A new bid to build a free school in Sutton has been launched as the pressure on school places cranks up.

Greenshaw High School, in Grennell Road, Sutton, announced today, Thursday September 11, that it has applied to the Department for Education (DfE) for funding to build a new secondary school on land currently owned by Epsom and St Helier Hospitals' Trust.

The bid has been welcomed by Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow though his political opponent and Labour parliamentary candidate Emily Brothers said it must not be a 'free-for-all- that fails to meet the needs and aspirations of families'.

The application comes as Sutton Council seeks to create 26 new secondary school forms by 2020.

William Smith, executive headteacher at the school, said: "Greenshaw is a high-performing, successful and popular local school, with the proven skills and capacity to support and develop other schools."

The school has concluded that the best way to maximise opportunities to create new secondary school places in Sutton is through applying to the DfE for ‘free school’ funding.

Money would come directly from the DfE, and not from the funding allocated to Sutton council, so would be in addition to the borough's school expansion work.

Once the school is open it would be run and funded in the same way as any other academy school.

Mr Smith said: "If successful, the application for free school funding will bring additional capital money to the borough in addition to any money allocated to the council to meet the needs it has identified."

The new school, he added, would be a non-selective mixed comprehensive and would be separate from Greenshaw High School with its own funding, but under the ‘umbrella’ of the Greenshaw Trust.

Paul Burstow, MP for Sutton and Cheam, said: "I fully support Greenshaw's decision to put themselves forward to run the new high school the borough needs.

"By applying to run a free school Greenshaw is offering the best of both worlds. Their local reputation and educational record is first class and taking the free school route will unlock vital funding to deliver the new school on time.

"Now we need the team at the Epsom St Helier NHS Trust to put their foot on the accelerator and finalise the sale of the land needed to build the school."

Ms Brothers said she was in favour of enterprise and innovation when it comes to increasing school places, but added: "However, assurances are needed on local oversight and standards, not a free-for-all that fails to meet the needs and aspirations of local families.

"I'm in favour of parent-led academies in Sutton and Cheam that enable parent groups and other organisations to set up schools outside local authority control, although local authorities need to have greater powers to intervene when there are concerns about standards."