Sutton Council has been left needing to find places for 300 students after the local authority rejected plans for two new schools.

On January 16, a meeting of Sutton's People Committee is due to take place where a recommendation to approve plans for the council to spend £1.3m enhancing five separate schools in an effort to ensure "sufficiency of school places" in the borough for September 2020.

This came about following a decision by the council last year to reject a planning application by the Department for Education and Wates to deliver a new secondary and special school on the Rosehill site - which would have been run by the Greenshaw Learning Trust.

The council had planned for the DfE/GLT to open a temporary secondary school at 3 Robin Hood Lane to allow the school to open in September 2020 whilst the main schools were constructed on the Rosehill site in lieu of a further application.

However, when the planning permission for the main scheme was refused, the DfE and GLT confirmed they would not open the school for September 2020 "given the risk associated with opening a school without assurances on the permanent site." DFE and Wates have also decided to appeal the decision by the Local Planning Authority.

This left open the possibility that 300 students would be without a school place come September.

A spokesperson for the council said: "Since 2011 there has been an increasing school population and Sutton Council, in partnership with schools, has delivered over 4,300 additional primary school places and 4,200 additional secondary school places - including a new secondary school.

"Whilst the council is responsible for ensuring sufficient school places, the Government now delivers many new schools centrally through the free schools programme, independently of Local Councils.

"The DfE submitted a planning application for a new free school but was refused planning permission by the Local Planning Authority for a variety of reasons relating to and including; design, transport and use of the site. As a result, the DfE have confirmed that the school, which was due to open in temporary accommodation in September 2020 will not open.

"Given the delays to the Government's free school, the council has been working closely with secondary schools in the borough and has created and agreed additional further places with schools. The council is confident that this will meet the demand for next year."

Those extra places are as follows:

  • Carshalton Boys Sports College - 30 places
  • Carshalton High School for Girls - 30 places
  • Glenthorne High School - 43 places
  • Oaks Park High School - 60 places
  • Nonsuch High School for Girls - 30 places
  • Total - 193 places

The council said that all schools listed have agreed to provide additional places on the basis that capital funding is provided to ensure that accommodation can be provided to ensure there is sufficient and appropriate teaching spaces in schools to accommodate additional pupils based on their existing curriculum model and timetabling requirements.

But despite this, more than 100 students could still be left without a school place in Sutton as the local authority projected that up to 300 additional place could be required for September.

The council says it has been advised that one way to deal with this issue would be to ‘push’ some of the first preference applications back to the schools in their borough of residence.

In total the cost of the projects will come to £2.4m in which the council will contribute £1.3m, schools will collectively contribute £850k with another £250k to be met by the growth fund of the Dedicated Schools Grant.