Expansion and Merger with Ark Paddington Green Academy in 2019

Expansion and Merger with Ark Paddington Green Academy in 2019

In September 2019, King Solomon Academy expand through merging with Ark Paddington Green Primary Academy, with pupils and staff from both schools coming together. The school will grow to being 3 forms of entry from Nursery to Year 13. This will create one, larger, all through community. This page lays out what this means for current and future pupils and how the expansion and merger will work.

Leadership roles

The following roles have been confirmed:

Ms Deeks: Head of School (Nursery to Year 4)

Ms Humphreys: Associate Principal – supports Mr Haimendorf on the running of the overall school and focuses on Primary (Nursery to Year 6)

Mr Haimendorf: Principal – Overall leader of the school with a focus on Secondary

Mr Rimmer: Head of Secondary (Year 7-13)

Timings of the school day

The timings of the school day are outlined below

These have been consulted on at length with parents to provide a stagger between drop off and pick up so that families with children on both sites can attend both sites. The other major change is to slightly reduce the current day for younger pupils. We feel for our youngest pupils they will thrive with a slightly earlier finish, whereas the older children will still benefit from finishing at 4pm. The Monday early finish will continue.

Uniform

All KSA pupils’ uniform will remain unchanged. Years 5 and 6 will continue to wear the KSA Primary uniform. As is usual, pupils moving into Year 7 will need to buy the Secondary uniform, and pupils moving into Reception will need to buy the primary uniform.

Transition of pupils

There is already a lot of planning that has gone into making the transition a success:

  1. Ms Humphreys, Ms Eyre, Ms Guest will all be heavily involved in the Younger Years Site next year providing continuity of leadership.
  2. It is our hope and intention for all the teachers to stay with us into next year, and the expectation would be that the majority of teachers teaching with these year groups would move across to the other site, providing continuity of relationships.
  3. There have already been and will continue to be a range of shared learning events between the sites, so that pupils and teachers can get to know each other and the Younger Years site.
  4. The curriculum is exactly the same across both schools so pupils will not be dealing with any changes.
  5. The behaviour system is exactly the same across both schools so pupils will not be dealing with any changes.
  6. There will be explicit “transition days” in the summer where we will ensure that pupils are introduced to the new site and be ready for September.

 

Why expand and merge?

The opportunity to bring together King Solomon Academy and Ark Paddington Green represents a fantastic opportunity to create a high quality all through school across two well equipped sites, which will be able to have a transformational impact on the community it serves. By reorganising the space and making improvements across the two sites Ark Schools and Westminster believe that the needs of the local community will be met.

The merger will achieve the following:

  • Create an extra form of entry at Secondary (compared to the current provision) to meet the shortfall in secondary places in Westminster (King Solomon Academy at secondary age will increase from 60 to 90 pupils per year group)
  • Provide a high quality outdoor environment for the youngest pupils, fully utilising the wooded and spacious environment at the Younger Years Site
  • Ensure that primary pupils benefit from a broad and well delivered curriculum more easily delivered in year groups of 90
  • Allow the school to offer 2 year old provision to ensure pupils get the best possible start
  • Provide a sustainable and broader curriculum offer to pupils of the school from Years 5 to 13
  • Create a tailored Sixth Form Centre allowing pupils the opportunity to have a university preparatory education
  • Over time, through the expansion, to ensure that resources are efficiently used and the school can sustainably offer a world class education

What does it mean for my child who is a current KSA pupil?

Current pupils at King Solomon Academy will benefit considerably from the merger. Next year, and in future years they will receive the high quality all-through education provided by the school.

KSA pupils who will be entering Reception, Year 1, Year 2, Year 3 or Year 4 in September 2019 will attend the Younger Years Site, the current APG site. This site is significantly better equipped for outdoor, with substantial designated Early Years outdoor learning space. The playground facilities are significantly better than those of most primary schools including the current KSA provision. Pupils will move from being in one of two classes in their year group to being in one of three classes. This will mean that the school can provide a richer curriculum and extra curriculum offer, and that the teachers can benefit from more collaboration and support. We believe this will lead to a better provision for pupils.  These pupils will remain at this site until they reach Year 5 when they will transfer to the Older Years Site.

KSA pupils who will be entering Years 5, 6 or 7 in September 2019 will stay at the Older Years Site - the current KSA site on Penfold Street. They will join one other class and be in a year group of three classes. This increase will increase the breadth and quality of the curriculum that we can offer, and ensure pupils can access the specialist spaces of at King Solomon Academy including science laboratories, music rooms, a large sports pitch and sports hall, dance studio and Art rooms. They will have a seamless transition to secondary learning with no changes to the expectations, curriculum approach or culture.

KSA pupils in Years 8 and above in September 2019 will benefit from a school setting with more space and a designated 6th form centre. This will provide appropriate facilities for university preparatory learning and ensure a larger 6th form which can offer a rich curricular and extra curricular offer.

Building works and disruption to 2018-19, and 2019-20 year

In order to benefit from the space and facilities to create more space for our pupils, Westminster Local Authority has committed to funding building works at both of the future King Solomon Academy sites. It is intended for the building work to be phased across the two sites to minimise disruption. The major works at the current APG site will involve the building of the new nursery (where the current portakabins are). This work will commence during this year ahead of planned completion for September 2019. At the current KSA site, there will some disruption but the works will be phased to ensure this is kept to a minimum.

I am pleased to confirm that a contractor has been appointed to build the buildings for the merger and expansion.

Younger Years Site at Crompton Street (Years N-4)

The main building will be worked on in the Summer term (2019) to ensure the main building is completely ready for all the Nursery to Year 4 pupils in September 2019 – we are very confident that this will be achieved and all the current KSA pupils will be able to arrive in a high quality space for the new academic year.

Unfortunately, the building project is complex, and due to these complexities, there have been delays to the project and now building works will not start until Spring 2019. The main impact of this is that the Nursery building will not be open in September 2019, with a projected completion date now of February 2020. However, by not admitting 2 year olds into the nursery until 2020, and by not filling up places in some year groups, we will be able to comfortably house the nursery in the main building for the few months until the new nursery building is complete.

Older Years Site at Penfold Street (Years 5-13)

The 5 and 6 corridor will be worked on between July and December, meaning the Years 5 and 6 will use the spacious rooms currently used by Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 in the North Building for the Autumn Term before returning to their corridor for January 2020.

The new dining hall will be built between July 2019 and March 2020. The pupils will continue to use the primary hall and the music rooms while the hall is built, but will access through the far stairs.

The North Building will be converted into the 6th Form Centre between January and July 2020. This all means that the building project will be finished by September 2020. 

Of these works one development that I wanted to flag to parents was that of the toilet upgrades. The current toilet arrangements mean there is sometimes uncleanliness and poor behaviour – through the building works we have an opportunity to upgrade the toilets to bring them in line with how toilets are built in modern secondary schools. We plan to install a modern toilet layout which include individual rooms rather than cubicles, accessed through an open-to-the-corridor handwashing area. This is the way modern schools are built and represents an improvement on the current dynamic where more open cubicles behind in a large, separate hand washing room have led to some incidents of poorer behaviour and uncleanliness. These changes will be for all of Years 5-11 and should lead to a more mature and respectful dynamic around toilets.  Whilst the rooms/cubicles themselves become completely private, the handwashing area becomes open and observed, which means the opportunity for any inappropriate behaviour is removed.

Impact of works

We appreciate that these will be some disruption around the works, there will be the changes of moving some classes classrooms for a period; pupils will have to move around the site in a slightly less efficient way and there will be some noise. However, we are confident that the very detailed planning that is going into the running of the school will mean that this inconvenience will be kept to a minimum. Building works that create significant levels of dust will be planned for when pupils are not in the building (e.g. the summer holidays).

Next steps and plans for the merged school

We have already received a range of feedback form parents about the way the merged school will be organised. Parents have been very supportive of the plans, but are keen to know all the details, including the arrangements around school start and end times. The school will discuss this further and publish proposed details before the end of Autumn Term.

If you have any questions relating to the expansions and merger, please speak to the staff at the school, including the members of the Senior Leadership Team, Ms Humphreys, Mr Rimmer, or Mr Haimendorf.

On behalf of Ark, there will be a governor drop in on Friday 5th October at 8.45am, for any parents to visit and hear more about the merger and raise any ideas and questions.

 
The APG Information drop-in session is scheduled on Monday 29th April at Ark Paddington Green, 4pm - 7pm.