New South Wimbledon school opens in September

Harris Wimbledon will open its doors this September following the announcement that the funding to build the new school in South Wimbledon has been released.

This latest news comes in the wake of National Offer Day which saw a record number of students apply for a place at one of Merton’s secondary schools which are the best for progress in the country and are all rated ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Good’.

To meet the growing demand for school places in South Wimbledon where the need is most, Harris Wimbledon will open at the former Merton Adult Education Centre on Whatley Avenue taking in 120 pupils in September 2018 and a further 180 the following academic year before moving to its permanent, purpose built site on High Path in 2020.

The site of the new school is currently occupied by High Path Resource Centre, a former office building as well as Elim Church, the last piece in the jigsaw to secure the land at High Path. Elim church has now signed a contract to swap their land on High Path for Merton Hall on Kingston Road, owned by the council.

As Merton Hall is listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), the council will shortly release a notice for disposal, giving potential bidders six months to submit a bid to buy the site. In the meantime, the council will begin work on Merton Hall to increase its size and capacity.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “Merton is a great place for families and we’ve seen a record number of students apply for a place at one of Merton’s secondary schools, which are the best for progress in the country.  The opening of the Harris Wimbledon school in September 2018 has been essential in us being able to meet that demand for school places and the new school will mean we can continue to educate future generations of Merton children in a Merton school. Our business-like approach has meant that despite being a complex project involving multiple sites across South Wimbledon, we have been able to keep progress on track and ensure the new school opens in September 2018 before moving to its new site in 2020.”

Notes to editor

  1. The Department for Education and Harris Federation have signed the ‘Funding Agreement’, which is the legal document that confirms the legal opening of an Academy school, including its funding.
  2. Despite 274 extra applications received, nearly 85% of Merton’s children have been offered a place in one of their top three preferred schools and over 90% receiving a place at one of their six preferences. Our story about National Offer Day can be viewed here
  3. High Path Resource Centre provides day services for adults with learning disabilities and will be moving to new fit for purpose facilities in Leyton Road in South Wimbledon, which are due to open in October 2018 . The new facility has been designed in consultation with a user group of the existing facility.
  4. The contract with Elim contains a clause which allows the council to accept an alternative ACV bid.
  5. An application to list Merton Hall, was rejected by Historic England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. This decision is currently under review.
  6. Battle Close, former home of Virgin Active in South Wimbledon was ruled out as an alternative site for the new school by the Department of Education