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Abacus Belsize Primary – a free school providing the next chapter in Belsize’s education and in the community it serves
Abacus Belsize Primary is a ‘free school’. This means it is state-funded by Government but run independently of the local council. Free schools are open to children of all abilities and are created in response to what local people want – to ensure that children can get the provision they need locally and conveniently at no additional cost to the communities they serve.
The need to create a secular community school for Belsize was established by local families and campaigners eleven years ago as there isn’t, and never has never been, a single non-faith state primary school serving the whole of Belsize.
It was on the basis of both choice and need that the Department for Education gave the go‑ahead for local parents to open Abacus Belsize Primary School with the support of CfBT Schools Trust in 2013.
Abacus Belsize – at the heart of the community
Abacus Belsize Primary is a small, single-form entry, inclusive school, serving a socially diverse community. It is open to children of all abilities and backgrounds with a catchment that was formed to avoid any undue impact on the catchment of other state schools in the area. It is staffed by fully qualified teachers and is inspected by the Department for Education and Ofsted.
As it was created by the community for the community, the school encourages parents, carers and community members to take an active part in the students’ education.
Believing all children are entitled to enjoy their childhood and live it actively, Abacus aims to make a positive contribution to the development of children as individuals and as members of the community. The school helps its students to become confident learners, and to understand the contribution they can make as global citizens – living lives that make a positive difference. It encourages all students to be creative, open-minded and independent individuals, respectful of themselves and of others in their school, their local community and the wider world.
After six years serving the children of Belsize, first from a temporary home in the old Town Hall on Haverstock Hill and now at the Jubilee Centre near King’s Cross, the school’s founding families will be moving into Year 6 this September and, for the third year in a row, welcoming a new Reception class entirely from within the catchment area.*
Along with great educational achievement, free schools like Abacus Belsize can also deliver a range of benefits to the communities and boroughs they serve. A permanent home at the police station on Rosslyn Hill will enable the school to provide significant additional benefits to the community and local economy:
locating an outstanding secular state school within walking distance of the community it serves
bringing a vacant public building back into beneficial use as a focal point for the local community
preserving, enhancing and maintaining a Grade II Listed building in the Hampstead Conservation Area
promoting sustainable modes of transport in addition to the school’s own car-free policy
providing access for the community to use school hall facilities outside core school hours
offering affordable flexible business enterprise space for local small businesses and start-ups.
* Of the 90 children who started their education at Abacus in 2017, 2018, and again in this coming September’s intake, all are from our Belsize catchment area with the exception of a handful who are siblings of children already at the school.
A new home closer to the community it serves
Rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and now ranking top of all 42 Camden schools for Early Years outcomes, the school wants to develop a permanent home, within safe walking distance of its Belsize catchment area, for the benefit of the children and for many young families in the area.
After nine years of searching more than 70 potential locations, the school is confident that the vacant Hampstead Police Station on Rosslyn Hill is not only an ideal location for its permanent home, but also the only site available.