New School For South Wimbledon In Education Plan

Council to consult on strategy for extra school places

A new primary school could be set up in South Wimbledon as part of significant plans to expand the number of school places in Merton.

Councillors are to consider a strategy to create 300 extra primary school places in 2011/12 and 2012/13, including using the South Wimbledon Youth and Community Centre as a school.

It is also proposed that the following schools will have an additional form of entry added in 2011: Singlegate in South Gardens, Wimbledon; St Mary's in Russell Road, Wimbledon; Gorringe Park, Williams Morris, and Liberty in Mitcham; Morden.

Two other primary schools, yet to be confirmed, will also have an additional form of entry added in 2011. Dundonald, in Dundonald Road, Wimbledon, will get an additional form of entry in 2012.

The plans to provide a primary school in the youth and community centre in Haydons Road could involve partnering with a neighbouring primary school.

The council will be considering three costed options around the proposals, with discussions to take place at the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel on Wednesday and then the council's cabinet on October 11.

They are also seeking views of all those affected, including a half-day conference for school heads and governors in the council chamber on October 16.

Councillor Peter Walker (left), cabinet member for education, said: "In the period 2007/8 to 2013/14, we predict that we will see a rise of 30% in the number of young children entering our schools.  Already this academic year we are nearly 14% up on 2007/08. We also have a duty by law to accommodate these children in classes of 30 children or less.

"Our overriding aim has been to ensure that this legally required growth in our schools is driven by three priorities: Excellent in educational standards, sustainability and value for money.

"We are determined to involve the parents in any of the proposed schools. So a letter has gone to all parents, teachers and heads in the schools we are considering for expansion. Preliminary talks have already been conducted with the head teachers, and chairs of governors of these schools by council officers.

"The timetable is quite tight. We need to provide some accommodation by next autumn so we need to decide the best sites for expansion by early December 2010. This will ensure that parents with children wishing to enter our schools in September 2011 know what their choice is.

If approved at the October 11 cabinet meeting, the proposals will go out for public consultation to give schools and residents a chance to have their say. Members will review results from the consultation at the December 6 cabinet meeting where a final decision will be made.

September 27, 2010