A brand new secondary school for at least 900 pupils is set to be built in Surrey and opened in 2017 as the county council continues its largest-ever schools investment to meet spiralling demand for places.
The council plans to turn the Runnymede Centre in Addlestone into an 11-16 secondary school with capacity for six classes of 30 pupils per year from Years 7 to 11. The move comes as part of the council’s £330 million investment in new places, and there could be scope to enlarge the school from 900 to 1,200 pupils at a later stage.
Surrey County Council needs 13,000 new school places over the next five years to meet growing demand fuelled by rising birth rates.
The new secondary will be built and ready to open in September 2017, and is needed because the nearby Salesians, Magna Carta, Fullbrook and Jubilee secondary schools will not have enough capacity for the extra places.
The plans will provide value for money because the Runnymede Centre is one of the county council’s existing sites, and because developing one site to provide the extra school places is more efficient than developing several.
Since re-opening the Runnymede Centre after its use as a temporary flood relief hub ended a fortnight ago, council staff have continued their work elsewhere while still having access to its hotdesking, training and meeting facilities.
Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, said: “This brand new secondary with at least 900 pupils will be a cornerstone of Surrey’s biggest-ever schools investment programme in response to rising demand for places.
“From 2017 this new school will deliver a lot of extra places that the four nearest secondaries don’t have room for, and give value for money to our council taxpayers because we already own the centre.”
The proposals come as plans were revealed at Cabinet on Tuesday to expand the St John the Baptist Catholic Secondary School and create 300 places for pupils aged 11-16 and around 100 in the sixth form.