Trinity Academy will have two meetings to discuss the proposed new secondary school to open in September 2014, on the site on the corner of Horsford Road.
The drop-in meetings take place on:
- Monday 27 January 3pm-5pm, at the Meeting Room, The Brix at St Matthews, Brixton Hill
- Wednesday 12 February 7pm-9pm, The Boardroom, Lambeth College Clapham Centre, 45 Clapham Common South Side
There is also a wider consultation process that ends on 17 February at www.trinityacademy.org/consultation.
Trinity Academy plans to open with 120 pupils in Year 7, and to be a co-educational secondary school including sixth form. They say they intend to be ‘a non-fee paying, non-selective school’ with a ‘Catholic ethos’ but ‘open to members of all denominations and faiths and those with no religious background.’
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.”
Plans for the site are understood to also include space for the Vanguard special school with the National Autistic Society and a third free school.
Councillor Martin Tiedemann has raised concerns about the lack of transparency shown by the government over planning for the future of the Brixton Hill site.
“Conservative Education Secretary Michael Gove simply made the decision without consultation and we cannot establish full details of what the future plans are for the college site.
“The Government failed to ask local residents or councillors under the cloak of confidentiality. Details are simply trickling out bit by bit.
“My number one concern is that the planning process should be open and transparent so local people get a say.”
Brixton Hill’s councillors are concerned that having up to three schools on the site, plus Lambeth College, will mean the building will have to be excessively large and local residents will be unacceptably affected. There are serious issues about having such a wide range of uses with many different uses crammed onto a site, with inadequate outdoor space or other facilities. There are already concerns about road safety on Brixton Hill.
Councillor Rachel Heywood said, “The Brixton Hill site is limited in scope and capacity. I’m not sure how such a broad range of provision can fit comfortably on the site.
“I also have concerns relating to the use of the site by primary and secondary-age children, children with special needs and adults as well, which will require detailed planning and management.”
Founders of a Spanish-English bilingual free school also handed in a petition to the DfE two weeks ago to show there was sufficient interest in the plan for it to head to the next stage.
Cllr Tiedemann added: “Obviously we recognise there is a growing Latin American community in Lambeth and you can understand parents’ desire to have a good education for their community. But Brixton Hill already has excellent schools and our number one task is to work together to make sure Latin Americans get the places in the schools of their choice.”