An educational trust formed in Croydon and successfully operating a primary has applied to the Department for Education to open a free school to serve Selhurst and Thornton Heath.
Sir Nick Williams, the former principal of The BRIT School, is the chair of the Crescent Trust, which is working with his former school and with the Crystal Palace Football Club Foundation to provide a unique “high achieving and creative” education offer for children aged 11 to 18, particularly in performing arts and sport.
The new school would be supported by GLF, which has opened Chestnut Park Primary.
With a site identified in Selhurst, the Crescent Secondary would operate in a campus style, sharing classes and facilities with its nearby primary schools and the BRIT.
“Since the day we opened the primary school with the support of Croydon Council, we have known that the local area is also in need of a successful secondary school to serve the local population,” Sir Nick said.
“We are delighted by the encouragement we have received from local parents and our two main enthusiastic partners and are optimistic that the Department for Education will share our belief in this talent-rich locality.”
In a statement issued by the school’s trust, they said, “The Crescent Secondary School will… provide a very different educational offer to established schools in the area and specifically meeting the needs of the local community.”
As the “bulge” of a generation of additional pupils is working its way through recently built primaries, there will be a need at the end of this decade for many more secondary school places in Croydon, where there is an over-provision in some areas and a notable lack of school places in Selhurst and Thornton Heath.
Timothy Godfrey, a Croydon Council cabinet member and councillor for Selhurst ward, responded to the Trust’s announcement by saying, “This is really great news for Selhurst and north Croydon. This will provide real choice for families with a very high quality offer from a team with an impressive track record in education and community engagement.”
According to the trust, the Crescent Secondary will offer a curriculum that emphasises science, sport and technology, “producing creative young people adept in new technologies, who can access the employment opportunities that are emerging with the ambitious plans for the regeneration of Croydon and London generally”.
With five forms of entry for 11- to 16-year-olds, the secondary will have Crescent and Chestnut Park primaries as feeder schools, while also having up to 250 places in its sixth form.
The trust said: “The Department for Education will now spend time considering our very detailed bid and hopefully call the team for interview before making a decision. In this interim period we are canvassing feedback and support locally involving parents, schools and businesses.”
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