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Croydon’s £160m plan to build five new schools

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Five new schools will be built and more than 6,000 school places created over the next three as part of a £160million plan initiated by Croydon Council.

The authority has detailed how it will continue to keep up with rising numbers of school-age children in the borough. This builds on the work done over recent years that is seeing the council deliver one of the largest school expansion programmes in the country.

As well as 1,500 primary and more than 4,000 secondary places there will also, subject to formal consultation, be new provision for almost 750 children with special educational needs.

Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, families, and learning, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to announce that by 2020 more than 6,000 extra children will be able to be taught at local schools. Our population is growing fast, and I’m delighted to be able to reassure parents that they will not have to worry about whether their children will be able to get into a local school.”

The extra places include the continued expansion of the new Krishna Avanti and Harris Academy Purley Way primary schools as well as the Arena secondary academy that was opened last year.

At primary level, the newly announced plan will also see additional classes added to Woodcote Primary, Smitham Primary and the Robert Fitzroy Academy. Two further new primary schools are proposed to open in 2020, one of which, Ark Bayes, will have three reception classes.

The second will have two reception classes if approved for funding by the Department for Education (DfE).

For the 2017-18 school year, the borough will gain an additional 70 places through the expansion of Archbishop Lanfranc, increasing the capacity of the school to 350 over the following five years.

Between 2018 and 2020 the large recent growth in the numbers of children attending the borough’s primary schools will require a similar expansion of secondary school provision.

The council plans to meet this demand with three new free schools providing more than 2,500 places. Subject to DfE approval one of these will be built at The Crescent, with another to be constructed in Morland Road. The third site has yet to be agreed, with options currently being explored by Sutton’s Wallington County School.

Proposals for a growth in dedicated school places for children with special educational needs include the possibility of the permanent expansion of Beckmead and St Nicholas special schools. If approved at this stage, the council will formally consult before confirming whether to proceed with this part of the plan.