Two New Wimbledon Primary School Classes Set To Be Created

Move follows dramatic demand for school places

An extra two primary school classes could be set up in the Wimbledon area by the next school year in response to the growing demand for places.

The governing bodies of two schools are currently being consulted on the plans to create an extra form of entry into each school.

The plans were revealed after figures showed that 22.5% of parents in Merton were not given their first primary school preference for their child in the forthcoming year. This was an increase from 18.5% in 2013.

The figures also showed that the percentage of parents not offered a place at any of their top three school choices fell from 91.9% in 2013 to 89.5% in 2014. It meant 76 children weren't offered any primary place at all, compared with 14 at the same stage in 2013.

Councillor Martin Whelton, Cabinet member for education, said: "We have seen a dramatic increase in the demand for school places in the Wimbledon area. We have created an extra 16 forms of entry in the last four years and nearly 90% of parents were offered a place in their top three school choices.

"But we are determined to address this, and are in consultation with the governing bodies of two schools in the Wimbledon area to create to extra forms of entry."

Plans for a free school - the Park Community Free School in Tyndale House, Dorset Road, Merton Park - have recently been delayed, with parents hoping to send children to the school being told it won't open before September 2015.

And a controversial scheme to add an extra form of entry to Dundonald Primary by expanding the school into Dundonald Rec will soon be going Judicial Review.

Conservative education spokesman, Councillor James Holmes, said: "Since 2010, the Labour administration has opposed allowing free schools into Merton until now when they need one. If they had been more proactive and supportive in terms of finding a school site to recommend to the Department for Education then Park School could have been more certain of its future sooner.

"The overturning of the covenant on Dundonald Rec has been an issue for years and rather than standing there blaming everyone, Labour could and should have been looking at alternatives whilst continuing to work with all parties at Dundonald. Whilst we have supported the school expansion programme, Labour crucially abandoned our plans to build a new school in the borough."

April 22, 2014