Proposed new secondary school for Merton - an announcement is imminent.(18 Posts)
Following on from a Twittercon yesterday, Martin Whelton (Merton Councillor) commented thus (in response to a request for an update on the status of plans):
" I understand that an announcement on the new secondary school will be made in the next month."
So watch this space for more info, hopefully coming before the end of this school academic year.
We wonder whether announcement will be an update on the previously announced Harris Academy Wimbledon plan (which seems to currently be 'on pause', judging by their website information), or something entirely new?
Looking at a map of Merton, it seems as if the gap in secondary school provision currently lies in the South Wimbledon/Colliers Wood part of the borough. Is there space to build one there though?
What do you think? Will it help prevent some of the 'brain drain' of secondary school aged pupils out of Merton? Yes or no?
We'd love to hear what you think.
Don't think we'll stop the 'brain drain' out of the borough unless they build a grammar school TBQH.
Although a new school in Colliers Wood/South Wimbledon might bridge the 'divide' which is all too evident in Merton.
Can't think of a suitable patch of land where they could build one in South Wimbledon or Colliers Wood - every available square metre of land seems to be designated for housing/commercial development.
Presumably it will another 'academy' school. Not convinced it will stop the brain-drain of secondary school aged pupils out of the borough though. Most who are (state) schooled elsewhere are seeking 'selective' schooling of some type (whether academic or related to some specialism) which evidently won't be provided by Merton Council.
Unless they use a building already in situ, a new build secondary school wouldn't be open for at least a couple of years - so only an option for current Year 4s and below, I would have thought.
With yet more housing blocks appearing in Colliers Wood the need is ever increasing, I'm sure there is one industrial estate that could be used for the land and suspect the council have some sites earmarked already.
Interesting tip off from @suttonemma1 via Twitter that "Harris Wimbledon Secondary School – Required Site Approval" is up for discussion this very day by the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Panel. So it is looking likely to be a new Harris Federation Academy for Merton (despite the fact that the information on the related page of the former's website hasn't been updated recently).
Watch this space for more news .
It's official - there will be a new Harris Academy school for Merton - somewhere in South Wimbledon (site to be determined). Confirmation in Wimbledon Local Guardian article published just today.
"Councillor Stephen Alambritis, is confident that it will be up and running by September 2019...In order to ease the pressure on school places before the new school is built, the council are looking into the possibility of providing a temporary school at the Merton Adult Education Centre in Whatley Avenue for 360 pupils in years 7 and 8...If this plan goes ahead, the temporary school will be in operation from September 2018 until the new school is ready."
What do you think? Good news?
According to this article it's going to be situated on the High Path Estate, although not sure whether this will be the new Harris Academy's temporary or permanent location (although assuming the latter).
Personally I'm not sure that it should be in Mitcham though (there is some indication in the article that this is where the need is) because that will automatically put many local families off even considering it as an option.
Ooops, there's trouble in political 'paradise' regarding the proposed Harris Academy Wimbledon:
"Residents and community reps joined a demonstration in South Wimbledon against secret plans by Merton council to build a Harris free school over a local community and resource centre and primary school playing field. Protesters gathered at 8am on Monday 15 August outside the Merton Abbey primary school playing field that will be lost if the council acts on its decision to build a privately-run free school on the site.
Peter Walker, one of the protest organisers, told journalists from London Live and the Wimbledon Guardian that the council decision had been made at a secret meeting on 4 August from which the public and press had been excluded. The move paves the way for the construction of a secondary school for 1,000 children on the local High Path estate. The decision was made despite opposition by representatives of Merton Abbey Primary school who said that these plans would seriously affect the school and its pupils.
Despite the council having identified a number of sites in Mitcham closer to the real demand for extra school places (there are three secondary schools in Mitcham and five in Wimbledon), it is accommodating the Harris Free school because the privately run Harris Academy has insisted the new school be in the Wimbledon area.
The council appears to be unconcerned about the effect of losing a much valued resource centre and about the threat these plans pose to the planned regeneration of the High Path Estate. The centre has been designed to provide specialist care in the area and the council remains vague about plans to replace the facility elsewhere in the borough.
Even with the land grab from the community centre and the primary school, the site will be less than half the area that the Department of Education stipulates as the minimum for a secondary school of this capacity. The academy is able to do this because the school will be privately run and therefore not subject to the same regulations as a normal council-run school.
Merton Council has deliberately tried to keep these plans secret from residents on the High Path Estate and protestors plan to escalate their action and spread the word among local residents, teachers and trade unions.
For more information please contact Peter Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 07715 749 373"
I think the High Path plot is far too small but the likelihood is it will go ahead anyway unless they build up of course. The birth rate is still increasing which is why we have this shortfall in the first place.
For those of you who have an interest in the Harris Academy Wimbledon development, there's a public meeting taking place on Monday, 19 September (7.30pm) at The Parish Hall, St John the Divine, High Path, SW19 2JY.
I'm not sure what to think about this.
On the one hand, we clearly need a new secondary school, given the massive primary school expansion.
But on the other hand, Peter Walker was right (and courageous) about expanding Dundonald Primary School, so he's definitely not a NIMBY who is protesting for the sake of it.
From that same article as 'oops' posted here are Peter Walker's comments he made below the article:
^P Walker 11:12am Sun 25 Sep 16
Just so people know the exact location of the proposed new free school for 1,100 teenagers. It is on a narrow strip of industrial land adjacent to Merantun Way and will have no proper open space for the students.
The site consists of 4 adjacent pieces of land:
• The playing field of Merton Abbey Primary School
London SW19 2JY
• The High Path Community Resource Centre
63 High Path
• Domex Appliance Services
(Merton Council are in active negotiations to buy this warehouse)
• The Elim Pentecostal Church
(Merton Council are in active negotiations to buy this Church)^
It is quite a tiny piece of land. Not sure how they'd get 1,100 teenagers on there. I have to say from our point of view I like the location... would be great for my DC - but is it right to build a school that has no outside facilities at all really?
I have mixed feelings.
I'm not convinced the permanent site would be without proper grounds - maybe just the temporary one (which I think is supposed to be only for a year or so so there wouldn't be anywhere near 1,100 teenagers using the space?).
It's to be noted that quite a few state schools have 'off site' sports grounds so that wouldn't be unusual.
Pity its arrival, in whatever guise, will be too late for my DC2.
Update after a meeting held on Monday evening (21 November).
Merton Council officially announced yesterday the permanent site for a brand new Harris Academy Wimbledon secondary school - to be built on High Path (near South Wimbledon Underground Station), and scheduled to open in 2020. However, the first children to benefit from an education at the school will start in September 2018 at a temporary site in Whatley Avenue (SW20).
The new secondary school site comprises land currently occupied by the
High Path Community Resource Centre, Elim Church and Domex appliance services.
Merton Council Deputy Leader Councillor Mark Allison said: “This new secondary school is in the area of the borough where there is greatest need for school places and will help us meet the demand from those children who finish primary school in 2017."
Harris Wimbledon Academy (which will be a mixed-ability Free School) will provide 1,050 new places: 900 places for 11-16 year-olds and 250 sixth form places.
Read the full article here and for regular updates see here.
Just to flag up that Harris Federation is running some consultation meetings with interested parties and prospective parents of future Harris Academy Wimbledon pupils, at various Merton schools, over coming weeks. Here is the listing with further details, if you're interested.
The first one is tonight, Tuesday 21 February (7pm – 9pm) at Merton Abbey Primary School, High Path, London SW19 2JY.
If anyone attends a meeting it would be great if you could post up a potted resume of issues discussed.
I have it on good authority that - for the current Year 6 cohort - a massive 60% of Merton parents put an out-of-borough school down as their children's first choice on the CAF. Sutton Borough schools were particularly favoured.
Just wondering whether another Harris Academy in Merton will help to reverse the trend? Possibly yes, with the much more MC proposed priority catchment area, but who knows?
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