Change is on the horizon for education in Merton after a promised Government cash boost and new schools to be built or existing ones renovated.
Work has begun on several schools, including Merton Abbey, St Mary’s and Poplar in Merton Park, as part of a primary school regeneration scheme by Merton Council worth £80m.
At a Merton Council cabinet meeting on Monday, March 10, Pelham Primary School in Southey Road, Wimbledon, was awarded a £5m contract to expand, and work could begin soon.
A further promised injection of money, thought to be to the tune of £6m, was pledged by Schools Minister David Laws to Merton as one of 15 areas around the country to benefit from a change in Government funding allocation criteria.
Mr Laws, who announced the funding plans for Merton in parliament on Thursday, March 13, said the current system was out of date and unfair.
In a speech, Mr Laws said: “The £350m increase in funding represents a huge step forwards towards fair funding in English schools.
"It will make a real difference on the ground.
"It delivers fairness without creating instability, uncertainty or cuts in better funded areas.”
The funding increase will be available for the 2015-16 financial year and was put forward by the chancellor in this year’s budget.
Cranmer Primary School in Cranmer Road, Mitcham, is one of those currently undergoing a transformation with a £4m building to house eight classrooms, a community room, staff area and toilets under construction.
New and expanded schools being built will provide thousands of extra places for primary aged children as population predictions predict a major boost in Merton over the next five years.
The council’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Martin Whelton said the expansion of Cranmer school is part of the council’s £80m expansion of primary schools in Merton which will see over 4,000 additional school places provided.
Speaking about Mr Laws’ plans to inject cash into the borough, Coun Whelton said: “We believe this money should have come a lot sooner.
"Every penny coming to our borough is welcome, but it is a long overdue reform.”
Coun Whelton added the expansion plan would extend to 2017, after which a scheme to expand secondary schools in the borough would begin.
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