Turing House

Permanent Site Information

Turing House initially opened in Teddington in 2015.  The Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has successfully negotiated the purchase of a permanent site within Richmond Borough, on Hospital Bridge Road in Heathfield. It is a large (approximately 6.5 hectare) greenfield site with more than enough space for the new school facilities that will, subject to planning permission, be built there.  We will be keeping this page updated with news as the plans progress.

July 2017: Following a key decision on the sale of the land by Hounslow Council in December 2016, feasibility surveys have been completed and the construction of the school will shortly be put out for tender.  

As input to the tender process, reference designs have been drawn up.  We had a lot of input into these, and the ESFA has allowed us to show them to Turing House students and parents. The size of the site will enable us to have excellent sporting facilities and we’ve already started to look at how these could be made available to the community. Inclusion of a British Cycling approved cycle track is being seriously considered. This would be a part of Project Ride Safe, whose circuits provide opportunities for the young, the old and the disabled to gain confidence before they take to the open road.

The reference plans also include a reconfiguration of the entrance to Sempervirens Nursery so that both sites can be accessed safely from Hospital Bridge Road.

Full plans will be prepared when a contractor has been selected, with the planning permission application process being undertaken by the winning construction company. A traffic plan is to be prepared by an independent consultancy engaged by the ESFA.  

The timing of our move to Hospital Bridge Road is subject to the planning process, and is currently anticipated to be in 2020. In the meantime, there is a strategy in place to ensure that we can continue to grow the school at our current Teddington location, and we will announce further details as soon as we are able to do so.

 

How was the permanent site decided?

We all know land is in short supply in our area, and expensive to obtain. We have published details of some of our past site preferences, and why they were ruled out. In addition to these we proposed several other local sites to the Education Funding Agency for investigation and suggestions were also made by Richmond Council and members of the local community.  

Having considered the options, the EFA progressed the purchase of the Hospital Bridge Road site in consultation with Richmond and Hounslow Local Authorities. It is within reasonable distance of our central admissions point, and is large enough to accommodate not only a brand new school building and sports facilities but also outdoor playing fields, hard surface courts and recreation areas.

Why haven't you been able to publish more detail about the process for securing a permanent site?

All of the site information we publish needs to be approved by the ESFA. They are very cautious about releasing details because commercial negotiations must be kept confidential. Leaked information can increase competition for sites or cause sensitive discussions to break down. It can also cause unnecessary distress to neighbours of sites if partial information can't be confirmed until negotiations have sufficiently progressed.  However, we also recognise that lack of information can be frustrating too, so we do publish whatever we can.

When will local residents be consulted on the plans?

When a contractor has been appointed, and the full plans prepared, they will be published for public consultation as part of the planning process.  People will then have substantive information to comment on.

Will it be difficult to get Planning Permission?

Obtaining planning permission can be a lengthy process.  However, national and regional planning frameworks are strongly supportive of the establishment of new schools.

The National Planning Policy Framework requires local planning authorities to take a proactive, positive and collaborative approach to ensuring that a sufficient choice of school places is available to meet local needs.

The current London Plan states that proposals for new schools should be considered positively, and only refused where any negative local impacts that can't be addressed through planning conditions or obligations substantially outweigh the desirability of establishing the school.

Can schools be established on Metropolitan Open Land?

There have been cases of schools built on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL), but only when it is the only viable option. The Education Funding Agency has a responsibility to rule out all other potential options before progressing planning applications on MOL.

Schools do need to go somewhere, and where there are no easy options, difficult options need to be pursued instead, albeit with proper local consultation.

Will there be benefits to compensate for the loss of open space?

Schools bring huge benefit, not only to the families that use them, but to the wider community that gains access to their facilities.  Many schools act as low cost community and sports centres outside of the standard school day. 

Conversion of open land for school use can therefore be an opportunity to enhance recreational provision, especially when the land was not previously accessible to the public as in this case.

Has Turing House been established to serve Whitton and Heathfield?

Absolutely! The school was established to serve the Middlesex side of Richmond Borough, so Whitton and Heathfield are very much a part of that.  Many of our current Turing House families come from those areas and they are highly valued members of our school community.

When we began our marketing campaign for a new school back in 2011 we sent information to all of the borough's primary schools, including those in Whitton/Heathfield.  Our supporters also stood outside local primary schools and handed out leaflets.

Our site search has  always included Whitton and Heathfield in its boundaries, and other sites in those wards were looked at by the Education Funding Agency.

 I have heard that 80% of Turing House students will be from Teddington, is that true?

No, that is a misinterpretation of the admissions policy.

Turing House has been established to serve the Middlesex side of Richmond borough. We have an Admissions Point in a central location on the Fulwell/Teddington border, as far as it is possible to be from other co-educational secondaries.  This location marks a "centre-of-gravity" for our area of need, but the demand for good school places is borough-wide, and includes the area around the proposed permanent site in Heathfield/Whitton.  We are committed to striking an appropriate balance in serving both locations, as well as the area in-between.

Our current oversubscription criteria prioritise places by distance from the Admissions Point and from the proposed permanent site at a ratio of 80:20.  However this certainly doesn't mean that 80% of the students are from Fulwell/Teddington.

Our allocation maps  show that Turing House is successfully serving most of the demand from Heathfield and Whitton whilst still enabling families to gain access to Turing House from many other wards across the Middlesex side of the borough,

We continuously monitor our admissions to ensure that our policy serves the local need and demand appropriately, and the report on our most recent consultations on this can be found here.

Will students have long journeys to school?

Not especially. Most secondary schools serve a geographically widespread area, with the average distance traveled by London secondary students being 3.1 miles.

In contrast, our 2016 cohort (for example) would need to travel an average of just 1.6 miles to get to Hospital Bridge Road.

Secondary school students tend to travel independently and families take journey times and conditions into account when selecting their admissions preferences, balancing them against other factors.

Our Admissions Point prioritises families that live furthest from other co-educational community schools, so students from that central area would have to travel comparable distances to other co-ed schools too – not just to Turing House. 

How will transport links be managed? 

Many of our students live within easy walking distance of the proposed site, and most of the others are likely to use public transport.  The area is served by several bus routes (481, H22, 110, 111) and is 8 minutes’ walk from Whitton station. It is also a short, safe walk or cycle ride from West Twickenham via the A316 underpass or bridges

We have already made contact with Transport for London to alert them to potential future changes in travel patterns during peak hours, and we will keep them up to date with our site announcements.  They have been very accommodating and have said that, with timely input from us, they can position themselves to provide sufficient buses to cope with any new demand from the opening of Turing House.

The school travel plan will be fully considered as part of the planning process.

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