Sutton Council has approved plans to spend £1.3 million creating larger school spaces after it was left needing to find room for 300 students.

Last week a meeting of the Sutton's People Committee took place where a recommendation was on the table 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.

Last week the council issued a statement to the Sutton Guardian stating that it was confident that demand for school places would be met for next year.

In follow up to the initial statement provided to the Sutton Guardian a spokesman for Sutton Council this week said: “Providing high quality school places in the borough has and will continue to be a priority for Sutton Council.

"Regardless of delays outside of the control of the council, school places will be created to meet the expected demand for those young people starting secondary school in the Borough in September 2020.

"We have a good relationship with our secondary schools and are grateful for the way they have worked with us in partnership to find a solution.

"If parents have any concerns about their secondary school application or school places after National Offer Day on 2nd March, for next year they should contact the School Admissions Team in the Council"

The extra school places that will be created as a result of the funding 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

During the meeting last week, it was brought up that approval of this plan could still see 100 students left without a place in the borough.

The head of information and pupil based commissioning advised that the 300 school places were an estimate and may be less than that figure.

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