Gladstone School delays opening in Brent for a second year

Paul Phillips is the principal of Gladstone School

Paul Phillips is the principal of Gladstone School - Credit: Archant

A free school In Brent has been forced to delay its opening for a second year in a row after plans to secure a site in Neasden fell through.

The school had planned o locate within the green circle in Neasden (Pic credit: Gladstone School)

The school had planned o locate within the green circle in Neasden (Pic credit: Gladstone School) - Credit: Archant

Gladstone School had proposed to build on a site either 500m near Neasden Underground station or on nearby brownfield land.

However, they have now announced on their website that a secure site had not been found in time for a September opening.

Paul Phillips, the school’s principal Designate, said: “Governors have worked tirelessly for years now on plans for what promises to be a truly exceptional school. The DfE and Brent Council recognise the growing need for school places, and have already requested an increase in the size if Gladstone School for September 2016 to help ease the pressure in Brent.

“We will shortly be meeting as a trust with the Department to agree what happens next.”

Last year, the school failed to secure a site after proposals to build on the grounds of the old William Gladstone School near Gladstone Park, Dollis Hill, angered residents who launched a campaign against the plans.

The site, which is owned by Brent Council, is Metropolitan Open Land and has the same level of protection as the Metropolitan Green Belt in terms of development.

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Since then the school has been hunting for a suitable site with rumours that it would set up in the former Kilburn campus of the College of North West London in Priory Park Road, quashed when another free school Marylebone Boys’ School announced they would temporarily open in the building.

The school was then forced to write to more than 100 families and advise them to look elsewhere for a place in time for last September.

Commenting on the latest deferral, Maria Evans, a founder parent and chair of governors, said: “This is heart-breaking news for us all. The loss of these 120 places will increase pressure on all Brent secondary schools to expand to accommodate the growing numbers.

“We will of course continue to work with Brent Council and the Education Funding Agency to identify alternative premises to help relieve this problem and get this visionary school back on track for a September 2016 opening.”

Related links: Gladstone Free School becomes the second in Brent to defer opening this yearGladstone School plans to open in Neasden