Include our streets in the catchment area for Moss Hall Nursery, Infant and Junior School.

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Millimetres matter in school catchment areas. If you live in the residential streets of Coleridge Road, Derby Avenue, Grange Avenue, Hall Street, Netherfield Road and Percy Road in N12 you are OUTSIDE of the catchment area for Moss Hall Nursery, Moss Hall Infant and Moss Hall Junior School despite them being just 0.4 miles away (8 minutes walk). 

Over recent years Barnet Council planning (now called Re - an unequal partnership between Barnet Council and Capita where profit-led Capita have a 51% majority share), have approved the demolition of a number of character family homes (especially in Nether Street very near to the schools) that have now been replaced with large blocks of luxury flats. Local houses (that once housed one family) have also been converted into 2 flats (maisonettes) or converted into HMO's (Houses of Multiple Occupation) and the population within the existing catchment area has gone up and up and up and continues to rise.

Barnet Council (Re) run a tax-payer funded, subsidised consultancy for developers and investors which includes advice on fast-tracking planning applications and guaranteeing approval. Developers and investors know that if they build or convert properties near the Moss Hall schools, they can command a higher price because of the 'outstanding' OFSTED ratings for Moss Hall Nursery and Infants. Through S106 agreements with Barnet Council, developers are able to pay NOT to include affordable housing promoting more inequality as the 'outstanding' schools become exclusive not inclusive.

It was confirmed by a leading local estate agent that if Coleridge Road, Derby Avenue, Grange Avenue, Hall Street, Netherfield Road and Percy Road were included in the catchment for Moss Hall Nursery, Infants and Juniors it would increase the value of all the residential properties within that area. 

Moss Hall Nursery, Infants and Juniors are NOT an all-through school, they are separate and each has its own Head Teacher. You will need to apply to EACH school separately and there is no guarantee of a place unless you have a sibling at one of the schools already.

If you don't end up with your first choice school or even second or third, you may end up with a school outside of your community, a school where you may need to drive or take public transport (petrol/fares all add up). Since 2001, Barnet has been a designated Air Quality Management Area due to high levels of pollution, so by not getting a local school place parents can ADD to pollution AND local school run congestion. Barnet Council want our children to cycle to school, but Barnet roads are too congested, dangerous and too polluted and there is not a single cycle lane in the borough! Walking is great for health, wellbeing and the environment and it allows precious time for parents and children to chat about the day, to interact and to notice nature and the environment around them.

Coleridge Road, Derby Avenue, Grange Avenue, Hall Street, Netherfield Road and Percy Road are all within the catchment area of Northside Primary School but with an intake of just 30 children per year at Northside it's clear to see that parents from the streets listed above don't have a lot of choice. (Note that out of 30 places available that figure actually goes down to 10 - 15 places when siblings and children with Special Educational Needs are prioritised). Just 10 - 15 places means a great deal of competition, you would need to live pretty much next door to Northside to get in.

The Moss Hall Nursery, Infant and Junior School catchment area extends SOUTH by 1.1 miles to Finchley Central where there are 4 SCHOOLS for parents to choose from (St Marys, Millbrook, Frith Manor and Moss Hall) compared to our one (Northside). Local councillors consider that the new Wren Academy (a faith school with less than 40% community places available) is an additional choice for our area and you may gain a place if you are lucky, but with Northside and Wren having so few community places and ever increasing local demand fuelled by ever increasing numbers of flats it should not be a game of chance, all local schools are over-subscribed!

Barnet Council consider that the new Millbrook Park School in Mill Hill East and the Alma Free School in Whetstone will impact on parental preference from our area, but they seem to have forgotten or overlooked the fact that Millbrook sits within a development of over 2,200 residential units (places at Millbrook will be taken up by children that live in the Millbrook estate or very close to the school, the IOSN12 area is not close). The council has also just approved a substantial development at the former National Institute of Medical Research NIMR behind Millbrook Park adding further local pressure! And across the road from the Alma Free School (which is also not near to the IOSN12 area) is a HUGE new luxury residential development with more to follow as Barnet Council itself attempts to sell its own offices at the former EVER-READY building in Whetstone so that they too can become flats! This is nothing new to Barnet Council who sold Friern Barnet Town Hall, which is now luxury accommodation! Going to either of those schools involves a journey by road in either bus or car. The Council should be encouraging parents to WALK to school, not to drive or use public transport as this impacts on a child's health, a parent's pocket, congestion and pollution. 

Interestingly, between the IOSN12 (Include Our Streets N12) area and Whetstone is a huge area that is NOT in the catchment for any local school - those residents would certainly have more chance of gaining a place at the Alma Free School where distance will be measured from the proposed main entrance of the school’s permanent site to the child’s front door. Instead of building an all-through school at the site of the former Police Depot in North Finchley High Road, the council approved the building of YET MORE 90+ luxury flats! We couldn't make it up! And across the road are another 50+ new flats! Will they all go to the Alma Free School, Wren or Northside? This was all brought up with the Barnet Council School's Committee and it was ignored.

Historically, in 1873 Nether Street where the Moss Hall schools' catchment area ends in North Finchley was called MOSS HALL LANE. The Elephant Inn also on the north side of the schools was called the Moss Hall Tavern until fairly recently. Our area is part of the original Moss Hall area yet we are excluded. The original Moss Hall building and grounds was actually in the northern section closest to our streets, not Finchley Central where plans are afoot to include 600 new properties near Victoria Park.

We are told by parents whose children went to the Moss Hall schools in the 90s and before that the catchment area used to extend more into North Finchley and Woodside Park - but neither Barnet Council or Ofsted have ANY record of the previous catchment map! Moss Hall Infant school also expanded recently (2012) so more children could attend, but the catchment area didn't expand - according to the Office of the School's Adjudicator that was fine! Do you agree? Moss Hall Infants School is NOT in Finchley Central, yet you will get a place if you live there, whilst parents 0.4 miles away in the Include our Streets N12 area are excluded. We demand an equal opportunity to attend OUR local schools.

Barnet Council committees decided to do NOTHING about our petition after we met with them (local area committee) and discussed our concerns in our allotted 5 minutes of time! Out of 21 councillors only 2 were from local wards, Kath McGuirk representing West Finchley Ward who didn't warm to our campaign and our only ally Cllr Anne Hutton from Woodhouse Ward who supported us but was clearly alone in that support. Councillors from High Barnet, Totteridge, Hendon and Golders Green are not going to be concerned with the catchment area for schools in N12. It was not given the hearing it deserved. 

They said, and I quote points 1.28 and 1.29 from the minutes of 12th July 2016 Barnet Council CELS committee meeting of which Cllr Reuben Thompstone was Chair (the same Cllr Reuben Thompstone that wanted to cut funding to Moss Hall Nursery):

'It is NOT recommended to take any further action'.

'In relation to a more fundamental review of either the use of priority areas or of amending priority areas it is also NOT recommended to undertake this exercise at the current time.'

Their decision did not take into consideration ALL the points we raised, instead it relied on the decision of the School's Adjudicator. Our wider points should have been covered in detail. Our petition is currently over 240+ names including those on paper, so we are simply going to keep adding names until they listen again and make the catchment area fair. Whether it is just 1 child or 20, our streets are close enough that they should be part of the catchment.


Thank you and please keep in touch via Twitter @IOSNTwelve or Facebook: www.facebook.com/includeourstreetsn12 or email includeourstreetsn12@outlook.com

 



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