Report confirms new school needed as over 250 more first preference applications come in for Merton secondary schools

Merton’s secondary schools, which are all rated Outstanding and Good, are appealing to parents in ever greater numbers, increasing the urgency to bring a new secondary school to the borough, according to a report published by Merton’s cabinet today.

Parents are choosing a Merton school as the first preference for their child, an increase of 255 compared to last year.

As a result of the increased popularity of Merton’s schools and a rise in the secondary school-age population the report concludes that the addition of Harris Academy Wimbledon is well-timed to meet demand.

The non-selective state secondary school is scheduled to open its doors for boys and girls in September 2018 at a temporary site in Whatley Avenue (SW20) before moving to a permanent new school building at High Path, South Wimbledon in September 2020.

After many years of consultation with parents and exhaustive analysis by the council, the government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) agency and the Harris Federation, High Path has been recognised as being the most suitable site for a new school, with existing users moving to other sites nearby. These include the Elim Church, which provides Merton’s foodbank service, and is scheduled to move into Merton Hall on Kingston Road.

Merton Council cabinet member for education Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah said: “Our state secondary schools are the best in the country for the progress young people make between 11 and 16, as confirmed in the recent government figures. Merton is a great place for families, so it is wonderful to see increasing numbers of parents wanting their children educated here. Any delay to the school will have serious implications for Merton’s parents.

“We have worked very hard with the government and parents to ensure this new school is where there is the greatest need for school places, and provides the best value for money to our taxpayers and a first rate education for our young people.”

Full cabinet report


Notes to editors

  1. The council has received 2,296 resident admissions applications for September 2018, 268 more than last year. Total preferences for Merton schools have also gone up considerably with 255 more parents compared to last year stating a Merton state school to be their first preference.
  2. Harris Wimbledon Academy will provide 1,050 new places: 900 places for 11-16 year-olds and 250 sixth form places. In the first year they will provide 120 year 7 places and 180 places thereafter.
  3. The government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responsible for the funding and building of the new school.
  4. The permanent school site in High Path will need to be cleared before construction can begin in early 2019, with a new school completed by summer 2020.
  5. The council’s Cabinet is due to make a decision on the contractor to manage the relevant construction works to Merton Hall at their meeting on 11 December 2017. These works will enable Elim to move from the site at High Path for the new school to be built and will only be implemented subject to the Merton Hall building not being listed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.