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The Charter School

East Dulwich

Arrived at base camp

by John Godfrey, Vice Chair of Governors

We are embarked on a remarkable journey. With the exchange of land for the site of our new school we’ve arrived at base camp. As a team we are thoroughly excited to be setting off on the next phase as ‘masters of our own destiny’. It certainly feels different and very energising to be in this position, with our site secured.

My role at the new school is Vice Chair of Governors and I hold the responsibility of overseeing the ‘premises’ project work. This means the delivery of the buildings, site and environment that gives teachers, Trust, Governors, the DfE and, most importantly, you - our founding parents and students - a world-class learning environment. I am a volunteer with experience of long, complex project delivery and I have a deep interest in delivering excellent education for all in our community.

I thought it worth jotting down some of our expectations as the programme of work unfolds over the coming years and consider the impacts on your children, particularly the founding cohort.

Over the next few weeks you will see hoardings go up around the two parcels of land we have taken possession of. These are in the north east running along the ‘rear’ of the site, from Jarvis road, and the western end where the derelict housing blocks are currently. In November we will go through a planning approval process for our temporary school, to be sited (ideally) in the north east corner by Jarvis Road.

Subject to planning approval, we will be developing a small, but perfectly formed, new school, housed in temporary buildings for the first two years. The Education Funding Agency (EFA) provide the money for the development of the school and set the specifications for the temporary accommodation. While our first 120 students are housed in temporary buildings, construction will start on a large state-of-the-art teaching facility and sports complex elsewhere on the site.

The teaching facility will be multi-story and incorporate all the specialist teaching rooms we will require, including science and art, ready for occupancy in our third year of operation. This building will provide over 65% of the total teaching space required for the whole school. Coupled with the sports and drama facilities it means we will have everything we need for a rich learning environment as the remaining parts of the site are completed. Every student will have a fully rounded curriculum delivered on the school site as they move through their schooling. 

Alex Crossman and I are exploring the many ways we can take full advantage of the design and build process to weave varied, engaging elements into every student’s experience of founding our school.

It was wonderful to hear the news last week that another south London school, Burntwood School, won the Stirling Prize for architecture in this year's awards: www.Architecture.com/StirlingPrize/Awards2015.aspx. This has invigorated everyone involved in our project to strive for an excellent campus site. We are working incredibly closely with the EFA and Southwark Council to deliver a brand new community asset for future generations. Alex and I will be visiting Burntwood, among many other top quality examples, over the coming months.

Please keep an eye out on our web site and through our community consultations for more detailed information and opportunities to engage, as we move through the design process. We are very keen to involve parents, community members and students in every aspect of our plans. You can reach me directly at jgodfrey@chartereastdulwich.org.uk.

John Godfrey, Vice Chair of Governors

23 October 2015