£15m investment in school expansions means more options for parents

Published: Thursday, July 30, 2020

Parents looking to send their children to a Wandsworth secondary school will soon have more options and wider choices with two more secondaries set to be expanded to meet growing parental demand.

Share this

Newly revamped study space at Ark Putney Academy

Chestnut Grove Academy in Balham and St Cecilia’s in Southfields are both next in line to be expanded so they can admit more pupils.

They are key elements of a project to expand some of the borough’s most over-subscribed schools, as part of a £15m-plus investment on providing more classroom places in Wandsworth.

Funding worth £15.6m is paying for extra classrooms at some of the borough’s primary, secondary and special schools.

Designs are now being drawn up for Chestnut Grove and St Cecilia’s with an anticipated completion date for both schemes in the late summer/autumn of 2021.

At St Cecilia’s, which specialises in music tuition, the plans are to increase its intake by one extra class – and add an extra 50 sixth form places.

At Chestnut Grove, which specialises in art and design, the school will increase admissions by the equivalent of 1.5 classes, while the investment in new facilities will also enable the school to expand its sixth form provision by 50 places.

Once these expansions are in place, attention will turn to Putney’s Ashcroft Technology Academy where the plans will allow it to permanently increase its intake by an additional class after temporary admission arrangements were introduced at the start of the last academic year.

Last month the latest stage of the project was completed at Ark Putney Academy, enabling the school to add two new classes to its intake and expand its sixth form provision by a further 50 places.

And in earlier phases of the scheme both Burntwood and Graveney schools in Tooting were able to increase their intake as result of additional classroom spaces being provided.

Altogether funding worth £12.6m is paying for an extra 1,000 places across the borough – including an additional 825 places at secondary level and a further 150 sixth form places.

The investment means local schools have enough classroom space to cater for rising pupil numbers and at the same time ensure that local parents have a wider choice of schools for their children to attend.

At primary level, Brandlehow School in Putney is admitting an extra class as part of a £3m project to meet growing demand from parents in this part of the borough.

Additional resources have also been invested in special educational needs provision to support children with a range of disabilities with £17m spent constructing new school facilities for Greenmead School.

There is also a programme of annual capital investment worth more than £2m to pay for the replacement of fixed assets like heating systems, roofs, windows, fire alarms and other pieces of school infrastructure.

Education spokesman Cllr Will Sweet said: “This is a substantial programme of investment to provide additional classroom places at some of our best performing and most popular schools.

“It will also give parents wider options and greater choice when it comes to choosing a school for their children.

“And I particularly welcome the extra investment in our special needs provision which will directly benefit some of the borough’s most vulnerable children.”

Wandsworth offers parents some of the best schools in London. Currently 93 per cent of all schools in the borough at both primary and secondary level are officially rated as either good or outstanding by education standards watchdog Ofsted.