Local Talk

Merton: dumbing-down Dundonald Primary School?

(197 Posts)
page1 Fri 03-Jun-11 14:15:20

1. Merton Council's consultation process regarding the proposed expansion of Dundonald Primary School(DPS) has now commenced and information can be obtained from their website or that of DPS. The Council has distributed a leaflet to residents for feedback and is due to hold a public meeting on Wednesday 8 June.

2. Disappointingly, the Conservatives, LibDems and Independents have been very quiet on the issue. The Labour Party has given out letters supporting the proposed expansion and, to his credit, Cllr Walker has had the courage to put his personal credibility on the line given his close involvement with the campaign. However, threatening parents/carers that they will have to take their children to school in Morden if the Council doesn't get its way seems a little extreme. Frankly, parents don't care how far they travel if their children can attend an outstanding state school.

2. It seems that the governors of DPS only agreed to an expansion programme on condition that the Council provided more space. The governors knew that this was impossible for the Council to achieve because of the existence of the restrictive covenant concerning the neighbouring park (see the petition on the Council website).

3. The proposal to double the size of DPS, starting with the temporary bulge class, has caused much concern to parents of pupils at the school as witnessed by DPS being forced to issue an explanatory letter and Q&A to try and quell those fears.

4. DPS is a popular school because it had an outstanding rating from Ofsted following the last inspection and it is the ideal size. It currently has around 250 pupils which is the average number for a primary school in England. If it doubles in size, parents fear that standards may slip. Merton has 40+ primary schools of which only 6 were rated outstanding and the majority of those were 1FE schools ie similar number of pupils to DPS.

5. Parents are also worried by the disruption to their children's education that will occur once construction begins on such a small and restricted site with all the attendant health and safety issues.

6. The school currently enjoys a harmonious relationship with the neighbouring community which might not survive if the Council's plans prevail.

7. Somewhat surprisingly, the Council's consultation process takes no account of ethnic diversity.

Please feel free to forward this to and/or discuss the contents with any parents of pupils at Dundonald Primary School who may have concerns about the Council's plans and say NO to the proposal.

PAGE - Parents AGainst Expansion

Horsetowater Mon 21-May-12 21:15:03

I think Siobahn Benita was planning to insist on a non-expansion rule for London schools, with the idea that more, smaller schools should be built rather than the size of schools increased.

But we won't get that now cos nobody voted for her!

piji Wed 23-May-12 12:40:10

DLD10

No, you're wrong there. Town planning doesn't go by precedent. It's not a case of "we've allowed you to extend your kitchen, so we'll allow you to build a block of flats".

The Planning Inspectorate says:

"Parties will sometimes suggest that there are precedents (either a local planning authority’s decision or an appeal decision) elsewhere in the locality which either justify the local planning authority’s refusal of the application or lend support to the appellant’s case that approval should be granted. In reality the precedent argument is very rarely persuasive or conclusive as each case will differ in its circumstances from others and must be considered on its merits. We encourage the main parties to consider very carefully whether to include a reference to precedents in their cases."

PLANNING INSPECTORATE GOOD PRACTICE ADVICE NOTE 07
www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/pins/gpa_07.pdf

Similarly, although the Upper Tribunal (Lands) is a 'court of record' and can set precedent in the interpretation of law, that's not at all the same thing as thinking that because one project has been allowed, another project on an adjoining site must be allowed. Each case is considered on its individual merits.

Re "new building will be a school.... limited public access": you're wrong on the facts there as well. Take a look at the drawings. Part of the new building is a pavilion, distinct from the school.

piji Wed 23-May-12 12:41:02
designerbaby Wed 23-May-12 15:46:43

That's what I thought piji, having just been through planning stuff for our house, but I was too lazy to find the link. grin

C'mon though you lot - get your responses in... time's a wastin'.

db
xx

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 24-May-12 19:24:21

What's the deadline for supporting the expansion proposal? Have I missed the boat?

designerbaby Thu 24-May-12 23:13:09

Don't think you've missed the boat, Germy, but er, maybe do it tomorrow!?

grinshock

piji Fri 25-May-12 11:29:13

Horsetowater

I voted for Siobhan! I'd be very happy with the building of more schools - it's the idea that we should all sit around moaning, neither building more schools nor expanding existing ones, which I find annoying.

FamiliesShareGerms

I think you're just in time, but we're getting down to the wire. I'm not sure of the exact deadline.

Primafacie Fri 25-May-12 12:01:54

I believe the deadline is 31 May.

piji Fri 15-Jun-12 11:34:56

Some hard data, released by Merton Council through FOIA:

www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dundonald_ward_school_places_dun#comment-28734

"This is the list of school places for 4-year-olds in Merton who did not get one of their six school choices, for entry to Reception in September 2012.

The first column is distance (from home to school, in metres), the second column is the name of the school, the third column is the partial postcode.

DISTANCE ESTAB_NAME
1278.97 All Saints' CofE Primary School SW19 8
1473.96 All Saints' CofE Primary School SW19 8
1524.24 All Saints' CofE Primary School SW19 8
1668.18 All Saints' CofE Primary School SW19 7
1674.64 All Saints' CofE Primary School SW19 7
1696.48 All Saints' CofE Primary School SW19 7
1710.32 All Saints' CofE Primary School SW19 7
1727.09 All Saints' CofE Primary School SW19 8
1769.23 All Saints' CofE Primary School SW19 7
2537.27 All Saints' CofE Primary School SW19 4
254.01 Beecholme Primary School CR4 2
507.22 Beecholme Primary School CR4 2
705.9 Beecholme Primary School CR4 2
881.5 Beecholme Primary School CR4 2
913.76 Beecholme Primary School SW17 9
974.04 Beecholme Primary School SW17 9
1070.59 Beecholme Primary School CR4 3
1648.46 Beecholme Primary School CR4 3
2024.38 Beecholme Primary School SW19 2
2227.67 Beecholme Primary School CR4 3
2284.87 Beecholme Primary School SW19 1
2419.58 Beecholme Primary School CR4 4
2492.54 Beecholme Primary School CR4 4
3314.76 Beecholme Primary School SM4 6
1143.52 Benedict Primary School SM4 5
1489.61 Benedict Primary School SM4 6
1612.71 Benedict Primary School SM4 6
1861.7 Bond Primary School SW19 1
1751.19 Garden Primary School CR4 2
2395.74 Garden Primary School CR4 4
2703.96 Garden Primary School CR4 4
249.46 Garfield Primary School SW19 1
349.68 Garfield Primary School SW19 8
349.68 Garfield Primary School SW19 8
1289.97 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1373.92 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1376.58 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1433.55 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1444.62 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1455.52 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1490.63 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1490.63 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1514.74 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1524.66 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1579.37 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1590.5 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1595.08 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
1643.46 Garfield Primary School SW19 7
703.99 Hillcross Primary School SW20 9
705.09 Hillcross Primary School SM4 4
794.45 Hillcross Primary School SW20 9
803.35 Hillcross Primary School SW20 9
1131.46 Hillcross Primary School SW20 9
1151.49 Hillcross Primary School SW20 8
1320.08 Hillcross Primary School SW20 8
1325.86 Hillcross Primary School SW20 8
1369.7 Hillcross Primary School SW20 9
1376.48 Hillcross Primary School SW20 8
1380.37 Hillcross Primary School SW20 8
1398.58 Hillcross Primary School KT3 6
1459.93 Hillcross Primary School KT3 6
1548.6 Hillcross Primary School KT3 6
524.02 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
591.47 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
591.47 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
658.94 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
693.92 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
771.46 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
803.65 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
835.52 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
846.31 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
883.88 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
920.9 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
927.38 Joseph Hood Primary School SW19 4
950.06 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
976.29 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
1017.59 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
1033.83 Joseph Hood Primary School SW19 4
1125.66 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 0
1180.96 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
1212.31 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 0
1260.82 Joseph Hood Primary School SW19 4
1261.42 Joseph Hood Primary School SW19 4
1264.63 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
1285.36 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
1332.27 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
1332.27 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
1336.62 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
1340.94 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
1359.52 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 0
1433.91 Joseph Hood Primary School SW19 4
1452.07 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 8
1557.57 Joseph Hood Primary School SW20 0
123.42 Liberty School CR4 3
2032.86 Liberty School SW19 1
2072.51 Liberty School SW19 1
2160.19 Liberty School SW19 8
2248.1 Liberty School SW19 3
2280.95 Liberty School SW19 3
2286.64 Liberty School SW19 8
2288.42 Liberty School SM4 6
2383.35 Liberty School SW19 3
2433.11 Liberty School SW19 3
2463.79 Liberty School SW19 8
2556.67 Liberty School SW19 3
2565.4 Liberty School SW19 3
2566.81 Liberty School SW19 3
2687.67 Liberty School SW19 3
285.32 Lonesome Primary School CR4 2
1490.47 Lonesome Primary School SW17 9
1548.62 Lonesome Primary School CR4 3
1619.88 Lonesome Primary School CR4 3
1812.76 Lonesome Primary School CR4 3
1831.08 Lonesome Primary School CR4 3
1918.96 Lonesome Primary School CR4 3
1921.36 Lonesome Primary School CR4 3
2005.82 Lonesome Primary School SW19 2
2060.2 Lonesome Primary School CR4 3
2080.58 Lonesome Primary School SW19 2
2113.44 Lonesome Primary School SW19 2
2125.99 Lonesome Primary School SW19 2
2166.55 Lonesome Primary School SW19 2
2271.84 Lonesome Primary School SW19 2
2513.64 Lonesome Primary School SW19 1
1204.74 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 3
1446.49 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 4
1568.92 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 7
1573.78 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 4
1573.78 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 4
1579.72 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 7
1580.25 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 7
1615 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 4
1637.3 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 4
1697.41 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 4
1702.18 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 4
1754.34 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 4
1801.13 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 7
1889.96 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 4
1893.52 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 7
1911.8 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 4
203.74 Stanford Primary School SW16 4
292.5 Stanford Primary School SW16 4
1268.09 Stanford Primary School SW16 6
1341.34 Stanford Primary School SW16 6
1409.34 Stanford Primary School SW17 9
512.34 William Morris Primary School CR4 1
512.34 William Morris Primary School CR4 1
698.69 William Morris Primary School CR7 6
730.84 William Morris Primary School CR7 6
1372.55 William Morris Primary School CR4 1
1482.76 William Morris Primary School CR4 1
2421.25 William Morris Primary School CR4 3
2511.83 William Morris Primary School CR4 4
2591.55 William Morris Primary School CR4 4
2773.45 William Morris Primary School CR4 3

I'm not certain which postcode areas correspond to the Dundonald ward - 'SW19 3' certainly does, so here's those entries picked out:

1204.74 Merton Abbey Primary School SW19 3
2248.1 Liberty School SW19 3
2280.95 Liberty School SW19 3
2383.35 Liberty School SW19 3
2433.11 Liberty School SW19 3
2556.67 Liberty School SW19 3
2565.4 Liberty School SW19 3
2566.81 Liberty School SW19 3
2687.67 Liberty School SW19 3

so those are mostly Liberty school, with a max distance of 2.7km.

The highest distance in the borough is 3314:

3314.76 Beecholme Primary School SM4 6

And the lowest (bearing in mind that this is a list only of those children who did NOT get into one of their six preference schools) is:

123.42 Liberty School CR4 3

(so obviously this is a family which lives very near Liberty school, but did not place Liberty among their six choices). "

Lulama Mon 17-Sep-12 14:49:42

Hi

I found your list very interesting - Just wanted some clarification - is this the list for places that were available at the first set of offers for children who did not get any of their preferred school places

Best regards

piji Fri 08-Mar-13 15:41:22

"is this the list for places that were available at the first set of offers for children who did not get any of their preferred school places"

Almost.

The list shows the school place which was offered to each child who did not get a place at any of their chosen schools.

As such, it shows the closest available school place to each child.

So for example, for children near Dundonald who did not get into Dundonald or any of their chosen schools (e.g. probably Wimbledon Chase), one got a place in Merton Abbey (in South Wimbledon, just over 1km away) and for the rest, their closest school place was in Liberty (about 2.5km away in Mitcham).

As far as I know, this is the only school place offered to each of these children, so referring to it as the "first set of offers" isn't quite right, because there are no further offers to follow - each of these is the only school place offered to each of these children. If I understand the system right. Otherwise, you've got it.

piji Fri 12-Jul-13 17:59:16

update:

- The Lands Tribunal has given permission for the school expansion to go ahead.

- "Save Our Rec" have appealed the decision and lost.

- Their latest tactic is to disrupt the school's PE lessons by occupying the sports area and refusing to leave. This is in their new incarnation as "Dundonald Rec Tennis Club".

For more info see:
www.merton.gov.uk/council/getinvolved/schoolsconsultations/dundonald-school-consultation.htm
(Updated 11 July)

Primafacie Mon 29-Jul-13 22:56:07

Thanks Piji for the update. How grown up of them, disrupting innocent children's PE! Fucking pathetic.

piji Tue 18-Feb-14 17:48:42

A further update, now we're in 2014:

- "Dundonald Tennis Club" (in reality, the "Save Our Rec" people) continues its campaign to disrupt the school's PE lessons by occupying the sports area and refusing to leave, when it's time for PE. Dr Ernesto Pinto is the main person doing this. Sometimes it's just him standing there by himself, bouncing his tennis ball and denying the use of the sports area to a class of 30 school-children.

- Some discussion of the plans is taking place here:
dundonaldlibdems.focusteam.org.uk/2013/01/17/council-approves-expansion-onto-dundonald-rec/#comments
including some good examples of scare-mongering (e.g. false claims that the school expansion plans allow the council to redevelop the whole of the Rec, false claims that the plans are illegal).

- "Save Our Rec" have filed 3 different judicial review applications against Merton Council. I haven't seen the papers, my understanding is that they're contesting:
1) The council's right to determine who uses the sports area at what times,
2) The council's right to erect signs in the Rec,
3) The school expansion.

Inneedofstrongblackcoffee Sat 22-Feb-14 10:14:42

Thanks piji. I am a late arrival to this debate. There is certainly a lot of background reading to catch up on.

paddybear Sat 26-Apr-14 12:11:56

To add some more facts (rather than the lies spread by SOR), post offers for reception places:
Dundonald Primary had 496 applicants for 30 places, or 16.5:1; the next highest ratios are at Merton Park (7.8:1) and Holy Trinity (6:1). So if you agree that good schools with high demand should be the ones to expand, and not underperforming ones (a policy which I think is eminently sensible), then the obvious schools to target for expansion are Dundonald and Merton Park, both currently 1FE only.
Hope the judicial review applications are thrown out sooner rather than later so that expansion works can start asap - this year again some children (I know personally of at least one case) got no offer at all (hopefully will get through waiting list).

Update for those of you who are interested, here.

It still seems that it will be some time (at least another academic year) before Dundonald Primary School is expanded.

Any thoughts?

usefulrabble Thu 07-Aug-14 13:37:49

www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/11383104.Council_wins_Judicial_Review_over_expansion_of_Dundonald_Primary_School/

"Council wins Judicial Review over expansion of Dundonald Primary School

5:16pm Friday 1st August 2014

By Louisa Clarence-Smith

A battle to expand a primary school into public playing fields received a boost yesterday as an appeal against plans was thrown out in court.

Campaigners objecting to Merton Council's decision to approve the expansion of Dundonald Primary School into Dundonald recreation ground appealed to the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Protect Dundonald Rec (PDR) argued the Cabinet's decision to give just over one per cent of Dundonald Rec to the primary school infringed on public rights to the space.

Dundonald Rec is a 48,000sq m public park in Wimbledon with sports facilities including two cricket and football pitches, a bowling green, tennis courts, playground and a pavilion.

The grounds were sold to the state by John Innes and Messrs James in 1893 on the condition they remain 'Public Pleasure Ground'.

Campaigners argue the decision to approve a planning application for a 579sq m expansion of the site, making room for an extra 30 school places, did not properly consider residents' use of the recreation area which they said were threatened by the plans.

But the Honourable Mr Justice King yesterday ruled the council's decision to approve the school expansion was rational, given the wider community interest in providing more school places.

Mr Justice King also recognised the fruitlessness of banning the building work now, given the amount of money already spent by the council on planning for the school's expansion.

Building work at the school cannot begin until a further hearing in September where a previously lodged appeal against the plans by campaigners will be heard.

However Councillor Peter Walker, the former cabinet member for education who spearheaded the application before being sacked for ripping down posters supporting PDR, is already celebrating.

Champagne on ice: Councillor Peter Walker outside Dundonald Primary School

He said: "This is brilliant news for the children of Wimbledon and local residents.

"It means the park will be enjoyed and there will be more places at this excellent school for local children."

Councillor Martin Whelton, cabinet member for education, said: "We welcome the decision of the High Court which shows we have acted both properly and fairly, as we work to fulfil our obligation to provide enough school places to educate children at an outstanding school, close to where they live.

"There is still a lot of work to be done and another hearing which is required in September means that we will need to take further legal advice and keep the situation under review as we consider the next steps to take."

PDR campaigners have yet to comment."

Perhaps the *** 'dundonald rec tennis club' will stop shouting insults at the school's teachers and pupils trying to do PE lessons now. Although I doubt it.

HaydonWomble Thu 07-Aug-14 14:06:13

Really? shock. That sounds almost like an ASBO-type offence?

I don't really understand what their problem is with the school expansion, although I'm guessing none of those against Dundonald's expansion have children who need schooling at their local primary?

2FatLadied Thu 07-Aug-14 14:17:15

They argue that there is no need for more school places and that, even if there were, these places should be provided elsewhere (undefined) as their enjoyment of the Rec is more important than children having a local school. They also think that it's better to have a dilapidated Pavilion and slightly more green space than a new Pavilion (as part of the new school buildings) and slightly less green space.

If you can bear to read the whole thread, you'll see it played out.

Or just sit in the park in term time and watch key members of Save Our Rec / Dundonald Tennis Club leap out of the bushes and prevent the kids using the tennis courts for PE. I even saw them preventing the kids using the tennis courts to learn cycling safety techniques.

Willemdefoeismine Thu 07-Aug-14 14:29:07

Surely that's intimidation (and of minors too!). Nimbyism at its worst!

Would have thought that increase in school places locally might drive house prices up even more, so what on earth drives this anti-families-with-children campaign???

Strikes me that they're arguing for the sake of it and as a point of principle...

usefulrabble Thu 07-Aug-14 15:31:20

Maries, R (On the Application Of) v London Borough of Merton [2014] EWHC 2689 (Admin) (31 July 2014)

www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2014/2689.html

"88. For all these reasons I reject each of the grounds of challenge pursued on behalf of the claimant and it follows this claim must be dismissed."

"90. I also have had regard to the evidence of the defendant's officer, Mr Proctor in his witness statement of April 2014 setting out the anticipated timetable for the first stages of the scheme designed to enable what are described as at least 30 urgently required additional school places to be provided in September 2014."

HaydonWomble Thu 07-Aug-14 18:54:50

After picking my way (less than confidently) thro' all that legalese hmm, why would anyone go to the lengths that the claimant has? What a waste of public funds. It would be interesting to know (under FOI) how much this has cost Merton Council thus far and it's not over yet...

usefulrabble Thu 07-Aug-14 19:59:15

Decision says that even if Lorraine Maries / Protect Dundonald Rec had been correct and Merton had made an error in law (which they didn't), the judge still wouldn't have prevented the school expansion, because the public interest in the school expansion going ahead is so strong.

89. "I should add however that had I been persuaded that there was any public law flaw in the approach adopted by the defendant in its determination under section 122, (for example in relation to the 147 square metres appropriated to provide the replacement pavilion), I would not in any event have been minded to grant any relief which is of course in the discretion of the court. The effect of any relief would undoubtedly bring to a halt a scheme for the expansion of the school which is well advanced and in respect of which as regards the other identified steps taken to facilitate the scheme, (such as the obtaining of planning permission, the removal of the restrictive covenant) considerable public resources have been spent. The court itself has to weigh the respective public interest benefits and disadvantages in deciding whether to grant relief. In this regard I was referred to the observations of (as he then was) Judge LJ in R v LB Brent ex parte Walters (1998) 30 HLR 328 at 381, in particular 'as the grant of judicial review may have substantial adverse consequences for a large number of blameless individuals beyond the applicant himself, in an appropriate case … the exercise of discretion permits account to be taken of the conflicting interests'."

'Relief' means the court deciding that an action must be taken (or not taken) - in this case, preventing the school expansion. Presumably the "adverse consequences for a large number of blameless individuals" would be the children without school places.

So even if Lorraine Maries had won this case, the court would not have 'awarded relief' (i.e. said that anything should be done differently) and she wouldn't have prevented the school expansion.

2FatLadied Thu 07-Aug-14 20:11:57

On why, it puzzles me, too. I think it's partly principle and just not liking change, but in my darker moments I do wonder if it might have something to do with the huge premium on house prices within 100m of the school. That will be diluted if the expansion goes ahead, as with 60 places surely the catchment area will expand a bit, and so the houses very close by might lose a bit of value.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now