Ark Putney Academy

A new academy for Putney

The ARK Putney Academy opened in September 2012, replacing Elliott School.

ARK Putney academy is Wandsworth's most improved school and, under the direction of new headteacher Mark Phillips, is now in the top 100 most improved schools in Britain. Becoming an academy, run by the charity Ark, has strengthened the school even further, enabling it to offer a broader curriculum and opportunities to access events and training across Ark's network. The council and Ark want to ensure that the school is a place where everyone in Putney is proud to send their children.

The Academy's renovations

The council is proposing a £30m renovation of the school to remodel internal areas and create enhanced sports facilities. 

The council is funding part of the costs (around £5 million) but does not have the resources to meet all of the costs. It has therefore been agreed that part of the school site will be sold for private development to help pay for the renovations.

Following a rigorous tender process, conditional contracts have been exchanged with Barratt London for the sale of part of the school's site.

Barratt will seek planning permission for a residential development on the land, which would generate the funding needed to finance the refurbishment of the new academy.

School's renovation plans

If planning permission is granted, the land sale will be completed and all the money raised, plus additional funding of around £5million from Wandsworth Council, will be used for the scheme to:

  • remodel internal areas of the main listed building, whilst preserving its architectural heritage
  • replace the glazing with better insulated, modern glazing to improve year-round temperature and energy management,
  • create brighter, more spacious and well-equipped classrooms
  • improve the energy efficiency and renew the services for the heating and lighting of the school
  • build a new 4 court sports hall to the latest Sport England standards and create a new outdoor multi-purpose sports area
  • re-landscape the remaining site

Wandsworth's strategic partners Lend Lease, working with English Heritage, have prepared detailed renovation plans for the school.

Public consultation

Public consultations, by both Barratt on their residential scheme and Lend Lease on the renovation of the school buildings, began in December 2012.

Read more on the consultation

Following these initial public consultations, two separate planning applications for the Barratt and Lend Lease proposals are will be submitted.

Once these have been submitted, the council will consult on the detailed proposals before the planning decisions are made and, if approved, the land sale contract will then be completed.

Getting involved

Headteacher Mark Phillips, who has already overseen significant improvements in teaching, learning and pupil achievement at the school, says: "We are pleased that there has been a further step towards securing the funding which will enable us to create the teaching and learning facilities that ARK Putney Academy's students deserve.

"Our school and neighbourhood community now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the space around us and I would urge pupils, parents, staff and our wider community to get involved in the consultation."

Work has already started to provide purpose-designed, high quality, temporary classrooms which will immediately improve the educational environment. The school will move into these buildings in February 2013, where they will remain until the renovations are complete.

See Better Schools, More Choice for more about the council's plans for the future of education in Wandsworth.

The need for renovation

In order for the school to flourish its 1950s buildings need major renovation.

Without this the pupils cannot learn effectively - the buildings are excessively hot in summer and cold in winter - and the school cannot function properly.

All the buildings are Grade II-listed with exception of the small sixth form building. Over the years the council has carried out a series of repairs and refurbishments, including renewing the roof of the main building and the assembly hall, along with structural and glazing repairs.

However, significant work is now needed to maintain the structure of the school. The external facade is currently covered in protective scaffolding for safety reasons.

The significant issues faced by the school include:

  • Unsafe, dilapidated cladding and decaying and insecure windows in most of the main block
  • Year round problems with heating, cooling and ventilation
  • Gyms which are unsuitable for modern sports usage and do not meet Sport England guidance
  • Many areas which are wheelchair inaccessible
  • Many classrooms which are too small
  • Poor circulation and inefficient use of space
  • Severe roof leaks during heavy rain in the gym and technology block
  • Many areas that no longer comply with modern Health and Safety standards
  • Worn out fittings and fixtures