Category Archives: Schools

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.

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Filed under Local Issues & News, Schools

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

Turing House Finds a Home. But…

ice-cream-van-twickenham-twickeratiGood news for fans of Turing House School, the long awaited local free school. After much searching and a few setbacks along the way it has now found a site from which to launch in September 2015. It has secured Livingston House in Queen’s Road, Teddington. No, we don’t know it either but it’s actually next to Teddington Memorial Hospital. Refurbishment work will now take place make it ready to open its doors to Year 7 pupils later this year. The site is expected to be used for the first three years of the school’s life while the search for a suitable permanent home gets resolved.

Turing House has also consulted on its admissions policy and its ‘admissions point’ – the geographical point used to determine distance from the school. That location looks set to move for 2016 admissions from its current point near Waldegrave School in Twickenham to a new location in the Teddington / Fulwell area. There is also a proposal that 80% of places would be determined on the basis of the admissions policy and the admissions point, but that 20% of places will be allocated according to proximity to the eventual permanent site itself.

And speaking of permanent sites, Turing House says it’s looking at two options on the Middlesex side of the Borough. But guess what? Not everyone is happy with the ideas being put forward. The expansive Imperial College playing fields in Udney Park Road, Teddington is one option but it has met with local opposition. However a second option, just off Hospital Bridge Road in Whitton, has caused significant consternation Whitt-side. Locals there are concerned that Turing House, with a ‘centre of gravity’ for admissions close to Teddington, could end up as a Whitton-based school but one which Whitton children have very little chance of actually attending. Furthermore, there’s additional agitation associated with this proposal because the site is classed as Metropolitan Open Land and so has a certain degree of green space protection. It is currently owned by Hounslow Council. Opponents of the Whitton idea have set up a Facebook page and a petition.

* Turing House Site
* Turing House Admissions Point
* Whitton Against Turing House – Facebook


Filed under Local Issues & News, Schools

East Twickenham School Goes East

Ryde House, Richmond Road, East Twickenham

Ryde House, Richmond Road, East Twickenham

The school report about delivering more much needed primary school places in Twickenham would say something like, ‘needs improvement’. This time it’s East Twickenham that’s in a state of agitation and not without foundation. The plan for a new free school, Richmond Bridge Primary, took a knock recently when the peeps who are setting it up, Bellevue Place Education Trust, announced that they’d found a suitable site… in Richmond. So, the school that’s going to open in September 2015 is no longer Richmond Bridge Primary, it’s now Old Deer School and it’s going to be on Lower Mortlake Road, TW9. Good news for Richmond but bad news for East Twickenham and St Margarets. The trust says it will still welcome applications from TW1 types to the new school and that it still intends to open a school in the East Twickenham area in the future. (Do you remember the future? It was going to be a place full of wonderful things)

Once again it all boils down to the thorny issue of finding a suitable site. Ryde House on Richmond Road had been the intended location but with Lidl now planning to convert it into a supermarket, the school had to find a home elsewhere. Locals are now ramping up the campaign to get a primary school sorted for East Twickenham and have set up a website and petition to focus attention on the issue.

Elsewhere we wait to see what happens next in the saga of Twickenham Green Primary School whose proposed site, Heathgate House, squeezed between Colne Road and Heath Road didn’t impress Green-siders last December. And there’s a final call on another chance to comment (yes, really!) on the plans to turn the RUTC Egerton Road site into the Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus aka REEC. How. Many. Times? An outline planning application for that is expected in February.

We have to assume that all this location-related malarkey is well within the parameters of what Michael Gove would have expected when championing the free schools approach. We called the Department for Education to ask him to comment on the matter only to find that he’d been shunted sideways to the Chief Whip post. Some might observe that while Richmond Bridge Primary has gone east, Gove’s career might be heading south.

* East Twickenham Village site
* SET – Schools for East Twickenham
* Richmond Bridge Primary School – now to be called Deer Park School, TW9
* Lidl – Richmond Road
* REEC (comment deadline 30th Jan)


Filed under Council, Schools

Twickenham School Site Scrap?

School goes here

School goes in the middle of here?

[STOP PRESS: The change of use application has now been withdrawn. See update at the end. ]

There’s nothing quite like planning committees and schools to get people all hot under the collar in Twickenham. That whole ‘neck / collar interface’ is getting decidedly warm near Twickenham Green as one of the recently approved free schools seeks to turn an office block into its new primary school. What office block is that, we hear you cry. Well it’s Heathgate House which sits between Heath Road and Colne Road by Twickenham Green. It’s a building that has had intermittent use over recent years and now GEMS Learning Trust are proposing to convert it into their new Twickenham Primary Academy.
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Filed under Council, Local Issues & News, Schools

And in Other News… Schools (Again)

Another month, another bit of school news. Or in this case, not one, not two but three pieces of schools related information that fall under the banner of FYI.

Richmond College

Richmond College

You’re already familiar with the plan to develop a Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus on the current Richmond College site at Egerton Road in Twickenham aren’t you? It’s the joint partnership between the College, El Brute, Harlequins and Haymarket Media. As part of the plans a new secondary school will be established, opening in 2017. In fact, you’re probably already thinking, “Didn’t I already comment on that proposal a while back?” And you’d be bloody right too. There was indeed an opportunity to feedback on the initial plans but now you’ve got another one. Yes really. This time it’s a chance to find out more about the detailed proposals. Deja vu all over again? Maybe, but in more depth. The consultation will be on the REEC website and there will also be drop-in sessions at Richmond College on 21st October and 4th November.  The canvassing of views about a revamped site comes at time when the college has garnered more column inches in the Richmond & Twickenham Times. On this occasion it’s about drug taking and dealing in the playground on Craneford Way allegedly by college students. Continue reading


Filed under Local Issues & News, Schools

Free School Launch Setback

It’s bad news for parents wanting to send their children to the planned Turing House free school. And it’s bad news for the school and its sponsors too. Despite being on the admissions list of schools accepting pupils for Year 7 entry in 2014 – and offering places just a fortnight ago – the school has had to announce that its opening will be put back by a year to 2015. Why? It’s all down to that tricky but rather essential issue of having a site on which to operate. The lack of a suitable site has dogged the free school plan since its early days. It missed out on the Clifden Road site in Twickenham when El Brute opted to give that to the new St Richard Reynolds school and alternative ideas, including setting up home at NPL in Teddington, also never materialised. Turing House did have plans for a temporary site but Schools Minister, Lord Nash, opted to defer the opening to 2015 as a result of concerns over its permanent home.

The school’s supporters have worked long and hard to try to secure a site. An independent observer might wonder where Richmond Council fits into this picture. El Brute’s decision to facilitate Clifden Road going to a voluntary aided school and its breathless descriptions of Haymarket Media’s potential involvement in redeveloping the Richmond College site at Egerton Road site (complete with community new free school) don’t seem to have rubbed off in helping Turing House secure a location. Could they have done more? We’ve no idea, but ignorant folk might suggest that a ‘parent-powered’ free school is exactly the sort of thing that the government’s schools supremo and Tracy Island resident, Michael Gove would approve of. Or rather, as Mr Gove would probably insist, it’s “exactly the sort of thing of which he would approve”.

As for those parents who had been offered places at Turing House (along with a second choice option) they’re now having to weigh up their choices and see what they can find among the existing local schools. Meanwhile a parents’ meeting is scheduled for 25th March at 7.30pm at Clarendon Hall, York House. Oh, and the Council will have to revise down the stats in its press release which showed 71% of Richmond pupils securing a place at their first choice of secondary school.

Marks out of ten? You decide.

* Turing House


Filed under Local Issues & News, Schools

Twickenham Schools Consultation: Redux

Richmond College

Richmond College

If it came to a scrap between Michael Heseltine and Michael Gove, despite the age gap, you’d have to put your money on the Tory grandee rather than the Education Secretary. If you’re not the betting type, be honest, you’d still want Hezza to win. And he bloody would too! Micky Gove might have all the fancy talk but Micky H’s is a man of action… a doer not a pontificator. It’s just a shame we’ll never get to see such a spectacle. In fact, it could be just the opposite. If things come to pass, rather than conflict we might actually witness a harmonious coming together of the Gove worldview and Hezza’s empire, Haymarket Media, currently based just down the road in Teddington.

As you very well know, the Richmond College site in Egerton Road Twickenham has been the subject of much debate. Could it accommodate a new secondary school? Could the Clarendon School for young people with special needs also move there from Hampton? Could Haymarket Media Group bring something to the party too?

The proposal now getting a more thorough airing courtesy of El Brute is for the site to be redeveloped to contain a new HQ for Haymarket Media, a new secondary school (and we’re talking a non-faith, non-selective community free school, of course) whilst still keeping the college to provide the post-16 education. It’s a bold idea and we suspect it’s exactly the sort of thing that The Govemeister-General would love – business and education coming together on one site to serve the community.

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Filed under Local Issues & News, Schools

School Gets Green Light

After all the brouhaha over the setting up of the St Richard Reynolds voluntary aided faith school in Twickenham, it’s interesting to see the Department for Education giving the green light for the proposed Turing House free school. The Turing House brigade who started life (not literally, of course) promoting an inclusive, community-based free school for Twickenham have jumped through a lot of hoops to get approval for their plan. Their aim is to “create an outstanding and inclusive school, with a clear focus on high performance for children from 11 to 18”. Early thinking was that the Clifden Road site in Twickenham might have proved suitable for such a school but with that unavailable, the focus moved to NPL in Teddington as the preferred location. There’s still a lot more work to be done, including working with the Government’s Education Funding Agency to properly secure a suitable site, but Turing House hopes to open its doors to its first Year 7 intake in September 2014.

* Turing House School
* Press Release


Filed under Local Issues & News, Schools