by Simon Tucker, Chair of Governors
The Charter School East Dulwich has taken a big step closer to opening. We have exchanged contracts with the NHS for the whole of the Dulwich Community Hospital site - except the part being retained for the new NHS health centre. We have also completed on the first two parcels of land – the cleared land to the North East of the site by Jarvis Road and the buildings known as the cottages in the South West of the site. If you are walking past the site, you should see hoardings and signs with our logo going up within a few weeks.
This is a huge step forward. We have been in constant dialogue and negotiation with the NHS regarding the acquisition of the hospital site since the Department for Education authorized us to open a free school. Many local parents have understandably been concerned that delays with the site acquisition could set back the school opening date. Well, finally we have a deal. Finally, that risk is behind us.
We now own the land on which we will build two thirds of the classroom space, our sports halls, cafeteria and most of our specialist facilities including science labs, food tech, music and design and technology rooms. We also own the land on which we will build our temporary home.
For now, the main hospital buildings remain in NHS ownership, pending the opening of their new health centre. We have designed the school buildings so that we do not need this last parcel of land to run a fully functioning school until we are near full capacity across all year groups. We are now masters of our own destiny. We can get on and build our school.
You can take a look at our emerging plans for the school buildings and site here and many people came along to our consultation event last night where we were happy to talk through them and get views from the local community. If you missed that, we’re holding a second event this coming Saturday – you can find details here.
Our Design Users Group has been working hard to develop a plan that gets the most from the site, allows us to also have our temporary site whilst we construct permanent buildings and fits into the local environment. It’s chaired by Vice-Chair of Governors John Godfrey who is leading on everything to do with the site and who will be writing the next blog post.
Simon Tucker, Chair of Governors
8 October 2015