Turing House

Questions about our history and local issues:

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How did the school proposal come about?

The proposal was the idea of a group of local parents, who were concerned about the break-up of their primary school communities as they moved towards secondary school. They identified a strong and increasing local need for more high quality mainstream, inclusive school places in SW Twickenham and surrounding areas. They wanted to create an inspirational school, with STEM and music specialisms, and a distinctive ethos to complement provision at other local schools.

How did the idea develop into a workable proposal?

The founding parent group enlisted the support of the Russell Education Trust, and built up a network of local ‘critical friends’ to help with various aspects of the application, including a senior leader from a large local primary school. The team then began awareness-raising in the local community.

In February 2012, scores of local parents gave out leaflets, talked to and emailed friends in order to help spread the word. Thanks to each and every one of you! Around 1400 local children were registered in just a few weeks, far exceeding our targets, and providing very strong evidence of local demand for our school.

When and why did the parent group choose RET as their educational partner?

The founding parent group first contacted the Russell Education Trust in January 2012, because they had read about its work on the Bristol Free School. RET had worked closely with Bristol's Parents' Voice group to turn their school vision into reality.   They talked to the Bristol parents, as well as another group of parents that RET were working with in Hove. They researched other potential sponsors too, but liked the unique flexibility of RET's partnership model, which gave parents freedom to shape the school vision, whilst also providing the expertise they would need to deliver it.  RET's connection to Education London, and history of involvement with the London Challenge, gave the parents further confidence that RET had the credentials to make the school a success.

What information did you submit to the DfE in your proposal to establish Turing House?

You can download a copy of our Free School Application, submitted to the department for Education in 2012, here.

How have you been consulting with the Community?

The proposal to establish Turing House was community-driven, and could not have progressed without significant levels of support from local parents. We have always welcomed comments and questions at any time via our contact details.

In January 2015 we conducted a formal, statutory, free school opening consultation.

As with other local schools we consult on our Admissions Policy in line with the national School Admissions Code.  These can be found in the Admissions section of this website.

Consultations in relation to our school site will be conducted in accordance with local planning policy at the appropriate time.

How will your school fit in with the local family of schools?

Turing House will be a part of the local family of schools, working together on joint educational initiatives that benefit our whole community.

Richmond schools participate in many joint initiatives, not just at student level, such as sporting events and primary/secondary links, but at a professional level too, for example through peer support for quality assurance. 

What will be the effect of Turing House on other Secondary Schools in our area?

As described on our Local Need page, Turing House fulfils both a demand need and a capacity need. The Local Authority have planned for Free Schools to help with future provision.

Whenever a new school opens, there are changes in local patterns of demand. However, the majority of Richmond’s excellent secondaries are highly oversubscribed and that is unlikely to change while their quality remains high.

There are two community academies on the Middlesex side of the borough which have historically been under capacity. However, council forecasts have indicated that they too are expected to fill over time as a result of rising numbers of children transferring to secondary school and ongoing quality improvement initiatives.

We know that there are more than enough families in the area to fill up all of the existing schools and the recently established schools too. We believe our area deserves a secondary system where quality is high across the board so that, for those pupils lucky enough to have a choice, schools 'compete' only on the distinctiveness of their ethos.  Above all, we are committed to making a positive contribution to the local family of schools.

How does the establishment of RTS impact Turing House?

Richmond Council has sponsored the 2017 opening of a new free school, the Richmond Upon Thames School (RTS), in partnership with Richmond College, Haymarket Publishing Ltd and Harlequins Rugby Club.

When those plans were approved some people were concerned that they might impact the establishment of Turing House, but there was no reason why it should have done so.

As evidenced in their free school application, RTS is needed in addition to Turing House, due to the huge bulge of children coming through the primary system. The Local Authority's 2011 admissions forecast assumed that there would be a secondary free school opening before that time, and Turing House fulfilled that expectation.

Quoting from the consultation document, published in March: "The Council’s forecast, taking into account as far as it can, the likely establishment of further free schools, suggests that further significant provision may be needed by September 2017".  The project's website says: "We believe that by September 2017, there will be enough local children transferring into Year Six to fill Turing House and all the current schools, so another Secondary School based on the College site would meet the need for additional places at that point."

For more information on the demand for additional secondary school places, see our Local Need page.

Is it unusual for a school to have an admissions point at a location other than at the school itself?

Ideally schools will be established in areas where demand is high.  However, in densely populated areas, where land is at a premium, that isn't always possible.  As well as Turing House, two of RET's other schools have retained Admissions Points in the areas that their proposals were intended to serve, because they were unable to obtain a site in the immediate vicinity.

Paragraph 1.14 of the Admissions Code, permits the use of Catchment Areas provided they are reasonable and clearly defined.  Another local secondary school, Waldegrave, has a defined catchment area in a location that is different to the school.

An Admissions Point is a means of defining the "centre of gravity" of a Catchment Area, without defining its outer boundary.  We think this method of defining a catchment area reduces confusion. With a more traditional catchment area parents often wrongly assume that living within the boundary guarantees them a place, or that living outside of it prevents them from applying, neither of which is true.

Admissions Points (sometimes called Nodal Points) are becoming more common.  Some schools, especially those intended to serve a wide area, are using transport hubs, such as train stations, as admissions points.

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