Merton’s successful £80 million school expansion programme which has seen the creation of over 4,000 new primary school places may shortly enter its second phase as the council seeks to secure land for a new secondary school in South Wimbledon.
Cabinet will consider authorising the purchase of land to enable the building of a new secondary school to be provided by the Harris Federation in South Wimbledon due to open from summer 2019. The proposal was reviewed by the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel on 29 June and will go to Cabinet for decision on 4 July.
The government’s Education Funding Agency (EFA) will be responsible for building the new school. If the purchase of land is agreed by Cabinet, the current site will need to be cleared before construction can begin in early 2018, with a new school completed by summer 2019 at the earliest.
The urgent need for 180 secondary school places by September 2018, may see the former Merton Adult Education site used by Harris as a temporary school, providing education for a maximum of 360 to include year 7 and 8 students only (aged 11-12 and 12-13) while the new school is constructed.
Merton’s secondary schools have shown a dramatic improvement in attainment over the past five years, going from 48% of pupils achieving A* to C including English and maths in 2010/11 to 60% achieving A* to C including English and maths in 2014/15.
Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah said: “Merton has got some great schools that have really improved in the past few years, and demand for places is rising. After creating over 4,000 extra primary places we now need to ensure we have enough secondary school places. We are a business-like council, so any purchase of land to help us deliver the space for secondary school students will offer value for money, but more importantly it will offer local children the chance to get a great Merton education from five all the way through to 18.”
Notes to editor:
For commercial reasons the sites in South Wimbledon need to remain confidential for the time being.
2005/06: number of primary school children attending Merton schools – 12,661
2015/16: number of primary school children attending Merton schools – 16,909