Not too late to have your say on school expansions

Residents still have an opportunity to have their say on proposed school expansion plans that aim to provide an additional 300 primary school places for children in Merton schools.

The increasing demand for primary school places is a trend seen across London with many boroughs struggling to find capacity for children entering reception year.

Residents have until 12noon on Monday 22 November to submit their views and preference for two proposed expansion options that will help meet the increased demand for places over the next two years.

A series of public consultation meetings have taken place at schools across Merton and, between 9 November and 16 November, four more meetings will take place at Bishop Gilpin, Dundonald, William Morris and Singlegate primary schools, giving residents a chance to find out more about proposals and have their questions answered.

Residents can also visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/schoolsconsultations to find out more about the proposed options and to submit their views online.

Councillor Peter Walker, cabinet member for education said: “I want to encourage all residents to have their say on the proposed plans by either viewing the plans online, picking up a consultation document at their local school or library, or attending one of the remaining meetings this month.

“Compared with some boroughs, Merton’s effective planning of school expansions, has meant we’ve had sufficient primary school places for all children in the borough who have needed one to date. But the demand for places continues to rise and we will need to find an additional 300 primary places by 2012.

“The schools we’re proposing to expand are the borough’s most popular and successful schools. This is to ensure that we continue to build on the Merton’s high standards of education, enabling all children in the borough to reach their potential.”

Merton’s cabinet will review feedback from the consultation at its cabinet meeting in December and decide on how best to respond to the increased demand for primary school places in Merton.

Visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/schoolconsultations for more information.

Notes to editors:
· The remaining consultation meetings will be held on:
o Tuesday 9 November at 7pm – Bishop Gilpin CE Primary School, Lake Road, SW19 7EP
o Thursday 11 November at 7pm – Dundonald Primary School, Dundonald Road, SW19 3QH
o Monday 15 November at 7pm – William Morris Primary School, Recreation Way, Mitcham, CR4 1PJ
o Tuesday 16 November at 7pm – Singlegate Primary School, South Road, SW19 2NT

· To meet demand across Merton in 2008/09 and 2009/10 six schools (Holy Trinity, Wimbledon Chase, St Thomas of Canterbury, Benedict, Hollymount and Joseph Hood) provided additional reception year classes with a view to arrangements becoming permanent. Three further schools took an additional reception class this September (Aragon, Cranmer and Bishop Gilpin). Pupil forecasts indicate that up to a further nine forms of entry, making 18 in total, will be needed across Merton by 2012/13. With Bishop Gilpin not confirmed as a permanent arrangement the consultation therefore considers options for 10 additional forms of entry by 2012/13.

-Ends-