It’s been a while since we talked schools on here. Too long perhaps. So let’s do it right now but let’s keep it brief… Two new primary schools have been approved for the area, both of which plan to open in September 2015. Teacher’s favourite, Michael Gove has given the nod for a Richmond Bridge Primary and a Twickenham Primary. OK, so perhaps he didn’t study the plans personally but they’ve been given the Gove-ahead (geddit?) by his Department for Education. Richmond Bridge will be operated by Bellevue Place Education Trust, Twickenham Primary by GEMS Learning Trust. When running at full capacity these two schools are expected to provide up to 840 primary school places for local children.
El Brute are delighted. There’s a great deal of pressure on school places locally, especially in East Twickenham and St Margarets – after all, who wouldn’t want to live around here – and the addition of four new forms per year group will help alleviate some of that pressure. Both projects now need to complete the tricky task of finding sites.
“Who are the people behind these schools?” you cry. GEMS Learning Trust forms part of GEMS Education which provides a range of education related services worldwide. It’s currently also opening new primary schools in Surbiton and Didcot. Bellevue runs a number of independent schools in the UK, two Swiss boarding schools (that sounds a bit posh, doesn’t it?) and, in September 2013, it opened its first school in the state sector, Rutherford House in Balham.
Meanwhile, El Brute’s grand vision for the redevelopment of Richmond College’s Egerton Road site into an education hub has taken another step forward. The proposal for a new free secondary school there of the non-denominational, non-selective, co-educational variety has also received His Goveship’s seal of approval. The plan would involve the site operating with three separate educational establishments – Richmond College (which would provide the sixth form), the new free school and the Clarendon special school which would move across from Hampton. This new ‘Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus’ is being developed as a partnership between the Council, Harlequins and Haymarket Media. The land would also provide a new base for Haymarket who are seeking to vacate their riverside offices in Teddington. The powers that be expect construction work to begin in late 2015 and the new secondary to open in September 2017. The school would provide five forms per year group.