Merton: dumbing-down Dundonald Primary School?

(219 Posts)
page1 Fri 03-Jun-11 14:15:20

1. Merton Council's consultation process regarding the proposed expansion of Dundonald Primary School(DPS) has now commenced and information can be obtained from their website or that of DPS. The Council has distributed a leaflet to residents for feedback and is due to hold a public meeting on Wednesday 8 June.

2. Disappointingly, the Conservatives, LibDems and Independents have been very quiet on the issue. The Labour Party has given out letters supporting the proposed expansion and, to his credit, Cllr Walker has had the courage to put his personal credibility on the line given his close involvement with the campaign. However, threatening parents/carers that they will have to take their children to school in Morden if the Council doesn't get its way seems a little extreme. Frankly, parents don't care how far they travel if their children can attend an outstanding state school.

2. It seems that the governors of DPS only agreed to an expansion programme on condition that the Council provided more space. The governors knew that this was impossible for the Council to achieve because of the existence of the restrictive covenant concerning the neighbouring park (see the petition on the Council website).

3. The proposal to double the size of DPS, starting with the temporary bulge class, has caused much concern to parents of pupils at the school as witnessed by DPS being forced to issue an explanatory letter and Q&A to try and quell those fears.

4. DPS is a popular school because it had an outstanding rating from Ofsted following the last inspection and it is the ideal size. It currently has around 250 pupils which is the average number for a primary school in England. If it doubles in size, parents fear that standards may slip. Merton has 40+ primary schools of which only 6 were rated outstanding and the majority of those were 1FE schools ie similar number of pupils to DPS.

5. Parents are also worried by the disruption to their children's education that will occur once construction begins on such a small and restricted site with all the attendant health and safety issues.

6. The school currently enjoys a harmonious relationship with the neighbouring community which might not survive if the Council's plans prevail.

7. Somewhat surprisingly, the Council's consultation process takes no account of ethnic diversity.

Please feel free to forward this to and/or discuss the contents with any parents of pupils at Dundonald Primary School who may have concerns about the Council's plans and say NO to the proposal.

PAGE - Parents AGainst Expansion

wimbledonian Tue 24-Apr-12 18:06:54

Primafacie, I'm not completely up to date on how the APA works but I do know that people have got into the school in very recent years (children currently in KS1, so in the last couple of years) who weren't in the APA. So presumably if there are not 90 applicants from the APA places will go to applicants based on distance to school. It sounds like there might be a whisker of a chance for you, would at least be worth finding out.

Primafacie Tue 24-Apr-12 18:48:54

Thanks, I didn't know that! Will definitely put it down as one of our choices then. I know that in 2011 and 2012 they did not allocate any places outside of the APA but you are right, these things can and do change.

We are in a catchment void - too far from all the "local" schools to get in any of them. I know people think I am exaggerating, but seriously, I called the council to find out which school we would have been allocated based on last year's (2011) figures and was told Joseph Hood - that is the 10th school in terms of distance to us!? shock confused

bonita99 Tue 24-Apr-12 20:38:21

Just saw this thread and had to comment...

My son is to begin reception this September and we've just received the dreaded letter that we didn't get into Dundonald or any other Wimbledon primary school but they are delighted to offer us a place at Liberty in Mitcham 2.5 miles away! shock confused
Btw we live within 200m of Dundonald and aren't in the APA area either.

gazzalw Tue 24-Apr-12 20:43:51

I feel for you.... We wouldn't and didn't send DCs to the Liberty - why would you??? Hold out for something better as I'm sure something will come up!

wimbledonian Tue 24-Apr-12 22:51:09

How far did Dundonald entry stretch this year? 200m and no place is just shocking. There is likely to be some movement on waiting lists surely, so get on as many as you can.
Good luck, I really feel for you.

Primafacie Wed 25-Apr-12 00:03:04


The furthest distance from DPS this year is 217m. Bonita, have you checked your distance with the council? They will tell you if you phone them.

shock at you being offered Liberty

lostboysfallin Wed 25-Apr-12 00:13:43

Bonita, what did you put down as your other choices?
Being offered Liberty is just bizarre

wimbledonian Wed 25-Apr-12 00:44:25

I would have assumed that you would have been allocated Joseph Hood, as that's usually undersubscribed. I can't believe they would expect you to travel to Mitcham shock
Primafacie, someone obviously had the same idea as me, as there were no posters up this afternoon and even the music festival poster had been torn down.

designerbaby Wed 25-Apr-12 09:27:32

I think Joseph Hood was full - we weren't offered it and we're EXTREMELY close. Surprised you didn't get offered Hillcross... a BIT closer (but not much). Imagine if you're 200m from Dundonald it would be worth going on the waiting list... Even they must get a BIT of movement.

I'm furious about the sacking of Peter Walker. There appears to be no grounds other than sucking up to a minority group, and a knee-jerk populist response. I too hope he's still watching this thread, and can see the support he's getting.

'Save our [flippin'] Rec'. The only thing which is going is the bowling green. From what I can see of the plans online NONE of the Rec will be touched. I tell ya, I see another one of their hysterical 'bricked up' gate posters, I'll bloody tear it down.

They can't fire me - I'm self employed!


bonita99 Wed 25-Apr-12 10:52:08

Thanks everyone for the advice smile ... we're told that we'll be put on each of the waiting lists of the preferred schools we had chosen once the admissions are confirmed but even then its a long shot.

We were told by the council last year that 200m away was borderline and to say we were shocked and confused by that is an understatement but to be given a place all the way in Mitcham is really unbelievable.

I thought they'd made a mistake so i have rang them and they gave me the same oversubscribed mumbo jumbo !!!

I've been in a state of shock and anger these past few days and seeing those 'Save the Rec' posters everywhere aren't helping my mood either.

And if Peter Walker is following this thread please know you've still got plenty of support !!!

designerbaby Wed 25-Apr-12 10:57:35

It's a nightmare... Have you considered going private? There are a few independent schools in the area who may still have space or could make space, if this is something you could afford and/or would consider...


Primafacie Wed 25-Apr-12 11:27:56

Good luck Bonita. I think (but someone can correct me if I'm wrong) you can also get on the waiting lists of schools you did not apply to. Pretty much any school in Wimbledon would be better than a place in Mitcham!

Also if you really are within 200m of Dundonald you should have been offered a place - they went to 217m this year, so you would have grounds to appeal.

Go tear down some Save our Rec posters wink

designerbaby Wed 25-Apr-12 12:28:48

Let's go down en-masse and take 'em all down...
Safety in numbers - we can take 'em.

wimbledonian Wed 25-Apr-12 14:38:06

Designerbaby, which school were you offered? I assume that because of the WCPS APA many people who would have applied to WCPS previously but were closer to JH are now having to go to JH, thus making it full. It seems crazy that having created so many extra classes, there still isn't space for all the children in a local school.

designerbaby Wed 25-Apr-12 15:07:54

Wimbledonian - we're 10 houses outside the APA for WCPS, and less than 400 yards away from the school gate. In fact, by a quirk of the shape of the AP we're about at the closest point you can be to WCPS without being inside the APA.

We were offered Hillcross - 900 yards in oposite direction from - well, the rest of our lives, really. That wasn't the issue, though, I just didn't like the approach to education there, despite the glowing recent Ofsted. Not for me/us at all. I was a bit disappointed as I had high hopes, but it made my head hurt TBH.


Primafacie Wed 25-Apr-12 15:11:04

According to Merton Council's website, JH was not oversubscribed - all on time applications were accepted: allocation

designerbaby Wed 25-Apr-12 15:44:11

Must have been pretty near, then... because we're REALLY close. We didn't put it down as one of our choices, and it obviously didn't have enough free spaces to offer it as our closest one with space IYSWIM...


designerbaby Wed 25-Apr-12 15:57:04

Thanks for the link Prima,
Just realise my friend missed out on Dundonald by about 20m... Have you seen the radius? That's just nuts...


wimbledonian Wed 25-Apr-12 16:07:13

Wow, some of those sibling numbers are just unbelievable - Merton Park only had 10 non sibling places available. I wonder how far the non-sibling distance extended to. Even with Dundonald, the 217m candidate may have been a sibling and the non-siblings may live within tens of metres of the school shock

wimbledonian Wed 25-Apr-12 16:10:45

This is quite interesting
Various sought after schools do have vacancies in higher year groups, which means it may well be worth staying on a waiting list and seeing what happens (assuming you are happy to move your child mid-year)

wimbledonian Wed 25-Apr-12 16:11:36

I'll try again!

school vacancies

designerbaby Wed 25-Apr-12 16:17:43

That's WEIRD. I thought they allocated you a place at the school closest to you with vacancies... It says Joseph Hood has vacancies ???

Not that it makes a difference, mind.


p.s. I think the only way to get into Merton Park is to pitch camp in the playground and claim squatters rights grin

wimbledonian Wed 25-Apr-12 16:43:04

I think that's current Reception year rather than Reception year 2012-13, but still, it might well mean there are vacancies then as well.

Primafacie Wed 25-Apr-12 16:47:18

Wimbledonian, the way it works is that if you are a sibling, you automatically get in, so that distance is not even considered or assessed by the council. Therefore the distance criterion is always only for non-siblings. So for Dundonald, 217m is the further distance for non-sibs.

I wonder what's the deal around Merton Park, they always have a massive siblings intake! I have visions of families with 10 kids each, living all around the school wink

Primafacie Wed 25-Apr-12 16:48:13

*furthest (not further) distance for non-sibs

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