I walked past this yesterday.
Shot up with impressive speed, it’s the new Heartlands High School running alongside the railway tracks close to Alexandra Palace in Haringey. On a small site, an imaginative design looks to be heading towards a successful conclusion. I’m not as well versed in that borough’s politics but maybe it could be inspiration for Camden, where councillors and officials faced with a similar pressure for school places (a) needed parents to find them a site for a new secondary school in the south of the borough and (b) became mired in one controversy after another with their attempts to build an academy in Swiss Cottage.
It’s true that the project for a new school in Haringey had a jumped start on Camden’s plans to do something similar, but while a brick has yet to be laid on the UCL Academy – first classes at Heartlands are due to take place later this month. Could it be that Haringey benefited from keeping things simple? The new school isn’t an academy. There isn’t an outside sponsor to keep sweet. It’s laid out as a traditional comprehensive, answering to the council. The hope is that it will slot right into the borough’s family of schools and help provide consistency.
There are few examples like that left anywhere in the United Kingdom. Maybe if more new school projects had followed this path the bureuacracy that Michael Gove and the Conservative and the Lib Dem coalition detests in the Building Schools for the Future programme may never have mushroomed.