Free school wins planning approval for permanent home

Published: Wednesday 27th August 14

Work is expected to begin soon on building a brand new free school in Roehampton.

The Mosaic Jewish Primary School, which admitted its first 30 pupils last September will move from its existing temporary home in Wimbledon Parkside to a new purpose-built modern school building in Roehampton Lane.

Its classrooms are expected to open in September 2015 and the school will eventually cater for 420 pupils.
Half of its intake will be Jewish but 50 per cent of places will be reserved for children of other faiths and beliefs and those from families who are not religious in any way.

The new school will also have a sports and community hall which will be open for use by the local community outside school hours. It will also generate some of its own electricity through the use of rooftop solar panels.

A school bus service will operate from nearby transport links such as Barnes Station and busy local bus stops to reduce the number of cars that travel to the school. Around 80 pupils are expected to use this service each day. There will also be secure racks for up to 50 bicycles and 18 scooters.

A planning application for the new school was approved by the planning committee on August 14. It will replace the side annexes to Hartfield House, which was formerly operated by the council’s adult social services department as a respite care centre but was declared surplus to requirements in June 2012 as it was no longer considered fit for purpose.

The services formerly offered at Hartfield House have been transferred to a more modern property in Earlsfield which is much more suitable for the role and has benefited from a £280,000 refurbishment.

The switch is saving council tax payers £311,000 every year, while the money generated by the sale of the building to the school is available to fund future capital spending by the town hall.

Planning chairman Cllr Sarah McDermott said: “This is a well-designed and attractive school building that will sit well alongside the important architectural and historic asset that is Hartfield House.”

Mosaic’s move to a new home will also help address the need for additional school places for primary age pupils. Between 2002 and 2011 the number of children being born in the borough rose from 4,080 to 5,477.

Over the past three years more than 25 additional reception classes have opened in schools across the borough to meet the growing demand from parents. Extra classes will be available this September at Smallwood, and Granard schools, while Mosaic is one of three new free schools that have also opened.

And in September 2015, additional classes will be opening at Hillbrook, Albemarle and Sheringdale schools.

Two brand new academies - each accommodating up to 420 pupils - are also scheduled to open in September 2015 and September 2016 respectively. These are on land formerly occupied by the Atheldene Centre in Earlsfield and at the vacant and derelict Putney Hospital site

The growth in demand for primary places in Wandsworth is not only due to an increased birth rate, but also because of sustained improvements in teaching and learning at local schools.

School standards watchdog Ofsted currently rates 95 per cent of Wandsworth schools as good or outstanding, ranking the borough in second place nationally behind only the City of London. In comparison only an average of 80 per cent of schools in other parts of the country, and 85 per cent in London, have been given the same quality rating by Ofsted inspectors.

In 2013 Wandsworth’s primary schools achieved the equal fifth best combined Key Stage 2 reading, writing and mathematics combined results across England. Wandsworth also had a higher proportion of pupils than nationally making the expected levels of progress in reading, writing and mathematics; being ranked equal second nationally in reading with 94 per cent, equal second nationally in writing with 96 per cent, and equal third nationally in mathematics with 94 per cent. The 2014 results are expected to be equally as strong.

For more information about the Mosaic Jewish Primary School visit https://www.mjps.org.uk/home/

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28 August 2014