1. How many children are you accepting in September 2014?
For September 2014, we will have two Reception classes of 26 pupils each and two Year One classes. We will grow year-on-year until we reach our full capacity of 364 pupils.
2. How do I apply to Thomson House School?
We want to work as part of the local family of outstanding schools, and therefore our admissions process is run by the Local Authority of Richmond-upon-Thames. If you would like to apply to Thomson House, apply through the Local Authority's application process, selecting Thomson House as one of your preferences. For 2014, this will likely open in September 2013.
You can also read about Thomson House in the Local Authority's admissions brochure.
For 2014 Reception entrance, the Local Authority's admissions process opened on 1 September 2013 and will close on 15 January 2014.
3. What if I have missed the Local Authority’s admissions window for September 2014 and still want to apply?
You should rapidly contact the Local Authority who will advise you on next steps, including joining any waiting lists for primary schools in the borough. You can get in touch with the Local Authority at:
The School Admissions Team
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Education, Children's and Cultural Services Directorate
44 York Street
Telephone: 020 8891 7514
For in-year admissions: 020 8891 7535
4. When would we find out if our application for a place has been successful?
The Local Authority should be in touch in April 2014. See the Local Authority's website for more information.
5. How do I make an appeal?
Should you not be allocated a place at Thomson House you have the right to appeal to the Governors of Thomson House against the decision not to offer your child a place.The Governors will make arrangements to enable parents to appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel having given full regard to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.
Appeals will be heard by The London Borough of Richmond’s Independent Appeals Service
The Schools Appeals team
Tel: 0208 8917163
6. What is your catchment area?
So far, the Local Authority has indicated to us that in September 2013, Thomson House's catchment area was approximately 644 metres. This is calculated by the Local Authority as the crow flies (in a straight line) from the seed-point of the Old Court House (SW14 8HY). There may be some slight change in the coming months, but this is likely to be minimal.
7. Where will you open in September 2014
Our Lower Years will be based at the Court House (Reception to Year 3), with the Upper Years (Year 4-6) at the United Reform Church.
8. How will you manage the lack of outside space at the Church, and limited space at the Court House?
Limited on-site outdoor space is a challenge for many London based schools. We have been working closely with existing outstanding schools with limited outside space to ensure that we provide the best provision for our pupils. There will be a play-area on the Court House site. We will also be using Mortlake Green, which is adjacent to the Court House and a few minutes walk from the Church. Negotiations with the Stag Brewery are proceeding positively for use of their fields. In addition, St.Pauls and the Harrodian have offered use of their playing fields.
9. How will you supervise play on Mortlake Green?
Mortlake Green is an excellent resource available to us for supervised play-time, as it is directly across from the Old Court House site and only a couple minutes walk from the Church. Procedures for supervising this play are the same as the supervision of any off-site activity or school trip and will ensure children’s safe enjoyment of this space. We are working-up staff timetables to ensure adequate staffing at all required times.
10. How many teachers will there be per class?
Each Reception class will have a full-time teacher and a full-time assistant. They will be supported by a specialist Music teacher and the Head who has a 20% teaching time-table. From Year 1 onwards, each class will have a teacher and will share an assistant with another class. We will have specialist Modern Languages teachers from Year 4.
11. What impact will it have on my child to be in the eldest peer group at Thomson House?
We believe that our 2013 cohort of children and parents have the unique opportunity to shape the ethos of the school. This will allow leadership and confidence building. We are fully aware of the importance of our first cohort of pupils having the opportunity to socialise and build relationships with older children. To this end, we have established links with The Harrodian and St. Paul’s School, both of whom will be providing mentorship schemes run by students for our pupils, as well as helping in the running of our enrichment programme.
12. Will you be focused on academic excellence? How do you hope to achieve this?
Yes. Our academic priority is to deliver excellent English and Maths, with a target of over 90% of pupils achieving Level 4 in English and Maths; more than 67% achieving Level 5 in English; and 78% achieving Level 5 in Maths. All pupils will also take part in one Extended Enquiry project per term. The Governors are committed to recruiting an outstanding educational team to ensure delivery of this.
13. Will school meals be catered for?
Healthy school meals will be provided at Thomson House through a carefully selected caterer. Staff and pupils will eat together everyday.
14. Will there be after schools clubs for those with working parents?
Yes. Thomson House operates an ‘extended hours’ day opening at 7:30am with a Breakfast Club and operating through to 4.45pm with an After-School Club.
Free school policy
15. How does the funding work?
Thomson House School is receiving a package of funding direct from the Department for Education to set up the school. From September 2013 the school receives a per pupil funding settlement from the Local Authority in line with all maintained primary schools in the Borough.
16. Will you look to external sources for top-up funding?
Our financial offer is rigorous and sound and we do not require top-up funding to break even. However, we very much intend to undertake a comprehensive fund-raising campaign in order to enrich our inclusive offer to pupils, including for a Trips, Music Tuition and Uniform Fund. We have begun reaching out to local businesses to see what involvement they might have in the school’s development.
17. What happens if there is a change in government / education policy?
Upon opening, all free schools receive the same legal status as academies. We are joining a group of hundreds of existing academies, a policy no party has indicated it would look to turn back.
18. How can parents get involved in the running / future of the school?
Thomson House will operate an open door policy where all teaching staff will be available to parents at regular times during the day. In addition parents will always be welcome to join our daily assemblies. Our governing team will have a minimum of two parent governors to represent the interests of parents directly in the running of the school.
19. What is a free school?
Free schools are state or maintained schools that receive their funding entirely from central government. As such they are automatically ‘Academies’ and sit outside Local Authority control but adhere to the School Admissions Code of Practice. Free schools are non-selective and free to all attending pupils. They are set up by interested local groups who feel their area would benefit from a free school and can demonstrate local demand for one. You can find out more here.
Our local area
20. What about your traffic and noise policy?
We are working on comprehensive traffic and noise policies that take into full consideration the views of local residents. Further information on our policies will be available here as they are developed. If you'd like to share your views, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.