Headteacher appointed to free school which may open without permanent buildings

Rachel Jacob

Rachel Jacob

First published in News Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

An executive headteacher has been appointed to a free school which could open without a single permanent building.

A site for Park Community School has not yet been confirmed, despite the fact it is meant to be opening its doors to pupils in six months time.

From September, youngsters could be taught in temporary buildings constructed in the Raynes Park or Motspur Park areas, in the latest plan for a new school in Merton.

New executive headteacher Rachel Jacob will be taking the helm at both Park Community and Benedict Primary School from September, having proven success at Hillcross Primary School in Ashridge Way, Morden.

Benedict Primary, Mitcham, was placed in special measures following an inspection in March last year and was told it must convert to an academy.

The report criticised the quality of teaching, weak achievement of pupils in reading, writing and mathematics and low levels of attendance.

It has since been taken over by Morden-based charity Chapel St.

Speaking about Park Community, Mrs Jacob said: "Chapel St is waiting for the final decision from the Department of Education.

"If we haven’t secured a permanent site we will be looking at a temporary building.

"That’s something we’re working really hard on.

"I don’t know where the temporary site will be.

"It is completely out of our hands."

Mrs Jacob said the school is already over-subscribed for September, with more than 100 applications for 60 places.

She added: "There’s a real need for additional schools.

"I am really excited; I think it is an exciting time for both communities."

Mrs Jacob said she will spend three days a week at Benedict and two days at Park, and have an office in both locations.

At Hillcross she is credited with having led the school from a satisfactory Ofsted rating to outstanding in 15 months.

The school had just emerged from special measures.

A Department of Education spokesperson said: "The Education Funding Agency is continuing to finalise arrangements for the site for the Park Community School.

"An announcement will be made in due course."

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