Construction work continues apace at Chestnut Grove Academy’s new sixth form block

Published: Monday, February 15, 2021

Construction work is continuing apace to provide a new 21st Century sixth-form teaching block at Balham’s Chestnut Grove Academy.

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Work has now begun installing the teaching block’s new windows with students expected to start attending classes there in September.

This landmark project is a key element of a £15.6m scheme to provide additional classroom places at a number of Wandsworth schools.

Extra places are being provided at both primary and secondary level while a separate programme of investment worth £17m is improving the borough’s special needs provision.

At Chestnut Grove, which specialises in art and design, the school will increase admissions by the equivalent of 1.5 classes, while the new sixth form block will add another 50 places.

A similar construction project at St Cecilia’s School in Southfields will see its intake grow by one extra class - and also allow it to accommodate an extra 50 sixth formers. The school specialises in music tuition.

Once these building projects are complete, attention will turn to Putney’s Ashcroft Technology Academy where plans are in place to allow it to permanently increase its intake by an additional class after temporary admission arrangements were introduced at in September 2019.

Work has also been completed at Ark Putney Academy, enabling the school to add two new classes and expand its sixth form provision by a further 50 places.

And in earlier phases of the scheme both Burntwood and Graveney schools in Tooting were able to increase their intake as result of additional classroom space being provided.

Altogether funding worth £12.6m is paying for an extra 1,000 places across the borough – including an additional 825 places at secondary level and a further 150 sixth form places.

The investment means local schools have enough classroom space to cater for rising demand and at the same time ensure that local parents have a wider choice of schools for their children to attend.

At primary level, Brandlehow School in Putney has admitted an extra class as part of a £3m project to meet growing demand from parents in this part of the borough.

Additional resources have also been invested in special educational needs provision to support children with a range of disabilities with £17m spent constructing new school facilities for Greenmead School.

There is also a programme of annual capital investment worth more than £2m to pay for the replacement of fixed assets like heating systems, roofs, windows, fire alarms and other pieces of school infrastructure.

Education spokesman Cllr Will Sweet said: “This is good news for parents in Wandsworth who have a wider range of school choices for their children.

“It is particularly true for parents of older children with a big expansion in the borough’s sixth form provision. This is a substantial programme of investment to provide more school places across the borough.

“And I particularly welcome the extra investment in our special needs provision which will directly benefit some of the borough’s most vulnerable children.”

Wandsworth offers parents some of the best schools in London. Currently 93 per cent of all schools in the borough at both primary and secondary level are officially rated as either good or outstanding by education standards watchdog Ofsted.