Fears for future of Grey Court School over new plans for secondary in north Kingston

First published in News by

A new secondary school on the Richmond border could threaten the “economic viability” of Grey Court School, it has been claimed.

Kingston Council’s executive agreed to move forward with a plan to put a secondary school on the site of the North Kingston Centre, in Richmond Road, about 500 yards from the borough boundary.

The decision to push ahead with plans for the school to be eight-forms of entry per year – 240 children – comes despite opposition from Richmond Council and across the political divide.

Councillor Malcolm Eady, Richmond Council cabinet member for education and children’s services, said the authority made representations to Kingston but they were ignored.

He said: “We understand Kingston’s problem of having to plan for a growing number of school age children, this is similar to our experience in Richmond.

"They need to provide additional secondary school places across their borough.

"However, we believe that the case for a new eight-form entry school specifically within the north Kingston area has not been proven, especially as they already have plans to provide some extra places across the borough.

"Currently 35 per cent of the students at Grey Court School [in Ham] come from Kingston, and a new eight-form entry secondary school in North Kingston will probably reduce this number significantly.

"This could threaten the economic viability of the school, which would be very disappointing as the school has made very good progress over the last few years.”

Councillor David Marlow, deputy leader of Richmond Conservatives, said a school of that size could have a “destabilising effect” on Grey Court.

Zac Goldsmith, Conservative candidate for the Richmond Park parliamentary seat that includes both Ham and North Kingston, said he has not heard from anyone who wants a school that size.

A Kingston Council spokeswoman said: “Kingston works closely with our neighbouring authorities regarding planning and school places.

"We’ve had a significant rise in the number of pupils in the Kingston town area which necessities the provision of at least eight additional classes locally.

"Richmond has experienced its own considerable rise in its birth rate and increased pressure on the provision of school places, so we don’t see that the viability of Grey Court as a school should be under threat.”

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