have a capacity of 192 pupils and, if the Council requires additional places in the future, it would need to secure those from other schools (noting that further expansion of The Village School on its main site is likely to be difficult).
The school has no reason to believe that the proposal would not be approved by the DfE.
What is the timeframe? What happens next?
Planning for the first phase of expansion for September 2019 is advanced. Staff have been and are being recruited, and planning permission for the building project has been applied for.
Discussions with Brent about their need for places in September 2020 and beyond will continue. If the Council indicates that it would require more places at Woodfield, an application would be submitted to the Department for Education and any associated capital works would be planned. The school would wish to have approval from the DfE as early as possible.
How to have your say
To have your say please:
• Email email@example.com and provide your views; we are particularly interested in what you perceive to be the advantages of expansion, and any concerns that you might have. This can include comments about the potential second phase of expansion, such as issues to consider if it is on the Woodfield site or an alternative site); and / or
• Attend the meeting for parents at 5:30pm on Thursday 13th June 2019 at Woodfield. The consultation ends on Tuesday 2nd July 2019.
Please have your say before then. All responses will be considered by the school.