A free school is an independent, state-funded school set up by members of the community, in our case Saracens Rugby Club, who are filling a need within that community to add to the local family of schools. Our schools are in an area where there is a shortage of places.
Why are you opening the schools and not the local education authority?
The law changed so that local authorities were not allowed to open schools, and the only way a new school could open is as a free school. However, we are in partnership with the London Borough of Barnet because we believe that they should have a role in supporting the school. In turn, we are filling part of the need for places in the borough.
Who are you?
We are a group formed from Saracens, educationalists, and community people. Specifically, we are supported by The Orion and Goldbeaters Primary Schools and Middlesex University.
Do you charge if I send my child to one of your schools?
No, education at our schools is free. In line with other local schools, there will be small charges for lunch and some after school activities.
Who pays for the school to be built?
Who pays for the school to be run?
funds the school directly. In state schools, the funding goes to the local education authority, which retains part of the money to fund central education services, and passes the rest to the school. In a free school, we receive the total amount direct to the school, and this allows us to choose where we buy our services, some of which will be from the London Borough of Barnet.
Are you a faith school?
No, our schools are not faith schools, and we welcome children and families of all or no denomination.
What happens if the Government changes?
The school will not lose funding, and your child’s education will not be at risk.
Who will run the school once it is open?
Each school will have a local governing body, and the Saracens Multi-Academy Trust will be overseeing those individual local governing bodies. These governing bodies will be put together very carefully to ensure that the governors will have the right skills to support each school. There will also be parent governors and staff governors.
Our admissions are run through Barnet School Admissions.
What year groups do you take?
We are only opening with Year 7 children in September 2018 for the High School and will only open with Reception children in Sept 2019 or 2020. We won’t be able to take children in other year groups.
Am I taking a risk sending my child to you?
No, we will have excellent Principals in place to lead each school. They will be from existing schools with a proven track record in providing outstanding education. That will be combined with support from Ofsted, the Department for Education and the education experts on the Saracens Multi-Academy Trust.
My child will always be the oldest in the school, that doesn’t seem right.
We know that the first year group will always be the oldest, and we will ensure they take up opportunities to spend time in other schools in the area to engage with older children. In other new schools, parents were concerned that their children would have no older children on which to model their behaviour. This meant they learnt all their standards of behaviour from the adults, and as a result their behaviour is impeccable!
In addition to the excellent behaviour, the benefits to being the oldest children include developing leadership skills, confidence and being role models.
How will you teach the children?
We will ensure that every child has an individual education, no child will be left behind, and every child will be stretched both academically and personally to ensure they perform to their maximum potential.
How will we know the school will provide a good education?
We are currently being monitored by the DfE to ensure we are developing the right policies, building a strong curriculum and using good practise to recruit our staff. The DfE will continue to visit and monitor us every term until our first Ofsted visit in the third year of operation.
Will you manage behaviour?
We have high expectations of each child, both behaviourally and academically. If a child isn’t quite reaching those expectations, then we will work with them and their parents, to support them in reaching those expectations.
Will you take pupils with special needs?
Yes, we welcome children with special needs and will support them with a qualified Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO).
Will the uniform be expensive?
No. We will be running a tender process to source the school uniform, to ensure it is good quality and good value.
Will you follow the same school hours as the local schools?
The timings for each school vary and depend on the local community and their needs.
How big will the classes be?
We take 150 children in 2018 and 2019 whilst we are in the Besthub site, and once we move to our permanent new building, we will have an intake of 180 children per year. The children will be in classes of no more than 30.
Will you be providing hot meals?
We will be providing hot food at lunch times.
What if we receive Free School Meals?
Who will be in the classroom with my child?
Apart from the class teacher, there may be other people supporting the lessons. These could be a Learning Support Practitioner (teaching assistant), the Principal and students from the University on placements. This is no different to any other school, and the children enjoy having different people helping them with their learning.