A Russell Education Trust sponsored free school, Turing House has recently secured a funding agreement with the Secretary of State. The schools will open on a temporary site in Teddington in September 2015. The school intends to move to a permanent location within 3-4 years.
At present, there are two possible permanent sites being proposed - one in Teddington which is an area with a currently high demand for school places in the local secondaries there and the other in Whitton an area with an undersubscribed local academy.
Residents and parents have the following issues with the Whitton site:
- Transport - there are no frequent bus services connecting Teddington and Whitton and the route is unsafe for cyclists.
- Distance - it is approximately 2 miles from Teddington and would take at least 20-30 minutes during peak times by car to reach the Whitton site
- Access - there is currently no easy vehicular access to the site from the main road, the closest point to the main road is on a blind corner
- Pollution - noise and air pollution generated by additional traffic into an already busy London suburban area
- Protected land - It is Metropolitan Open Land afforded the same level of protection as Green Belt
- Admissions - Turing House is primarily for Teddington students, the proposed admission policy gives priority to after looked-after students, students with social/medical needs, students whose parents have been granted Founders status and students with sibilings at the school. 20% of the remaining places will be for students who live close to the school and 80% will live close to an artificial admissions point.
Effect on local secondary schools - parents from Teddington would have to pass Twickenham Academy in order to reach the Whitton site. It is located on the same road as the Whitton site but nearer to Teddington. Twickenham Academy is currently undersubscribed and approximately half of students being admitted from out-of-borough. Twickenham Academy could be destabilised.
Effect on local primary schools - there are currently six primary schools within a mile of the Whitton site, with approximately 2000 children. The area would be gridlocked if another 1000+ were coming into the same area.
Consultation - Teddington parents feel let down as they were consulted on the proposed school and were promised a new local inclusive school for their local community with resources the local community could use.
Almost 1500 people (as of 4/5/2015) have signed a petition
to oppose the building of Turing House School on the Whitton site. There are 100s of comments giving their reasons, people feel very strongly about it.
Local Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable
has spoken out to oppose the Whitton site. The Conservative Candidate Tania Mathias
also opposes the Whitton site.
The local Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors will not support the building of the school in Whitton with a 80:20 split in admissions against local students. Teddington councillors
also oppose the Whitton site.
The story has been published many times in local publications and is the subject of debate on and off the internet here
For more information see:
The Whitton Ning