I am astonished Aske’s is being considered for this site. They were turned down for a similar project in Dulwich for good reason; they failed to notice millions of pounds being stolen; their results at the flagship Hatcham school have been falling steadily for ten years in spite of constantly being massaged; the results at Knights Academy school are appalling and the Ofsted report there was very bad; the staff turnover at all schools is extremely high; there was according to friends of mine very nearly a strike at Hatcham (the supposedly good school in the chain) over bad working conditions; anecdotal reports from teachers about the federation appointing lots of senior managers at their schools and losing or forcing out their most experienced teachers to save money.
All in all, I wouldn’t trust them, certainly wouldn’t send my own children there. They're not a safe bet in terms of management style or providing a good education. Southwark deserves better.
Aske's in New Cross, going back to the late 1990s, was an excellent school and was massively oversubscribed. I have no direct experience of it - I didn't go there - but if I had a choice between, say, Harris and Aske's I'd pick the latter. I think a 74% pass rate for 5 GCSEs is very good and from my recollection of research done in preparation for my son's transition to secondary school a few months back would beat most, if not all, Southwark "state" schools.
HAHC has always been a good school because it had strong reliable staff, a good work ethos and an expectancy that pupils would achieve their best. Results are as much to do with the intake than the people running the school. Askes (both girls and boys school which were run independently) had relatively average results when they were local authority schools, when they merged to become a CTC the results improved every year and were well above average. The difference? When it was a CTC it had 'selective' entrance. Haberdashers' Aske's Knights Academy which is also in the Federation has below average results yet it is run by the same CEO and management team, however, it has a more run-down catchment area and this would explain the difference. I think the main point I am trying to make, is that it is more important to query how the school will be run than who runs it. I would be more interested in looking at their recruitment and retention policy, and clear details of their catchment area. I would also want to keep a strong eye on the pay scale because HAHC is very top heavy. The management team - last time I looked - had a combined salary of between £1.2 and £1.4m which is equivalent to about 48 teachers. This may be the same for the Harris schools too; I don't know much about them.
My issue is not with the school per se, but with its size.
At the moment it's a quiet residential area and I believe 1150 students (900 + 250 sixth form) will have a massive impact on the area and not a positive one.
Also I've lived in the area for many years now and I don't see that many teenagers around. When they say there is "demand for secondary places in the area" maybe they mean there is need in nearby areas (Elephant? Camberwell? Old Kent Rd?).
Regarding the homes I was just wondering who's going to pay 500k+ (the price of a one bed in the area) to live on top of a huge secondary school?
Do you have knowledge of the current state of provision of secondary places in this part of Southwark, Marco?
Would you like families to be able to bring up teenagers here, or would you prefer what happens to a large extent at the moment which is that people have a baby here, possibly stick it out until primary school (although a lot of folks move out of SE1 before that point), and then tend to move out of Inner London before their children go to secondary school?
There's a lot of discussion on here from time to time about social cleansing in relation to capping of benefits. Not so much about the practical difficulties of bringing up children when (1) there's forecast to be a shortage of school places, and (2) a significant proportion of those places aren't actually available unless you're a practicing member of one or another faith.