More Primary School Places Badly Needed

Borough will need around 24 additional classes by 2020

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New research shows that Wandsworth will need around 24 additional classes by September 2020, to keep up with the rapidly expanding school-age population, according to the latest population figures.

A public consultation on expansion proposals to add seven extra classes will start after Easter to add to the additional eight extra classes already in the pipeline for children starting school in September 2013. Further proposals could be brought forward later this year.

Three free schools in the borough have been given the go-ahead by the Government to open in September 2013.

These are a two form entry school at the New Tooting Primary in Franciscan Road, sponsored by Graveney School, another two form entry at Rutherford House School in the former Balham Youth Court building, and a one form entry school at the South London Jewish Primary School, opening temporarily at a local synagogue ahead of finding a permanent site.

The birth rate in Wandsworth has risen from 4,359 in 2003 to 5,477 in 2011 and is projected to continue to rise rapidly.

"Finding room for all the extra places we need is a real challenge," said Cllr Kathy Tracey, cabinet member for children's services.

"The three new free schools will make a huge difference, taking the pressure off places elsewhere and giving parents new choices.

"Informal discussions with our head teachers and governors have been very helpful and we will have firm proposals shortly that we will open up for local families to comment on.

"The borough's schools are not only under pressure because of the high birth rate, but also as a result of their success. With ninety one per cent of Wandsworth schools now rated good or outstanding their reputation goes before them in attracting a high level of applications."

Detailed analysis of varying levels of demand for places and local options for school expansion is being finalised by the council as a basis for its proposals.

It shows particular pressures in Furzedown, Tooting, Graveney, Earlsfield, Wandsworth Common, Northcote, Balham, Southfields, West Hill, East Putney, Thamesfield, West Putney and Roehampton.

March 18, 2013