A flagship part of Merton Council’s long-term strategy to improve education across the borough came to fruition this week, as students moved into the new state-of-the-art Harris Academy building in Wimbledon.
The school, which opened two years ago on a temporary site at Whatley Avenue leased by the council, will provide 1,150 places (900 11-16 year olds, and eventually a 250-place 6th form) in the heart of Merton.
The Council, which supported the opening on a temporary site to ensure demand for school places was met, was responsible for securing the new site at High Path in Wimbledon, including the complex purchase of two parcels of land which were not owned by the authority.
The council then worked to help re-house those tenants – moving the Day Centre to Leyton Road and Elim Church to Merton Hall. Once this was completed, the Department for Education built the school premises.
With state of the art facilities, the school is one of the most modern Academies in the capital. The Harris Academy is designed to further support the ongoing improvements in education in Merton, which have seen all secondary schools rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted in recent years.
Cllr Stephen Alambritis and Councillor Eleanor Stringer (right) being given a tour of Harris Academy Wimbledon by headteacher Jo Larizadeh (centre).
During a tour of the new premises, Council Leader Stephen Alambritis said: “An awful lot of work has gone into making the Harris Academy happen at Wimbledon, and it’s a great example of partnership between the school, the DfE and the Council.
“In addition to all the hard work that’s gone in behind the scenes; the school itself is just fantastic. This is a brand new, state of the art school, which takes pupils of all abilities and offers some of the best education available.
“We are incredibly proud to have secured another step forward for schools in the borough, and very grateful to the staff at the Academy for the fantastic work they’re doing. It is a fantastic addition to the excellent secondary schools we already have in the borough.”
Councillor Eleanor Stringer, Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education, added: “A huge amount of work has gone into supporting improvements in all our schools, to the point where every secondary school in Merton is now rated good or outstanding.
“The Harris Academy brings much-needed school places, a fantastic educational environment and leadership, and first class facilities.”