Twickenham School Site Saga Newsy Stuff

Massive, great long sagas about school sites. We can only assume these do actually form part of official national policy when it comes to the provision of school places. We just can’t get enough of them can we? Time for an update on sites for much needed local school places? Yep. Then let us begin. And put your smartphone away and pay attention at the back!

East-side: Remember the new Richmond Bridge primary school that was going to be in East Twickenham but then wasn’t and then announced that it was going to be called something else and based at London House on the A316 near East Sheen but then opened in 2016 in temporary accommodation at Richmond Adult College in Parkshot in Richmond? You do? That’s great because you’ve saved us the job of trying to explain it all. Deer Park School it’s called. Anyway, that school has just announced it’s found a permanent home which isn’t London House after all but is in fact Ryde House in East Twickenham. You’d be forgiven for wondering if that wasn’t one of the early suggestions for the school site… because you’d be right. But Lidl (off of cheap food) bought it and that seemed to scupper that. But wait!  Hot news arrives from East Twickenham that  Ryde House is now set to become a ‘mixed retail and school development’. It’s an interesting idea. It could work. But will it work? We don’t know (obviously) but you might. Shopping and schooling on the same site could make for a very busy little corner of the borough.

According to El Brute’s press release Lidl are expected to submit a planning application later this year and so East Twickenham will get its primary school after all. And if you’re a parent with an interest in sending your DS or DD to the school’s new location then there’s a chance to meet with DPS at its current Parkshot HQ on 1st March to hear more about the planned move and about how you can amend school place choices ahead of April’s National Offer Day. At this stage it’s unclear whether Lidl plan to hold an open evening detailing their low cost, in-store offers ahead of their shop opening.

Ryde House, Richmond Road, East Twickenham

Ryde House, Richmond Road, East Twickenham

West-side: Twickenham Primary Academy is another of the new free schools in the borough…No Lidl deal here but you may recall the shenanigans about the school opening at Heathgate House on Colne Road near Twickenham Green. Back in late 2014 there was a lot of consternation about the traffic impact of a new school setting up in the narrow roads in that part of ‘Nam. That debate hasn’t gone away. The school, which is run by GEMS Learning Trust, currently has a planning application lodged with El Brute to formally secure a change of use for the building from office space to ‘state funded primary’.  Given that the school is already open and merrily teaching children it sounds as if the use of the building has already been changed, but what do we know? There’s plenty of support for the change of use on Council planning pages. And there’s opposition too. To summarise: going by the addresses of the respondents, it looks as if parents and prospective parents from across the wider area support the plan whilst locals in the affected roads are less happy. One concerned resident told twickerati, “People recognise the need for primary school places, however, the location is highly unsuitable in terms of access and safety. This area’s already gridlocked in the morning, extra cars and foot traffic generated by 420 pupils plus parents will make it unbearable. Many local residents are saying this is a done deal and fear there’s little we can do to prevent it. It feels like our concerns are being swept under the carpet”.

Meanwhile, a parent of a child at the school said, “Because of oversubscription at local schools TPA was a godsend. It is ideally situated as it caters for children as far east as Richmond Bridge and as far west as Feltham. The school is not only extremely conscious of local residents’ needs and concerns but also offers community programmes and facilities, organises local litter picking and recycling, and – let it be known – is extremely firm about parents not parking near the school, making no bones about telling anyone off for being selfish!”

It’s a tough one given the well-documented need for additional school places across the borough and once again we’re all left to speculate, “If not there, then where?”.  Hey, hang of a second… London House in North Sheen perhaps? We hear there’s a school site that’s just become free over that way.

GEMS Twickenham Primary Academy

GEMS Twickenham Primary Academy

North-side: And lastly, anyone who isn’t yet suffering from consultation fatigue linked to the development of the Richmond upon Thames College site in Egerton Road TW1 has an opportunity to have yet another say on some aspect of the plan. Yes, really. This time it is the ‘external designs’ for the new ‘REEC’ site which require your input. As you must know by now, the site will feature a re-vamped sixth form college, a new secondary school and the Clarendon SEN School. The consultation will be launched online on 29th February and there will be a drop-in session on 7th March from 5.00-7.00pm at RuTC.

 

So that’s all clear then.

Or is it?

You decide.

 

LINKS:
* Deer Park School
* LBRUT Press Release

* GEMS Twickenham Primary Academy
* LBRUT Planning – Change of use (case ref 16/0113)

* REEC

11 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News, Schools

11 responses to “Twickenham School Site Saga Newsy Stuff

  1. David

    So here’s a thing – the Greggs bakery in Twickenham, round the corner from the Heathgate House location of the free school near Twickenham Green, is set to close:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-35695591

    Possible school location?
    Or will this alleviate some of the parking/lorry issues that objectors to the school have brought up?

    Chances are it will turn into a load more housing, making the need for a primary school in that area even greater.

    • Rob

      The thing is the school places are needed now and heathgate house is a more accessible location than greggs.

      Being a larger site greggs could presumably accommodate a larger school and all the same objections would be made anyway…

  2. This week’s print RTT has (p 3): ‘Primary to be based above supermarket’: ‘ . . The school will be based above the supermarket, with a playground at the rear and a underground car park for customers . . ’. It will offer 2 forms of entry. It currently has 14 pupils.

    http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?pbid=c7955673-549d-44a9-9a9c-a642bedeaef8

  3. Sally P

    As an East Twickenham parent who’s son didn’t get a school place at any of our 6 closest state schools last year I am really pleased that progress is being made on providing additional primary school places – particularly in East Twickenham which is a well-known ‘black hole’. (Note for the religious education debate – if we had gone to church – Catholic or otherwise – we would have got a place in a local school – but we didn’t so we didn’t).

    My son was offered a place at Deer Park School (which wasn’t part of normal admissions last year) and with the alternative being forking out £10k+ a year for a private education we very reluctantly went with it. After 1 and a half terms all that reluctance is gone. The temporary accommodation is not ideal but we have come to realise how unimportant that is. What really matters is the quality of the teaching, the amount of love and care in the school and above all the happiness of the kids – all of which Deer Park has in spades. If a place came up today at one of the local state schools we so coveted 6 months ago there is no way we would take it.

    I really hope the whole community can get behind the plans for Deer Park School and that parents in East Twickenham can avoid the tears so many of us have shed over the past few years.

    • Sally P: I am surprised that you think that it was the church places that denied you a place at one of your four local schools, which between them reserve only 30 places out of 240: St Mary’s: 24/90; St Stephen’s: 6/60; Orleans: 0/30; and Vineyard: 0/60.

      Young families have flocked to this small area relentlessly for 15 years now, encouraged by reading league tables and gushing articles first in the Sunday Times and then on the web: it has come as a rude shock to them to discover that others have read them too. Four extra forms of entry have been provided but have failed to keep up with the influx. In suppose that at some point soon this demographic transition will be complete and a new equilibrium will be reached so that numbers no longer increase – but when?

      I’m very glad to hear that DPV is a good school. Let us hope that its new site is ready in time to avoid a move to the horrible site on the A316; its sponsors willingness to accept this site has provoked considerable anger among prospective parents. I am concerned that the new site will be too small and cramped so that there can be no proper playground. That bit of Richmond Road is very busy, choked with slow moving traffic all day, so it is far from ideal for kids.

  4. Sally

    Anonymous..As has been remarked, there are now several Catholic schools locally. You will be possibly be relived indeed that one was given the best central site in Twickemham, school buildings included, at a peppercorn rent .And the right to discriminate against up to 100% of local children on the grounds of religion thrown in!
    Lord True was the fairy godfather responsible, and keen to point out that this outrageous decision mattered little as local children wouldn’t want for places at local State schools. This is why local State children are trying to get an education in an office block., a car park , aisle 3 at Lidl..
    Things have really come on and there is now no need for to travel to avoid hearing about Darwin, contraception or gay rights.

  5. heathfielder

    Or send them to a state school where they can rub shoulders with some broad-minded cultures, darwinists and old-earthers who don’t believe in transubstantiation or systemic child abuse as well-evidenced in one Ealing school.

  6. Queby

    I can feel some sympathy for anyone concerned about the impact of having a school nearby. I live in v. close proximity to 4 schools and am fairly close to another 4. It’s almost a ‘no-go’ area from 8-9.30 am and 3.00-4.30 pm. As for the comment by ‘Anonymous’ regarding the lack of a Catholic school for their son, I’ve never understood why the State should finance faith schools. Surely that’s a personal choice?

  7. Anonymous

    Actually don’t care about Twickenham schools. I’m Catholic no Catholic schools in the borough had to send the boy to a private school which I could not afford in ealling. This borough is sub standard in education.

    • Sarah n

      hmmmmm, no catholic schools in the borough????- are you familiar with Richard Reynolds? St James? St Elizabeth’s? Clearly not!

    • Anonymous: to inform yourself about schools in this borough a bit better, I recommend you look at the long-running discussion (c. 6500 comments over 5 years) on Mumsnet: http://local.mumsnet.com/Talk/local_richmond_upon_thames/2374655-Richmond-Borough-Schools-Chat-7?pg=40 .

      Much has happened that you seem to be unaware of. An exclusively RC secondary school has been opened, St Richard Reynolds’ College, with an unwanted RC primary school next to it, despite a spirited campaign by locals to use the site (bought in 1928 by Middlesex CC to provide a secular girls’ school) for a much-need community school that all could attend.

      So your complaint is both out of date and unmerited.