Back to Local Need ....
The Free School program was set up to address parental demand for new schools which meet local need. The measurement of demand (e.g. using parental registrations) has been one of the key means by which Free school applications are assessed by the Department for Education.
Back in 2011, when our plans for Turing House were first initiated, pent-up demand for more high quality secondary school places was manifesting itself in three ways:
1. Poor satisfaction of secondary admissions choices
The 2010 Secondary admissions data, showed that more than 10% of Richmond Borough's prospective secondary pupils weren't offered any of their 6 choices of school, compared to a national average of just 3%.
2. High rates of house movement
The experience of parents in our Steering Group, and anecdotal evidence from across the community, is that local families are highly mobile, with many people moving house to increase their chances of accessing their preferred secondary schools. The phenomenon has been highlighted in the local press. The constant churn breaks up well established primary-school communities, puts enormous pressure on house prices around popular schools, and places less mobile families at a disadvantage.
3. High rates of transfer to the private sector at secondary level
Detailed analysis by a local campaign group in 2011 showed that anomalously high numbers of Richmond pupils were leaving the local state sector completely at secondary transfer. Their conclusion was that those numbers would normalise if quality issues at some under-performing local schools were addressed. If correct, that would, on its own, lead to increased demand for at least 150 secondary places across the borough.