Wimbledon schools show support for expansions

Families in Wimbledon are a step closer to securing places for their children in local primary schools following a recent consultation period with both Holy Trinity and Wimbledon Chase Primary.

Last Thursday night Holy Trinity school governors decided to support a move to the next stage of the expansion process with a formal request to the council to proceed with the statutory consultation required for permanent expansion.

The previous week, school governors at Wimbledon Chase Primary also agreed that the expansion of the school was capable of success, provided the right funding, project management and design were put in place.

Proposals for both schools, which aim to ensure the additional places will be available for September 2009, will now be put before councillors at next week’s cabinet meeting on Monday 15 December for consideration. In the case of Wimbledon Chase, the cabinet will also decide whether to apply a specific admissions priority area for the school which would give some priority for the extra places to an area which has recently not been able to obtain a place at a primary school within reasonable walking distance.

Councillor Krystal Miller, Merton Council’s assistant cabinet member for schools says
‘This is good news for the borough. School governors recognise that our population is indeed growing and that there is a very real need for extra places in our schools.

“I’d like to thank governors from both Wimbledon Chase and Holy Trinity for their support with our proposals. The council is committed to ensuring we have sufficient places in our schools for all those Merton children who want them and it’s great to see this vision is shared and supported by our schools too.”

Notes to editors:
· The Borough has been subject to demographic change in recent years, with an actual and forecast rising primary school age population. Across the borough the mid-range forecast for reception year is five additional forms of entry for 2009/10 compared to 2007/08 levels, rising to 12 forms of entry for 2011/12.

· Places in Mitcham for 2009/10 are being provided by means of Benedict and St. Thomas of Canterbury Primary Schools returning to their previous admission numbers.

· The proposed expansions of Wimbledon Chase and Holy Trinity would provide an additional form of entry at each school – a total of 60 places per year in the Wimbledon area, and eventually 420 places across the schools.

· Such expansions require a process defined by law, the first of which is a statutory consultation. This was carried out at Wimbledon Chase in June/July 2008. Extensive consultation has also been carried out for Holy Trinity including the publication of a feasibility study, but an official statutory consultation will be required before deciding whether to proceed with publication of a statutory notice.

· To see a full version of the report to go to councillors on Monday 15 December 2008 which details all recommendations, background information and a proposed timetable for the expansions at both schools, go to the ‘Cabinet’ section of the following page http://www.merton.gov.uk/council/committee to see a full agenda and list of reports for that meeting.