Alma Primary School 'given future' after securing permanent site in Whetstone

New school 'given future' after securing permanent site

Alma Primary School published this artist's impression of what the new school might look like

Pupils greeted news of the announcement with cheers at a special assembly this morning

The school opened at a temporary location in Moss Hall Grove, East Finchley, in September

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A new primary school has “given itself a future” after securing a permanent site in Whetstone.

Staff and governors at Alma Primary, which opened in temporary premises in Moss Hall Grove in September, say they are “relieved and elated” at today’s announcement.

From September 2015, the Jewish free school is looking to open new buildings on a former Metropolitan Police site at 1160 High Road, near the junction with Friern Barnet Lane.

The school, which is independent of the local authority, was founded by a group of parents who got together in 2011 before opening to the first intake in September.

Parents were informed about the developments on the permanent site this morning and excited pupils greeted the news with cheers at a special assembly.

Headteacher Marc Shoffren said: “It has been quite a frantic process – we’ve been looking for a site quite intensely.

“There is a huge sense of relief, joy and elation among our parent body. These parents entrusted us with taking on a new entity with no permanent site or track record and they are pleased with the schools progress.

“The site is fantastic, and is a fantastic opportunity for growth. Having been part of the search and knowing how difficult it is to find a site, I’m really happy and looking forward to the coming months.”

The school will now spend the next six months or so working with the Education Funding Agency to put together plans for the new buildings.

Mr Shoffren insisted the governors and staff want to “work in harmony” with the local community to produce plans that fit in with the area.

And joint chairman of governors David Steadman added: “We are committed to being good neighbours to our local community and developing our travel plans in partnership with local residents.

“Alma will also provide a great new facility for local community use outside school hours.”

The development at the former police site will include purpose-built facilities and a renovation of existing buildings.

Plans include a hall space for performance, a library, a sensory garden and outdoor play space with sports equipment.

Mr Shoffren said: “We’re working carefully and slowly with the Education Funding Agency to put together the planning application – we are not going to rush this.

“There really is a sense of accomplishment at securing the site. There was a bit of tension and anxiety before but, now, we have given ourselves a future.”

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