Will They Ever Learn?

Won’t somebody think of the ‘ickle children? Oh, it looks like they already have but in the hard-to-follow world of free schools, academies and the like it’s not always clear to normal Twickenham folk what’s going on. Here’s a quick update on some school shenanigans going on Twick-side…

The grand vision of creating a Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus (aka REEC. Reek! Really??) is now with El Brute’s planning department and awaiting your insightful comments. “And what is this grand vision?” we hear you cry. Well, if you’ve blatantly chosen to ignore all previous and coverage of this scheme then what you need to know is that the ‘campus’ will be created on the current site of Richmond College (aka RuTC) in Egerton Road, Twickenham. It will feature new college buildings, a new inclusive secondary school, the re-located Clarendon School and a new Haymarket Media ‘tech hub’. Given the pressure on school places and on suitable sites it makes sense to make better use of this land and the business and community links it proposes sound interesting. However having a college, a secondary school, a school for pupils with special needs and an ‘enterprise hub’ all on the one site does sound, well, a bit cosy. And this cosiness might extend to traffic and parking issues too and not just to the pupils, students or ‘uniquely individual learning-receptors’ or whatever it is their human rights entitle them to be called these days. You can of course have your say on the LBRuT planning pages. Alternatively feel free to mutter them to yourself or simply post them on here.

Richmond College, Twickenham

Richmond College, Twickenham

Turing House – the school with no home – is no longer homeless. It’s up and running at its temporary location in Queens Road Teddington. As you will recall, the school had real problems finding a suitable site. The original plan was to find a place in the Twickenham area but the focus then moved Tedd-wards with NPL being a strong possibility. After that didn’t happen, two main options emerged, one being at Udney Park Road in Teddington and the other at a site owned by Hounslow Council off Hospital Bridge Road in Whitton. It’s this Whitton location that is set to become the school’s permanent home. Cue much debate about the site itself versus the ‘centre of gravity’ when judging distance from the school for admissions purposes. The current ‘admissions point’ is in the DMZ between Teddington and Fulwell meaning the effective catchment area covers parts of Teddington, Fulwell, west Twickenham but not much of Whitton. When the new site is developed it is expected that school places will be offered on two different criteria, the majority linked to the admissions point (wherever that ends up) and one based on the school building itself.

Another school now operating out of a temporary base is the new Deer Park School run by Bellevue Place Education Trust. Early expectations were that a new Bellevue ‘Richmond Bridge’ primary school would be based in the East Twickenham area, possibly on the site that may eventually become a Lidl, but with TW1 options not working out the school found alternative premises in the form of the London House office block on the Lower Mortlake Road. A major refurbishment is planned to ‘schoolify’ the building and in the meantime Deer Park School is based at Richmond Adult College in Richmond. Does that mean the end of the aspirations for a Bellevue run school in East Twickenham? Not necessarily. Their website says, “Bellevue Place Education Trust remains committed to opening a school in the St Margarets/East Twickenham area and will work hard to deliver on the promises they have made to the community”. To be continued.

And finally, Twickenham Primary Academy, run by GEMS Learning Trust, has opened to new pupils in what was previously the Heathgate House office building by Twickenham Green. The choice of building – empty office plus car park in an area of narrow side streets – didn’t exactly meet with rave reviews from you lot when we mentioned it on here late last year but, as they probably say somewhere or other, “If not here, then where?”

Heathgate House car park / Twickenham Primary Academy playground

Heathgate House car park / Twickenham Primary Academy playground

So, what does it all mean? You went to school once, you bloody decide!

* Richmond upon Thames College Site Development planning application
* REEC – Richmond Education & Enterprise Campus
* Turing House School
* Deer Park School
* Twickenham Primary Academy


Filed under Local Issues & News, Schools

13 responses to “Will They Ever Learn?

  1. Clancy

    The REEC proposers have done such a good job of saturating people with consultation fatigue that I don’t suppose they’ll have too many problems with their current planning application. All but the immediate residents switched off long ago. At one point it felt like.that scene from the first Harry Potter movie where there were letters about Hogwarts pouring through doors, windows and chimneys.

    It would be interesting to know what the cost of all those glossy leaflets has been. No wonder they need a publishing company as a sponsor!

  2. The Standard (10 Sep) has: Lidl: Supermarket to open dozens of new stores in London’s ‘Waitrose country’:

    “Cut-price grocer Lidl is planning an audacious assault on . . London with dozens of new supermarkets in some of the capital’s most desirable neighbourhoods . . (it) is looking for 281 new locations within the M25 . . the chain . . has previously shunned London’s middle-class neighbourhoods where higher rents have made it harder to make the low-cost model viable. However the company . . has made huge efforts to make the brand more attractive to wealthier shoppers by initiatives such as stocking more expensive . . wines such as a £39.99 Saint-Julien Grand Cru Classe.

    The scale of Lidl’s ambitions was revealed in a brochure for commercial property agents entitled: We’re in the market for property. It says (they are) looking for ‘standalone’ sites of between 10,000 and 28,000 sq ft. . . the property wish list of 281 features many affluent addresses including Chiswick, . . Barnes, . . and Wandsworth that were previously uncharted territory for Lidl . . ”

    The omission of Richmond suggests that they plan to go ahead on the East Twickenham site, perhaps launching it as Richmond Bridge Lidl to emphasise its proximity and leading on the good value wines – as it can be hard to get Richmondites to cross the bridge. The site’s strong point is that it lies on 6 bus routes, so that 30 buses an hour pass it in each direction in the day.

  3. illiad1

    Please, it is Richmond UPON THAMES college http://www.rutc.ac.uk,
    unless you mean…
    Richmond university – http://www.richmond.ac.uk
    Richmond Adult Community College, near Richmond station..
    or even richmond college in Yorkshire!!!

    lots of confusion for students, and even ‘the guardian’ that says
    “The principal of Richmond College has promised…{blah, blah..}
    Residents living around the Twickenham college… {blah, blah..}
    RUT College is simpler???

  4. Riverside Voter

    Whilst obviously it would be better of Turing was where it was originally wanted and needed but they at least are saying they want to work with their local community to ensure they are an asset to where they will end up and aim to come up with both an admissions and transport strategy accordingly, including the provision of school buses for those pupils travelling from the area of most need for school places.

    Meanwhile in the centre of Twickenham we already have the plans to cram a primary, secondary and (Strathmore), all without local catchments, on the Clifden site accessed only by narrow roads with dangerous dog leg corners, regularly snarled up by fuming commuters ratruning to and from London Road.

    As with the Deer Park School, Turing and REEC sites the potential impact of these plans is beyond anything already seen in the borough and the “green travel plan” (which most of us will be familiar with as something we got a questionnaire about from school and never heard of again) included in the Planning Application seems to have been put together on the back of an envelope (including data collection via a show of hands in class and some adding up that wouldn’t get you through the Key stage 3 levels). That and the blind optimism of the parents supporting the plans who assure that it will all be fine should be marked “could do better”. There is absolutely nothing in there to assure residents that any further problems are going to be managed and it certainly won’t reassure parents facing similar future developments.

    We live in a crowded suburb and we need school places, but the impact needs to be managed effectively. Lets hope Lord True, his Planning Committee and the Riverside Councillors get their red pens out and make them try harder.

  5. Mark

    The Turing House thing is a bit weird. The one thing you’d expect they’d need to get kids from the lower reaches of Stanley Road to Whitton is a bus. There isn’t one that goes that way.

    Otherwise, you need either to drive them (not great for the environment or the parents sanity trying to get round Hospital Road roundabout) or have your 12 year old tramp across the A316.

    Although, at our end of Twickenham unless you can go private or your child is either Catholic or a girl, I’m at a loss which school they can go to that’s in the catchment area and doesn’t have ofsted breathing down their necks

    • Clancy

      But there is a bus Mark – the 481. It just needs to run more frequently during the school run. Not exactly a big problem to solve is it? And for those that walk, there is a bridge over the A316. It’s closer than Orleans Park or Teddington School for many kids in Fulwell. You’d think the A316 was the Grand Canyon from the way some people talk.