A group of parents in Northcote ward, one of the most affluent wards in Wandsworth are campaigning to set up a free school. They claim (with carefully selected statistics which are actually rather misleading) that they do not have sufficient choice of secondary schools currently despite the fact that there is an outstanding school, Chestnut Grove, within a mile and 3 other schools within 2 miles. Interestingly, only 27% of the ~500 secondary age children living in this ward currently attend Wandsworth state schools including only 5 children who attend Chestnut Grove (despite it being their nearest choice and the fact it is rated outstanding)!
The group also claim that they are looking to set up a socially inclusive school but unfortunately the site they have selected and all materials published so far, which suggest that admissions will be based on distance, mean that this is expected to be a school significantly biased towards the most affluent families in Wandsworth. There is a need for more secondary places in Wandsworth but it seems ridiculous to allocate funding/places to the group of parents who shout most loudly, in an area with a proven track record of not supporting local state schools!
It is such a shame that these parents do not seem to consider sending their children to the existing local schools which have diverse intakes and have been very succesful with massive improvements to results in recent years. The free school campaign seems to be playing on parental paranoia and fear of the unknown which leads them to believe that they have no choice when in fact there are already several very good local state schools which they just do not consider.