Croydon puts forward its schools’ expansion plans

Croydon Council has outlined its plans to provide extra school places over the next three years for children in the borough.

A new Education Estates Strategy report has put forward how the local authority plans to spend £106.72 million to expand and update existing schools.

The council plans on providing 240 additional reception places and 360 additional Year 7 places by expanding current schools in the borough, while four new free schools – which do not come under the control of the council – are also planned.

To meet growing demand, two new primary free schools are set to open in 2019 – Ark Bayes, in Thornton Heath, with three forms of entry, and a primary free school run by the Collegiate Trust, which is set to have two forms of entry.

Two new free secondary schools are also proposed to be built. One – to be known as Coombe Wood School – is set to be open by the 2018/19 academic year off Coombe Road, in South Croydon and should allow 180 new places each year, which will be run by the Folio Education Trust. The second – Ark Blake, in Addiscombe – will be built ready for the academic year starting in 2020, on the site of the former council offices at Rees House, in Morland Road, and will offer 180 Year 7 places.

While the council is planning on creating new schools, it is also hoping to expand existing schools in the borough. Krishna Avanti Primary School, in Waddon, will get an additional 30 reception places when the school moves into its new building. Other schools to expand include Robert Fitzroy Academy, in Selhurst, and Smitham Primary School, in Coulsdon.

The report also detailed how the council has a responsibility to provide school places within the borough for children with special needs or a disability.

Currently, 70 per cent of children over the age of 16 with special needs (SEN) are travelling outside of Croydon to receive their education, due to a lack of facilities in the borough. Two free SEN schools are now set to open in the south of the borough, one with between 120 and 150 places for pupils with autism set to open in 2019, and another for over-19s with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

Alisa Flemming, the council’s cabinet member for children, young people and learning, said: “We want Croydon to be a place of opportunity for everyone. As London’s growth borough we are always looking to the future and we have a strong track record in planning, partnership and innovation to meet demand, creating over 10,000 new primary places and nearly 2,000 new secondary places over the last six academic years. We will continue to ensure that as our borough regenerates, every child is offered a place in the high-quality learning environment they deserve.”