A Christian charity is set to take over Coulsdon High School, after its plans to replace it with a city academy were given the green light.

The Oasis Trust beat bids from the Church of England's Southwark Diocesan Board and the Harris Foundation of Schools.

It was confirmed as the preferred sponsor at a meeting of the council's general purposes committee last Thursday.

If the plans are approved, the nondenominational school in Homefield Road, Old Coulsdon, will be independently-run by Oasis but will remain state-funded. If approved, it will also teach pupils up to the age of 19.

Oasis is already developing six academies in the UK, with one opening this month in Enfield and another in Grimsby and Immingham Ports Partnership, north-east Lincolnshire.

Oasis has its roots in Oasis UK, a charity founded in 1985 by the Reverend Steve Chalke. Over the past 20 years, it has grown to have bases in 10 different countries, and expanded into providing academies with the mission to create and sustain a network of learning communities.

It impressed the council with a proven track record in education and also with its ideas to re-establish Coulsdon High, which was put into special measures last year, as the most popular school in the area.

Despite achieving its best maths Sats results this year, the school is still not popular with Coulsdon parents.

Councillor Maria Gatland, the council's education spokeswoman, revealed this is the main reason for turning it into an academy.

Headteacher Colin MacKinlay said: "We are still taking on board the information for it. We were not even aware they were in the running until Wednesday.

"It seems like a good proposal though with lots of interesting points to it so we are looking forward to learning more and working with Oasis on what looks like it will be quite a rapid process if we are to open as an academy next September."

The council will now work with Oasis on a consultation process with parents, governors and staff. It could open as early as next September.

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