Oak Lodge School, Barnet: The Windmill School

The Windmill School

16th March 2018

In September 2016, the Secretary of State for Education approved plans to open The Windmill School at a location in the Barnet area. The Windmill School will be a specialist school for learners aged 5 to 18 years with a diagnosed autistic spectrum condition and an Education, Health & Care Plan. When full, it will offer places for 90 children and young people whose autism is the major barrier to their learning and who would find the busy environments of either mainstream or generic special schools too challenging.

Progress in the search for a suitable site for The Windmill School was discussed at a recent meeting of Trustees. Current government policy is that free school sites will be acquired by the Education and Skills Funding Agency through their property company LocatEd. This means that neither Barnet Council, Barnet Special Education Trust or The Windmill School Development Group have any control over the acquisition or purchase of a suitable site. In the last 12 months, at least 10 different sites have been considered at locations across Barnet. Offers have been made for suitable sites but have not been successful due to the current high value of land.

We received tremendous interest from parents across the local area and beyond for our original proposal, and we are sure those parents must share the frustrations of the Development Group at the delay to our progress. We must all come to terms with the extremely challenging commercial and regulatory environment in which we are trying to establish the school. We will continue to work closely with officers from the Department for Education, Education and Skills Funding Agency, LocatED and the London Borough of Barnet to ensure our vision will eventually become reality. In addition, we must also accept that the school will not open until approximately 2 years after a site has been secured and that our patience will continue to be tested during this time.

We will only hold further events for parents, carers and other interested groups once a site has been secured and we can be confident of an opening date. If you would like to register your interest, please consider completing our Expression of Interest Form. If you would like to know more, click here. If you require further specific information, please get in touch by emailing bafs@oaklodge.barnet.sch.uk

 

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