Tag 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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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!

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

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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.

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

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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.

LINKS:
* 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)

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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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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

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School Sixth Forms Return to Twickenham

Crane & new building at Orleans Park School

Crane & building work at Orleans Park School


And so another school year begins. Same old, same old? Well, not quite. This September sees the arrival of sixth forms at local secondary schools. Did we say ‘arrival’, we actually meant return after a very long absence. It’s a move that has been welcomed by many residents although it’s not without its critics either, mainly over the cost. For the last 30 plus years, the provision of state sixth form education in Richmond boiled down to a choice of one establishment, Richmond College here in sunny ol’ Twickenham. Does a choice of one option really constitute a choice? We’re not sure. Either way, things have changed. Twickenham Academy took its first sixth form pupils in 2012 and now Waldegrave and Orleans Park follow suit. The Council’s new “post 16 partnership” comprises eight secondary schools in LBRuT, including Twickenham Academy, Waldegrave and Orleans Park, plus Richmond upon Thames College and even Richmond Adult Community College (yes, they do offer some courses for younger students). The range of options offered by this initiative is likely to have an impact on numbers signing up for A Levels at Richmond College and it also might prompt a reduction in the number of local kids defecting to Strode’s or Esher Colleges for their post-16 education.

All the necessary building work is not yet complete – perhaps that could become a case study for any ‘A’ Level Business Studies students out there – but September’s intake will be topping up their ink wells and breaking out fresh nibs regardless. Not all the schools are offering the same courses and there’s a document online to help prospective students navigate their way around the options for future admissions.

Meanwhile, plans for the new education campus on Richmond College’s Egerton Road site took a bit of a twist back in July when Haymarket Media announced that it would no longer be moving all of its operations from Teddington to the Twickenham site but would only be moving 20 around staff to support the new ‘tech hub’ on the campus. The company are said to be seeking a new base for their HQ elsewhere in the borough. The decision is a significant scaling back of the original plan but also serves to allay some local concerns about the scale of the whole development. According to an El Brute spokesman Haymarket’s decision would not affect the funding of the scheme nor its timetable. Work is due to begin in summer 2015.

Education, education, education. Have El Brute got this sixth form thing right? Marks out of ten, please?

LINKS:
* Richmond “Post 16 Partnership”
* REEC (the thing involving Haymarket at Richmond College site)
* Haymarket holds fire on move (from R&TT)

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More School Approvals Twick-side

Richmond College

Richmond College

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.

LINKS:
* El Brute primary school
* GEMS Learning Trust
* Bellevue Education
* El Brute secondary school
* REEC

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Richmond College Student Stabbed

Richmond College, Twickenham

Richmond College, Twickenham

A 17 year old Richmond College student was taken to hospital on Wednesday 14th May after being stabbed near the college. The Richmond & Twickenham Times reports that following the incident two 17 year olds were taken into custody “on suspicion of GBH”. The incident happened in the early afternoon in a lane connecting Heathfield South to Craneford Way. According to the paper, the Police described the victim as being in a stable condition in hospital. Here’s hoping for a swift recovery.

There have of course been other violent incidents in recent years involving college students or fellow travellers. With local secondary schools opening sixth forms in September and big plans floating around to turn the Richmond College’s Egerton Road site into some kind of mega-education hub, this news is exactly the sort of thing that the college could do without at this time.

LINK:
* Richmond & Twickenham Times

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