Millions of pounds set for Finsbury schools as young population set to boom

Cllr Joe Calouri

Cllr Joe Calouri - Credit: Archant

Millions of pounds is set to be ploughed into schools in Finsbury to combat a shortfall in places as the differing futures of the north and south of the borough are laid bare.

An entire new storey is set for Moreland Primary School, off Goswell Road, as part of a £2.5million regeneration, while the nearby Golden Land Campus, which currently stands empty, could be merged with adjacent land to create a new primary branch of the City of London Academy Islington.

The plans have been put on the table to combat what could be a chronic shortfall of primary school places – up to 120 – projected for the coming years in the south of the borough where development is rampant, while the north looks set for an aging population.

Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington Council’s executive member for children and families, said: “This is more art than science, because we are dealing with children whose parents haven’t even met yet.

“Basically we predict an aging population in the north and shortfall of somewhere between three and four forms [around 28 pupils per form] in the south.”

“There have been a lot of developments in the south and most of the people moving into the borough tend to go there.

“In the north it is more suburban, Victorian town houses. There is no scope for development. It’s built out.”

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The projections are based on Greater London Authority (GLA) data - including the sinister sounding ‘child yield’ - adjusted based on the town hall’s local knowledge.

Cllr Caluori added this is why the town hall are “frustrated” with the ongoing Ashmount School saga.

The future of the site has been the subject of frank discussions since the school announced its decision to move to new £16.5million premises which opened at the start of the year.

The council want to turn it into houses, but a new free school – Whitehall Park – looks set to open in September. The final say lies with education secretary Michael Gove rather than the local authority.

A comprise proposal, which would see the school open alongside 50 new homes, goes before a meeting of the council’s ruling executive tonight.