Sutton could get a new secondary school but council can't say where
A new secondary school could be built in Sutton to cope with rising demand but the council will not say where it may be or what sort of school it could be.
Sutton Council has acknowledged a new secondary school may have to be built in the borough and says it could happen as early as 2015. It also says it has identified a possible site but has refused to reveal where.
The borough's primary schools are in the middle of an expansion plan to cope with a predicted shortfall in places by next year brought on by an increasing birth rate, more people moving to the borough because of its good schools and more people staying in the borough.
The issue of what will happen to the influx of pupils when they reach secondary school was raised at a meeting of the council's children, family and education committee on Thursday, November 15.
Councillor Anisha Callaghan asked: "We have an increasing number of births, when you have extra primary school places then at some stage you need extra secondary school places."
Sharman Lawson, executive head of parent, pupil and student services at the council, said: "Clearly, there will need to be an expansion programme if people continue to want to reside in Sutton.
"We do have some time before it becomes apparent in the secondary sector, it will be 2015 before we expand the secondary sector. We're working with headteachers to determine how they can expand.
"At present, we consider that in 2015 we will be able to meet demand. If it increases substantially we'll consider a new school but, at the moment, it's in the balance."
Miss Lawson said the council estimates 3,000 extra places will be needed in the borough's schools by 2020 but that figure could be pushed up by business developments in the town.
Former councillor and now Catholic church representative on the committee Andrew Theobald said all the borough's secondary schools have been expanded "time and time again" over the last 15 to 18 years and asked if the council has a site to build a secondary school on in mind.
Miss Lawson said: "There is room for expansion at the non-selective schools. If there is need for a secondary school then there is land - I can't state where that is. We have to consider that the local authority has a legal responsibility to provide school places.
"The new school might be a free school, it could be an academy - we're unlikely control over it because who knows what the Government legislation will be at the time?"
Following the meeting, Coun Dave Callaghan, chairman of the committee, said: "Currently there is neither a proposal in place to build a new secondary school in Sutton, nor a site earmarked for a secondary school development.
“We will consider a range of options when we look at how we provide a good education to all our young people."
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