One of my key campaigns since becoming an MP has been increasing the number of school places here in Elmbridge. It was brilliant news, then, that yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron gave the go-ahead for the ElmWey Learning Trust to open a brand new Free School in Elmbridge – the Heathside School, Walton on Thames.
I have liaised with ElmWey’s Executive Principal, Anne Cullum, and her team and was supportive of their bid to the Department for Education. The new school – to be based in the Walton and Molesey area – will open in September 2019, and will be state-funded, non-selective and non-faith based. By 2024, the new school will provide 900 school places locally, easing pressure for pupils and parents. ElmWey Learning Trust, who submitted the bid in March, have a strong track record and currently run Heathside School in Weybridge, which is rated Good by Ofsted (and Outstanding for leadership).
With school places a pressing issue for many local parents, this announcement is great news and comes at a crucial time. I’ll continue to work with Anne and her team and Surrey County Council to help Heathside, Walton on Thames establish itself, and I have every expectation it will become a tremendous success. With the re-development of Rydens Enterprise School and ongoing efforts to secure a site for the Cobham Free School, this latest approval will go a long way to easing pressure on local school places for families across the borough.