Educational Structure of Heathside Walton-on-Thames

Educational Structure of Heathside Walton-on-Thames

Heathside Walton-On-Thames will be a new, mixed, 11-16, non-faith based, non-selective secondary school. It will admit 150 pupils per year in its first year of operating rising to 180 pupils thereafter.

Since the Academies Act 2010 all new schools are free schools, prior to this Local Authorities were able to open up schools. ElmWey Learning Trust is delighted to have this opportunity to use its proven expertise to open this new school to expand parental choice and deliver excellent education.

Free Schools are State funded schools. The first were set up in 2011 and there are now over 476 across the country including over 120 secondary Free Schools. They are not under the control of the Local Authority and are funded directly by the Department for Education. Surrey County Council remain the designated authority responsible for identifying need and ensuring there are enough places to match the demand.

Free Schools are state-funded schools created to meet the need for pupil places in an area; the need for an alternative to low quality local provision; local demand for new provision (including through providing innovative and distinctive educational offers). They deliver high-quality places where they are needed.

Any suitable proposer can set up a free school, if they can demonstrate: a strong vision and education plan; that they have the capacity and capability to develop and deliver a new free school in a targeted local authority area, or in a “pocket” of low standards.

Legally, free schools are academies, so they enjoy the same autonomy and freedoms. These include the ability to set their own pay and conditions; greater control over their budget; freedom from following the national curriculum; teachers do not have to have Qualified Teachers Status (QTS), unless they are working in a special school; freedom to change the length of school days; and freedom from LA control.

On 11 May, Wave 13 was announced for new Free School applications. Wave 13 aims to extend the programme to areas that have not previously benefitted from it, including in the north-east. It will not, however, change projects that are already in pre-opening.

  • Ofsted’s latest information shows that 84% of all free schools (including those for 16-19 year olds) with inspection reports published by the end of March are rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, with 30% rated ‘Outstanding’.
  • Free schools are amongst some of the highest performing schools in the country and end of KS4 pupils in secondary free schools made more progress on average than pupils in other types of schools in 2017.
  • 5% of disadvantaged pupils at free schools achieved a strong pass in the EBacc, which is higher than all other school types.

The school will be non-selective. Admissions criteria will be agreed as our plans are developed further and when the school site is finalised.

In the first year, the trust which governs Heathside Walton-on-Thames will process applications outside the normal local authority process for co-ordinating school offers (the trust will be its own Admissions Authority). This means applicants will need to complete the LA common application form for their other choices of school in addition to a separate application for Heathside Walton-on-Thames.

In subsequent years, for entry into year 7, the admissions process will be coordinated by Surrey. In-year admissions will be dealt with by the school. Surrey will work with the school to co-ordinate admissions applications across all Surrey schools and with neighbouring Admissions Authorities at the normal annual admissions round.

In the first years of opening there will not be a set catchment area. This will mean that those living nearest to the school will be given priority (unless applying with an Education Health and Care Plan or as a Looked After Child). A catchment area to come into use following the first year will be determined later according to standard methods.

As with all academies and free schools, the new school will operate independently of the local authority but with its support. SCC is the Local Authority that is responsible for securing a sufficiency of school places in its administrative area. This means that the County Council plans to meet the future demand for places by forecasting trends and brokering more places in existing schools and academies, where possible and prudent to do so.

As the local demand is set to rise and remain at a higher level for a number of years SCC has supported the ElmWey Trust in its bid to promote a new school in the area. Apart from eventually co-ordinating the admissions to this new school SCC has no other legal responsibilities in terms of its management. As with all the local schools SCC will always seek to work in partnership with Heathside Walton-on-Thames for the benefit of residents and will meet its statutory duties of promoting high standards of education for all and championing children within Surrey.

No, the new school wishes to ensure that it offers a broad curriculum giving equal opportunity for students to flourish not only in the core subjects but in those that develop creativity and innovation.

For core subjects there will be a standard class size of between 28 and 30 pupils. Some optional subjects at Key Stage 4 will be between 15 and 25 pupils.

The school will operate in 2 half year groups of approximately 90 students on each side of the year (180 per year group divided by 2).

The Free School will follow a 6 x 50-minute period day emulating Heathside School, Weybridge and so facilitating a degree of shared staffing and pedagogy during the initial years. This staffing arrangement will give students access to a greater range of specialist staff and ensure best practice is shared. In addition, students will be given the opportunity to opt for 2 out of 4 one hour after school sessions offered Monday to Thursday. There will be a choice from:

  • Academic Study and Support
  • Exercise, Sport and Healthy Living
  • Creative and Performing Arts
  • Life and Community skills

The new school will offer a range of extra-curricular provision including homework clubs and enrichment activities covering a range of interests including sports and the arts. A breakfast club for students is a possibility that will be determined once firmer information is available regarding pupils’ travel arrangements.

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