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Planning condition confusion in St John's school row
CONFUSION about the number of teachers and other workers at a Northwood Hills school may have contributed to it being declared in breach of a planning condition, it has emerged.
Nearly 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for staff to keep their jobs at St John's School, Potter Street Hill, which recently lost a High Court appeal against an order to slash numbers.
The private school, which is on green belt land, has submitted a new planning application which would allow it to keep staff numbers the same.
It was given permission to build an extension in 2001 on condition that it did not take on more than 350 pupils and 40 full time staff.
But it claims the total number of staff has not increased since 2001, with about 40 teachers and 25 other staff members always having worked at the school.
It believes the planning condition referred only to teaching staff and hopes the new application will clarify this - allowing all staff to keep their jobs.
The number of students, which at the moments stands at 405, will still have to be reduced.
Residents had opposed any increase to staff or students, complaining about traffic problems during arrival and home times.
The petition, which was set up by staff independently of the school and closed with 1,920 signatures, says it is not staff who cause the problems with traffic.
It adds: "Without the current staff numbers, our school cannot continue to thrive and provide the boys with opportunities to grow and develop into responsible members of the community."
The school also has a separate petition on the community section of its website.
Chairman of governors Johny Armstrong said: "We have never tried to hide the fact that St John's needs around 65 full time equivalent staff in order to operate.
"This arrangement and staff-pupil ratio is in line with local comparable schools.
"It was about the same in 2001 when this first came before London Borough of Hillingdon
"Our application simply seeks to reflect our total numbers, which have stayed roughly the same for many years and we don't plan to increase them at all.
"We're very glad that such a huge number have supported us in this so far."
A date for a decision to be made about the application has not yet been set.
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