What specific facilities are you planning to build at the Stanley Road campus?
At every stage in the design and implementation of our new school, the question we have asked ourselves is this: 'How good can we make it?' And premises is no exception. It's an amazing luxury to be able to start from scratch, to design our premises around our curriculum, and to provide our 21st century pupils with 21st century facilities. We are working closely with specialist architects and the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to see how we can make the most of both parts of our urban campus and create modern, practical and dynamic environments for teaching and learning.
There are two main parts to our plans for Stanley Road. From a classroom perspective, we're looking to create a brand new state-of-the-art secondary school building, designed and built to complement our premises at Beaumont Close. This will be the everyday home of our lower school, once the Archer Academy is at full capacity.
The other part of our plans is to create fantastic sports facilities, both indoor and outdoor, for use by the whole school. Our outdoor pitches will be suitable for multiple activities (such as football, rugby, hockey and netball) and our indoor facilities will be flexible enough to allow sports like badminton, cricket and basketball, as well as room for dramatic and musical performances. We're also hoping to install a climbing wall and athletics facilities.
When are you going to start work?
We have already started. Our premises team are working with experts from the EFA, Barnet Council, Sport East Finchley and the London Marathon Trust to define the best possible solution for our requirements. Our plan is for the implementation of some of our sports facilities at Stanley Road to start in the summer of 2013.
How will you keep our children safe when they are travelling between your two campuses?
The safety of our pupils is paramount and we are not complacent about managing the occasions when they would need to move between campuses. We are working with Barnet and the EFA to create traffic management plans that will provide a safe path between Beaumont Close and Stanley Road, and would of course ensure that any such journeys are accompanied by members of staff.
By deciding to allocate our facilities by age group rather than by subject, we have made sure that travel between the two campuses will be kept to a minimum. Each campus will have the teaching facilities it needs to carry out the vast majority of the teaching for the pupils based there - so there will be classrooms, science labs, food tech spaces, D&T workshops, dining areas social areas and recreation space on both campuses.
This means our pupils will spend almost all of their time within each academic year at one campus. The main exception to this is that pupils based at Beaumont Close will travel to Stanley Road for outdoor sports lessons and some recreation time, a necessity which is common in many London schools.
Of course, secondary age pupils tend to be independent travellers, with many local children travelling on buses and tubes to get to and from school. We are confident that our pupils will not be fazed by our urban campus model, and indeed will benefit from it.
How do your plans for a sixth form fit into the urban campus?
We are planning to open our sixth form ready for our first intake in 2018, or even before if circumstances allow, and are already looking at potential sites which could form this third part of our urban campus. Given the projected shortage of sixth form places in the years ahead, we are confident that we will be supported in this by the education authorities, just as we have been during the first phase of our plans.
What are your plans for outdoor recreation for pupils at Beaumont Close?
We are in the process of finalising our plans for outdoor activities across our urban campus, as this is something that is very close to our hearts. With some months to go before we open we are still exploring all the options, but this is our current thinking.
Although there isn't a huge amount of external space at Beaumont Close, we will ensure that all pupils have outdoor recreation on a daily basis. We are planning to landscape the outside space at Beaumont Close to provide space for outdoor learning as well as some social time. We are also looking to create an indoor recreation space with activities such as table tennis and room to relax.
In addition to this, we are working on a phased approach to the Stanley Road campus which means that some initial sports and recreation facilities will be available early in our first year, and we are expecting to use these for some longer breaks as well as outdoor sports lessons.
What does your ownership of Beaumont Close mean for the Institute?
The Archer Academy and the Institute share a common vision about serving the needs of our community. In fact, we have been committed to working together even before the possibility of us moving to Beaumont Close ever arose. The Institute supported our application to the DfE, and ever since we got the go-ahead we have been exploring ways that we could work together.
Around the time that the EFA started investigating options for premises on our behalf, the Beaumont Close site came on the market. It was quickly identified by the EFA as a suitable premises for our school, and has been purchased on this basis.
We are continuing to discuss with the Institute how we can work in partnership together going forwards. Under the terms of the agreement, the Archer Academy will take over the building and undertake some work to ensure it is suitable for our new school. Of course, for the first year we will only have 150 pupils and so the building will provide ample space.
A team of specialist architects are drawing up plans that will ensure that Archer Academy pupils and Institute students can enjoy exclusive use of separate sections of the building. Our aim is for a long term partnership with the Institute and our intention is to continue co-locating with them in the longer term as much as we can.
The agreement is clearly very beneficial for us. Firstly, it means that we have secured a suitable home for the Archer Academy, right in the heart of East Finchley. But it also allows us to give our pupils access to an unusual range of academic, vocational and creative opportunities, thanks to the facilities that the Beaumont Close offers.
However the agreement is also good news for the Institute, who could otherwise have been forced to leave the Beaumont Close. It allows them to stay in their current premises in the short term, as well as offering possibilities for a longer term solution, which would not have been possible had they sold the building to another organisation.
Will child safety be compromised by sharing Beaumont Close with the Institute?
Absolutely not. The safety of our pupils is of paramount importance and will not be compromised at any point.
The site sharing arrangements with the Institute are being carefully considered by specialist architects to ensure the premises meets the high standards we have for children’s safety and the high quality facilities we require for our school.
Amongst other things, that means redesigning the building so that the school and the Institute areas are completely separate, with no access between them. We will have separate entrances and exits and even separate outside areas. In short, although we're entering into a strategic partnership with the Institute, there will be no contact between our staff or pupils and Institute members or visitors during the working day.
When will the community get to use the facilities at Stanley Road?
Our plans are at an early stage of development, but we are keen to make our facilities available as widely as possible. We are working with key sports and community advisers to ensure that our facilities will be made available at convenient times. We're confident that we can find the right balance to ensure that our community school's facilities are able to benefit the wider community.
If the community are using the facilities, what does this mean for safeguarding our children?
Safeguarding is an absolute priority for us. We will ensure that the school and the community use the facilities at completely separate times and are building safeguarding and safety features into the design of our premises at every stage. Managing the site will be the responsibility of the school and our pupils interests will direct our plans.
Will the development of Stanley Road cause a great deal of disruption?
Whilst some degree of disruption is inevitable, the work we are putting in now to clearly define our requirements will help us ensure that access and noise disruption are kept to a minimum.
It's also worth saying that, whoever bought the site, there would have been some disruption; our community-led focus means that we will continue to consider the concerns of local people whilst we're formulating our plans.
How will all this affect local people and schools? What about the pupils at Holy Trinity?
The new Stanley Road site will be a brilliant addition to the facilities available to local people. 'Engaging with our community' is one of the Archer Academy's key principles, and with the transformation of this neglected piece of land into top-class sporting and teaching facilities, for use by all parts of the community, we really are living up to our promises.
For the pupils at Holy Trinity, the Archer Academy not only provides a new, exciting choice of secondary school, but potentially the chance to share our sports facilities. We are currently talking to the headteacher at Holy Trinity about how we can make this happen, and we will let you know more details when we can.
Where will staff park?
There will be some staff parking at Stanley Road, and a more limited amount at Beaumont Close. However given both sites' close proximity to East Finchley tube station and the High Road, we will be encouraging both staff and pupils to use public transport as much as possible.
Will these plans limit the community's use of Stanley Road?
Quite the opposite. The new Stanley Road will become a hub for sporting and recreational activities for all parts of the community. In addition to the sporting facilities, there will be a hall, rooms and kitchen facilities which will be available for hire by individuals and groups outside of school hours.
Who will actually own the Stanley Road campus?
The Archer Academy will own the land and facilities at Stanley Road; it will be purchased on our behalf by the EFA, just as our Beaumont Close campus has.
What will happen if you decide to sell Stanley Road at a later date?
There will be a deed of dedication which will protect the Stanley Road site in perpetuity. This means that, even if it is sold, the new owner will be obliged to ensure that it will continue to provide sports facilities for the community.