A ‘Catholic ethos’ free school planned for the Brixton Hill campus of Lambeth College has launched a public consultation ahead of its planned opening in September this year.
The Trinity Academy London, a school that will be run by parents free from council control, began the six week consultation of “prospective parents and member of the community” on Monday, without any notable announcement.
The institution, which already has a headmaster and plans to admit 120 Year 7 pupils in September, has also published an admissions policy with a catchment area that includes Balham, Clapham and the Brixton Hill area. Children living closest to Clapham Common tube station or the Brixton Hill site will be given priority at the school.
The policy goes on: “Trinity Academy is a state-funded, independent, non-selective school with a Catholic ethos and is open to members of all denominations and faiths and those with no religious background.”
The Trinity Academy will be completely independent from local authority control, and funding will come directly from the Department for Education (DfE).
The academy plans for the college site were revealed on Brixton Blog last month, with some locals being critical of the project.
Speaking to the Blog, Rachel Heywood, Lambeth’s cabinet member for children and families, said: “We already have enough secondary school places in Lambeth. We didn’t know anything about the Trinity Free School until we were informed that it had been given permission to open by the DfE, and had we been consulted we would have said that we did not need another secondary school in Brixton as we already have a variety of good schools with space.
“It is likely that the Trinity Free School will have a negative impact on existing provision, including Catholic secondaries like Bishop Thomas Grant and La Retraite. The Roman Catholic Diocese have not offered their support for the scheme either.”
As part of the consultation, Trinity Academy is to hold two public meetings. One at the Brix, Brixton, on January 27 and in the second in Clapham on February 12.
Also speaking to the Blog last month, Dennis Sewell, chair of governors at Trinity Academy said that many parents in the borough currently seek education outside of Lambeth and that this “doesn’t hold the community together”.
“This year they managed to squeeze enough pupils in just about. In the long term there will be population growth across London. The time will come when it’s not so easy for other boroughs to afford Lambeth children coming to them. The Trinity school will use innovation in the curriculum to appeal to people who want a particular type of teaching and I don’t think it will be competition with a school down the road.”
As part of the plans for the current campus, Lambeth College will lose 4,000 sq ft of its facilities.
What do you make of the free school plans? Is the admissions policy fair? Email us your comments or leave your thoughts below.
More reaction to follow.