Battersea academy invites parents and students to state-funded secondary school open days


Bolingbroke Academy to hold open days at South Battersea’s first state-funded secondary school.


By Jacqueline McMillan

Parents and students are invited to attend open days at South Battersea’s first state-funded secondary school from next Wednesday.

The Bolingbroke Academy, which will take over the old Bolingbroke Hospital site on Wakehurst Road, will open to prospective students on 21st, 24th and 26th September, with plans to admit 120 year 7 pupils in September 2012.

The Neighbourhood School Campaign, comprising 2,600 Battersea parents and residents, set up the academy in conglomeration with Wandsworth Council, the Department for Education, Partnership for Schools and charity ARK Schools, to give parents more choice of where to send their children after primary school.

“Our school will be non-selective, inclusive and open to local kids of all backgrounds and abilities,” said NSC chairman, Jon De Maria.

“Many of the individuals we have come across have been inspiring and incredibly hard working in their efforts to make the school happen – our local community owes them a huge debt of gratitude.”

Although South Battersea hosts many local primary schools the seven-square mile area does not have a secondary school, meaning children face tough competition for places.

Last year, the closest secondary school, Balham’s Chestnut Grove School, received 777 applications for 150 places, resulting in year 6 pupils from the two schools scattering to 49 different secondary institutions.

Wandsworth Councillor, and Education and Children’s Services Cabinet Member, Kathy Tracey, said: “Bolingbroke Academy will offer a very attractive choice to local parents of secondary age children. I hope parents will find out more about what Bolingbroke offers their children.”

Education charity, Ark Schools, which already runs six academies in London, will handle the day-to-day running of the school.

The charity will work together with local parents, community members, and Principal Claire Edis, when making important decisions about the school.

Plans for the new academy, by main contractor Carillion, went on public display last month for consideration by the community.

“We are very happy with the plans,” said Mr De Maria.

“Given the various constraints on the project and the education sector in general the building plans are the best possible fit all things considered – we couldn’t have got a better outcome at this point in time.”

Bolingbroke Academy is one of 24 free schools that have so far been approved by the Department of Education under The Academies Act.

The initiative, pioneered by Secretary of State Michael Gove, allows communities to set up their own schools, with complete control over curriculum, teacher salaries and the length of school days and terms.

Mr De Maria said: “At times it has not been easy but the prize has been worth all the effort.”

For more information on 2012 admissions, visit the Bolingbroke Academy website

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