Merton Council gave the go-ahead this week to start detailed work on purchasing a site for a brand new two-form entry primary school in north Wimbledon.
The planned development will be the first new primary school to be built in the borough for over 30 years The council has identified north Wimbledon to be a priority area for a new school as in this part of the borough there is, and has been historically, a shortage of primary places. Also, the site constraints of existing schools in the vicinity make expansion particularly difficult.
For the past three years Merton has been under pressure to provide an increasing number of primary school places to accommodate the borough’s rising child population – due in part to the largest birth rate increase in decades. The population rise is also partly the result of more short term issues such as the knock-on effect of the recession and a relatively slow housing market. However, independent projections show much of this increase will be sustained, requiring long-term solutions.
To cope with the borough’s population expansion, six of Merton’s existing schools have already increased their number of reception classes. A new school will complement these expansions, providing the additional places needed.
The council’s ambition is to purchase the site so that construction can start in time for the new school to open in September 2013.
Merton Council cabinet member for children’s services Councillor Debbie Shears said: ‘Building a new school for the borough is a top priority for us, and is literally a concrete example of how we are continuing to put the needs of our residents first.
‘These are exciting times for education in Merton. There is so much happening: as well as planning for a brand new primary school in Wimbledon, we are also increasing our commitment to schools in the east of the borough both by looking at creating Merton’s first combined primary and secondary academy and by investing heavily in primary school buildings there. Not to forget of course the establishment of sixth forms in four of our secondary schools later this year.
‘We want to ensure that all Merton’s young people have the best start in life by providing a high quality education for all.”