Support St John's School, Northwood

St John's needs your support BY THIS MONDAY 12th DECEMBER....

We are under threat of losing teaching and non-teaching staff. A Council decision will be made in the next few days in which a number of us may lose our jobs.

The main issue is that the Council feel that staff numbers have added to the traffic congestion on Potter Street Hill, which has caused a few local residents to complain.

We disagree with this because of the following points:

·         Most of the staff at the school do not use Potter Street Hill and therefore do NOT add to the congestion at all.

·         The vast majority of full-time teaching staff arrive well before the parents, and leave long after the end of the school day.

·         Parking is provided for all staff on the school premises, away from any parental traffic zones.

·         Some staff actually live on the school premises or are close enough to walk.

·         Teaching and non-teaching staff numbers have remained in line with those provided by the school in 2001.

·         St John's is simply seeking to maintain the current staff numbers in line with comparable local schools.

Without the current staff numbers, our school cannot continue to thrive and provide the boys with opportunities to grow and develop into responsible members of the community. In the words of the latest ISI Report (Independent Schools Inspectorate Report): ‘Boys….in discussion with Inspectors… were overwhelmingly supportive of their school.’

Please sign this online petition. We can’t underline enough how much difference your support will make.

We the undersigned are writing to you to support the recent St John’s School application to ratify the current staff numbers at the School.

Back in 2001 there were already forty teaching staff working at St John’s. Further to that, there was also at least 20 non-teaching staff working at the School.  It is therefore clear that when the planning agreement was put in place in 2001 it was not specific or accurate in terms of staff numbers. Clearly an establishment such as St John’s will need approximately 60 staff to function properly. Note that the two other local Preparatory schools have very similar staff numbers.

Obviously, traffic has been an issue on Potter Street Hill. However, the vast majority of the staff arrive at work well before 8am (or well after in the case of the kitchen staff, for instance) and leave the premises well after the majority of children are picked up. Therefore, the staff commutes bear little or no impact at all on the traffic queues on Potter Street Hill.

It is also clear that even with the School reducing its numbers down to 350 pupils, there is no way that the School could continue to function on a total of just 40 staff. The School would not be viable and as a result there would be a total of 65 redundancies and 350 children would be looking for a new school. We are sure you will agree that this is certainly not a solution that would be in anyone’s interest. There would be a rather unpleasant knock-on effect on local state and independent schools which would no doubt result in increased traffic away from Potter Street Hill onto the more public routes in Northwood. There would also be an increased burden on pupil numbers on the local state and independent schools.

Returning to the traffic issue briefly, we ought to point out that the School, as of last year, won awards for their work at improving traffic flow by carrying out surveys and putting various strategies into place to improve the traffic flow.

St John’s School has in recent years made useful contributions to the local area through visiting residential homes such Erskine Hall and educational establishments such as RNIB Sunshine House. St John’s School also sponsors the Northwood Hills Christmas Tree and played a major role in leading local schools and the community in their festive celebrations alongside the Mayor who presided over the turning on of the High Street Christmas lights. Further to that, St John’s School has made some phenomenal contributions to charities. In the last nine years the School has made £136,900 in donations to charities such as Great Ormond Street Hospital, Water Aid, the NSPCC and the National Deaf Children’s Society.  We annually observe a two minute silence at Remembrance Day in November and collect for the Poppy Appeal. We have helped build a school in Malawi and closer to hand we engage in conservation projects such as bee-keeping and woodland development. The school is currently running a Tag Rugby Tournament at which local state primary schools are attending. It is fair to say that should the School be refused in its appeal, these fantastic contributions and the level of the school’s involvement with these and future charities and activities will diminish. In the current economic climate this would be a great shame.

Further to the above point, it seems quite extraordinary that any Council would put at risk a perfectly viable and flourishing school because of an oversight over ten years ago and the chagrin of a handful of local residents. The School also has no plans to increase numbers in the future and simply wants to ensure the continued well-being of its staff and pupils.

St John’s is a successful and thriving school. Please allow it to continue that way.

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