After much delay, it has been confirmed that Croxley Danes School will be accepting pupils from September 2017. The process has taken some time with lengthy negotiations between the County Council and Transport for London over the price of the site but the announcement ends a period of uncertainty for many families. Initially, the school will be located on the St Clement Danes site before moving to the permanent Baldwins Lane location in 2018.
As is always the case with a new school, there will be differences of opinion. I appreciate that many Croxley residents will be concerned about the loss of greenbelt, the disruption caused by the construction of the school and potential traffic problems once completed. But it is also the case that many families have been waiting anxiously for news about the opening of the school, given the shortage of places at other local schools.
No site is without its disadvantages, but the creation of a new school will increase the number of places and the choice available for local families. The fact that the new school will have a close relationship with the very successful St Clement Danes also suggests that it is set for a positive future.
As it happened, a day after the Croxley Danes announcement, I was due to be the speaker at St Clement Danes speech day. I was particularly looking forward to the occasion because I knew I was set to hand out a prize to the Year 7 athletics team, including one of my sons. Unfortunately, the morning before the speech day, the school was flooded and hit by lightning. This disappointed me but my son seemed somewhat relieved that he was spared the embarrassment of listening, along with all his classmates, to a speech from me. He should count himself fortunate. At least, unlike Ed Balls, there is no prospect of me doing Strictly!