Two free primary schools In Richmond get Department for Education approval

Schools: Coiuncillor Paul Hodgins

Schools: Coiuncillor Paul Hodgins

First published in News

Two free schools were approved by the Department for Education, to provide 120 extra primary school places next year, building to a total of more than 800.

Bellevue Place Education Trust was given the green light to open Richmond Bridge Primary School from September 2015, with an intake of 60 pupils before eventually growing to 420 places.

The Gems Learning Trust has also been given the go-ahead to open a school of the same size, Twickenham Primary, next year.

Councillor Paul Hodgins, Richmond Council cabinet member for children's services and schools, said: "Given the huge and ever-increasing demand for places at our primary schools, I would like to offer my congratulations to the two successful free school applications.

"Richmond primary schools are heavily oversubscribed and these two new schools will add four new forms of entry, and an additional 120 reception year places and will ease the strain in the east Twickenham areas that will have a particular shortfall."

Joint deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Councillor Gareth Roberts said: "While I'd like to congratulate Gems and Bellevue Place, the Tories must be breathing something of a sigh of relief as they'd pretty much bet the farm on these two schools opening.

"They were fortunate that when they took control of the council in 2010 they inherited a fully costed primary expansion strategy from the previous Lib Dem administration; a strategy so good they've spent the past four years claiming credit for it but they didn't learn from previous mistakes and had nothing planned beyond 2014, so this is a massive lifeline for them."

Both organisations will now work together with the Education Funding Agency to identify sites for their schools.

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:55pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Twickenham Bob says...

Somewhat odd hearing the Tory Second XI criticising the I Team.

All Tories just with a different colour.
Somewhat odd hearing the Tory Second XI criticising the I Team. All Tories just with a different colour. Twickenham Bob
  • Score: -1

4:59pm Mon 30 Jun 14

andree_frieze says...

It seems a ridiculous situation that new schools have been given the go-ahead without sites for them being organised at the same time. This is the major flaw with this Government's policy on Free Schools. Instead of allowing councils to meet the need of local communities, only private groups or 'independent' trusts are able to set up schools, and they can choose where to put them, regardless of whether that neighbourhood needs them or not.
However, I wish these new Primary schools well, and hope that they find the buildings they require in time for pupils. May I suggest the Cassell Hospital building in Ham as an option, as it's a large building that's been standing empty for some time? It may be in the wrong area for these two Trusts, but there is certainly a need for more primary school places in Ham, South Richmond and North Kingston that a school located in that building would meet.
It seems a ridiculous situation that new schools have been given the go-ahead without sites for them being organised at the same time. This is the major flaw with this Government's policy on Free Schools. Instead of allowing councils to meet the need of local communities, only private groups or 'independent' trusts are able to set up schools, and they can choose where to put them, regardless of whether that neighbourhood needs them or not. However, I wish these new Primary schools well, and hope that they find the buildings they require in time for pupils. May I suggest the Cassell Hospital building in Ham as an option, as it's a large building that's been standing empty for some time? It may be in the wrong area for these two Trusts, but there is certainly a need for more primary school places in Ham, South Richmond and North Kingston that a school located in that building would meet. andree_frieze
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree