Merton Council officially announced today the permanent site for a brand new secondary school which will be built in Merton, ready to open in 2018.
The school will be called Harris Wimbledon Academy and is to be built on High Path, not far from South Wimbledon Underground Station. The new building is set to open in 2020, but 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 government’s Education Funding Agency (EFA) is responsible for building the new school. The council is working with the EFA to ensure the school is value for money for Merton’s taxpayers.
The development of Harris Wimbledon Academy follows the borough’s successful primary school expansion programme, which created over 4,000 new school places to meet unprecedented demand from parents who want their children to be educated in Merton.
The new secondary school site comprises land currently occupied by the following:
- High Path Community Resource Centre
- Elim Church
- Domex appliance services
A small part of the Merton Abbey Primary School playing field (approximately the width of a tennis court) will also become part of the site, and in return Merton Abbey pupils will have access to a three court artificial grass facility on the Harris Wimbledon site. Other improvements will also be made to Merton Abbey Primary School’s grounds. The council is working with Merton Abbey Primary School to ensure pupils at both schools benefit from the new development and resources.
High Path Community Resource Centre
As one of the organisations that will need to move as a result of a new school being built on High Path, the High Path Community Resource Centre will be going to a new home at Leyton Road in spring 2018. This is about a 10 minute walk from their current home. Over £1 million will be spent on adaptations and an extension to ensure this building is fit for purpose as a replacement facility, with the majority of the funding being provided by the EFA. The council is working with users and carers of the centre to ensure it meets their needs.
Elim Church, Merton Hall and South Wimbledon Community Association
As Elim Church will have to move from High Path to make way for the new school, the council will be providing and adapting a replacement facility for the congregation at Merton Hall. The hall is currently leased to the South Wimbledon Community Association. The council has in turn agreed an alternative facility for SWCA at 3 Pincott Road, SW19, and use of the hall for community groups at All Saints C of E School, Haydons Road out of school hours. This will ensure community groups continue to have access to a local facility within South Wimbledon.
Providing an education for Merton’s young people
After many years of exhaustive analysis High Path has been recognised as being the most suitable site available in Merton that could accommodate the number of children the council needs to provide with a secondary school place.
In addition to building the new school, the council will be expanding Harris Merton in Mitcham, to provide 300 extra places, meeting demand in the east of the borough. These places will be available from September 2018.
Merton Council Deputy Leader Councillor Mark Allison said: “More and more families want to make their home in Merton and parents will be delighted that we will finally be able to offer them greater choice with a good new school in the heart of the borough.
“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.
“The Harris Federation has a great deal of experience in providing good quality education and resources both in Merton and across the country.
“The new school will offer value for money and shows that even though the economic situation for councils is very challenging we can still provide quality facilities and a great opportunity for our young people to get a good education and have a great start in life.”
The council will be updating its website to provide residents with the latest information on the school development: www.merton.gov.uk/harriswimbledon
Notes to editors:
- Harris Wimbledon Academy will provide 1,050 new places: 900 places for 11-16 year-olds and 250 sixth form places.
- As directed by government, Harris Wimbledon Academy will be a Free School. It will also be mixed ability.
- The government’s Education Funding Agency (EFA) is responsible for building the new school.
- The current site will need to be cleared before construction can begin in autumn 2018, with a new school completed by summer 2020.