The free school trust planning to open a new primary academy in Surbiton has set its sights on the King Charles Centre.

Stamp Education Trust applied this week to the Department for Education (DfE) for permission to help alleviate what its founder called a "dire" need for primary places in the area of Surbiton, Tolworth and Berrylands.

GEMS Learning Trust's had tried to open a school in Surbiton, but the Education Funding Agency (EFA) plumped for Swan House, in Kingston town centre, as its preferred site.

The agency still owns the building.

Stamp founder Matteo Rossetti said: "The Surbiton and Tolworth area is the one that has the most dire need. The [site] that would be ideal for a number of reasons would be the King Charles Centre.

"In terms of size, in terms of previous use, in terms of the area that it serves, in terms of value for money for the taxpayer, I think that's the one."

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Of the adult education services currently offered there, he said that "obviously the two things can co-exist".

He added: "We have a strong community service ethos. There's absolutely the possibility of having courses in the school."

Stamp hopes for an interview with DfE officials by December, Mr Rossetti said. But a decision on where the school will go is a long way off, he added.

After working with Achieving for Children to identify the part of the borough most in need of new primary places, Mr Rossetti said he discovered a projected deficit in Surbiton and Tolworth of nearly five forms of entry—or 145 pupils—by 2021.

Stamp announced its intentions to apply for a new school in April and held consultation events at the centre, at the corner of Hollyfield Road and King Charles Road, in July.

The application comes after primary headteachers held a crisis meeting with Kingston's MPs to say they were unfairly losing out on Government cash in a "funding crisis" that made it difficult to train and retain teaching staff.

Mark Clutterbuck, of Coombe Hill Junior School, said in May: "It's the actual per-pupil funding that comes to Kingston school which is significantly less than in other boroughs.

"It means that schools are using their reserves to fund things. You're not doing the building work you were doing before, you're having to look at recruitment."

Stamp also runs Thompson House School in Sheen Lane, Mortlake, which opened its permanent site last June.

MP James Berry said: “This is amazing news. I’ve been campaigning for a new primary school in the Surbiton and Tolworth area because that’s where the pressure on places is greatest.

"The main issue with new schools in areas like Kingston is often the location.

"Kevin Davis and I have worked proactively with the EFA and even walked their head of property around potential publicly-owned sites in the area.

"That tour included the King Charles Centre, but if this is the chosen site a new home would have to be found for Kingston Adult Education first."