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School defends 'inaccurate' placement figures

PUBLISHED: 16:56 04 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:14 07 September 2010

Charlotte Newton THE deputy headteacher of a Hornsey school has hit back at claims that it is a third full as incorrect and out of date . Greig City Academy made the headlines this week after the BBC reported that despite being one of the Government s fl

Charlotte Newton

THE deputy headteacher of a Hornsey school has hit back at claims that it is a third full as "incorrect and out of date".

Greig City Academy made the headlines this week after the BBC reported that despite being one of the Government's flagship city academies - which received £13.9million before it opened - it had 319 spare places.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a consultant group, carried out a series of reports on city academies - the brainchild of the Labour Government - which prompted the publicity.

But David Hearn, deputy headteacher, said the story was factually incorrect and the statistics were more than a year out of date.

There are currently 948 pupils at the school, which has capacity for 1,200 pupils, but the 252 spare places are in the older year groups, among children who are taking their GCSEs.

Mr Hearn said: "The data in the survey refers to the position in January 2008, more than 16 months ago. It is out of date and bears no resemblance to the situation in the school at present. The data refers to the school as having 1250 places. This is incorrect the school has a planned capacity of 1200: 200 in each year group 7-11 and 200 in the sixth form."

Greig City Academy opened on the site of the failing St Katherine and St David's School in 2002, after receiving a £13.9million cash injection from the government.

Mr Hearn said the academy had suffered from the reputation of its predecessor school but it was now growing in popularity all the time and its reputation had been bolstered by April's Ofsted report.

Pupil numbers have increased by 34 per cent over the past four years - from 712 students in 2005 to 953 in January 2009.

He added: "It is true to say that some of the older year groups are not full.

"The students in these years were recruited up to five years ago when the school was in transition.

"It is unusual in any school to have large numbers of students transferring once children have started their secondary education.

"It is unlikely that these particular Year 10 groups will fill, because students will have already started GCSE examination courses at other schools.

Mr Hearn said that the school would reach its maximum capacity in September adding: "There is probably not enough teaching space for the 1,050 students we will have in September.

"The school is already planning an extension to the sixth form common room and investigating the possibility of building a new teaching block somewhere on the site."

April's Ofsted report rated the school as "good" and praised teachers for the pastoral care, which was described as "outstanding" in the sixth form.

Up to 100 pupils attend extra classes on a Saturday morning and the head of sixth form takes pupils on outdoor activities two weekends out of every four.

"Our problem will not be too few students, but too many students for our current buildings," Mr Hearn said.

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