Chairman's Blog - July 2017


Rutlish School has been ranked “outstanding” by Ofsted. We congratulate the Head Teacher, the staff, and the pupils on this excellent achievement. 

The school, which is all boys, remains a local authority comprehensive, and has a higher proportion of pupils from ethnic minorities than the national average.  The inspectors were full of praise for its “knowledge and understanding of tolerance

and democracy” which makes the pupils “exceptionally well prepared for the challenges of life in modern Britain”. They found that their progress far outperforms boys’ schools nationally. They praised staff for their “high performance” culture and outstanding subject knowledge as well as for their high expectations for their pupils, and pupils for their very positive attitudes and commitment to learn. 


The Junior Tennis Initiative was started by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (better known as Wimbledon) some 15 years ago as part of their commitment to the local community and with the desire to bring tennis to local schools. Since that time the hard-working coaches of the Club have been to visit every primary and secondary school in Merton, in order to enthuse both pupils and staff with their desire to give every child the chance to play tennis, and to keep active and fit. Those children who show aptitude for tennis are then given the opportunity to train in squads run by the Club’s coaches.  Literally thousands of children have been helped in this way. 

The training used to be given only at the main premises in Church Road,

Wimbledon, but the building of the new roof on the Number One Court forced them to look elsewhere. This is now carried out at the Raynes Park Playing Field, the entrance to which is on Grand Drive, and which is bounded by Cannon Hill Lane, Elm Walk, and Southway. 

Members of the Committee were given the chance to see the tennis training at the ground on a recent Saturday. It’s a hub of activity. There is training for an hour for each child, arranged in age groups from as young as 4. This starts early in the morning and goes on through the afternoon. 

The training is led by Dan Bloxham, who is the Head Coach at the All England Club, and his wife Lizzie. They live in our area, and are totally committed and dedicated to their work. 

The ground itself has been transformed with grass courts, in season, acrylic hard courts, and a state of the art bubble containing indoor courts for inclement weather.

The building work is exceptionally well done. 


As we noted in the last edition of The Guide, some 30 Association volunteers and members of the Pavilion Club were given the chance to have a 2-hour tour of Wimbledon, led enthusiastically by the indefatigable Dan Bloxham. 

The tour began in their indoor courts, where we met some of the senior pupils on the Junior Tennis Initiative, who were practising. They were full of praise for the opportunities given to them. 


Every year we hold an Open Meeting in the Motspur Park area, so that we can discuss with residents there any issues that concern them. This year we were very fortunate to be given the chance to hold it in Blossom House School, which is a specialist therapeutic school for children with a wide range of learning and communication difficulties. The School was re-located in Motspur Park in 2015, and children come to the school from all over London and Surrey. 

The Principal is Joey Burgess, OBE, who founded the school elsewhere some 20 years ago with just 4 pupils and has gradually increased it in size so that it now educates some 200 pupils, with a pupil teacher ratio that is second to none. She gave us an inspiring address as to the joy that she and her staff feel when they can bring out the best in children that other schools found difficult to teach. We hope to bring you a detailed account of her remarks at some point. 


It is worth repeating that, as we mentioned in the last edition of The Guide, there will be major disruption for trains from this area to Waterloo Station, where four platforms are being extended to take longer trains, and new track laid on the approach to the station. The work is meant to run from August 5 to 28, and half the normal train service will be cancelled. If past performance is any guide, we may expect the work to overrun, and the number of cancelled trains to increase. Trains are likely to be queuing right down the line to get into Waterloo, and there is bound to be massive crowding at Waterloo for those trying to get home. 

The best advice seems to be either to go away or else to find other routes into London. The Thameslink service from Wimbledon to Blackfriars and stations over the river would seem an obvious alternative choice. 


John Elvidge

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