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Tottenham independent school applies for 'free school' status
AN independent school in Tottenham whose pupils hail from Turkish-speaking backgrounds faces an anxious wait to hear if it will be granted free school status.
Wisdom School, in Philip Lane, rated 'good' by Ofsted, opened in 2006 under the Axis Educational Trust to address a trend in under-achievement within the community and takes on pupils aged 7 to 16 from Turkish, Cypriot and Somali families.
The Government inspectors praised the school for helping pupils who join the school already at below-average standard but go on to improve at an incredible rate and said GCSE results were good with more work needed in English and literacy.
It is currently over-subscribed by families attracted by the school's ethos of high expectations and strong discipline in an environment that is sensitive to their educational needs.
Headteacher Ramazan Guveli said: "As a community we have asked ourselves over and over again about why our children are under-performing in school. Of course, speaking English as a second language is a barrier.
"State schools already face many challenges, so we appreciate there may not be time to address the issues of this one particular group, but we are happy to do the job ourselves."
Achieving free school status under education secretary Michael Gove's flagship policies means Wisdom would gain state-funding allowing it to expand to two-form entry from Year 1 to Year 11 and take on pupils who would otherwise not be able to afford the fees.
It would retain total control of its budget as well as determine the pay and conditions of its staff.
Mr Guveli said: “It really appeals to us is that we can set out what we expect from our staff. We do not want to have teachers who approach this as a 9am to 3.30pm job and complain if they are asked to do more than they would in a normal school.
“If parents send their children to Wisdom, they have high expectations and want to see their children progressing. We need staff who will go the extra mile.”
The Trust handed in their application to the Department of Education last October and are now expecting a decision at any moment.
If approved, the school hopes to keep their current building for primary school with 100 places, and open a second building for secondary school with 250 places in Palmers Green, Enfield. Currently, there are 80 pupils on its books.
The school hopes to follow in the success of an application from parents and community members who are on track to open Haringey's first Jewish school.