Plans to invest around £30m in refurbishing and modernising Elliott School in Putney,raised by selling surplus land, are to be discussed by Wandsworth council.
Councillors will be asked to endorse a proposal to generate funding to improve Elliott and provide its pupils with a school “fit for the 21st Century”.
The refurbishment plans have the full backing of Elliott’s headteacher Mark Phillips, its governors and parents who want an attractive, modern school for their children.
The proposals involve a major remodelling of internal areas to create brighter and more spacious classrooms and flexible areas for small group learning. They would also deliver better IT systems and specialist learning facilities.
Under the proposals, the school’s sports facilities would be remodelled and the external space landscaped to provide informal play areas and new sports courts.
Elliott’s main school building is in urgent need of major investment. Without this the school faces an uncertain future.
The 1950s building and its fixtures are now well past the end of their functional life and no longer comply with modern teaching requirements or safety standards. Parts of the school are badly dilapidated and scaffolding now encases the main building to keep glass panels and cladding in place. The council has spent significant sums in recent years on repairs and temporary fixes to keep the school open. However, this patchwork repair approach is no longer sustainable.
The cheapest and easiest solution would be to demolish the school building and rebuild from scratch. However this course of action is not available because much of the site has listed building status.
The plan involves selling selling surplus land on the site to fund the improvements and restoration work. The disposal of this surplus space has already been approved by ministers in the Department for Education.
Council education spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said: “The school desperately needs a multi-million pound investment to provide the kind of teaching facilities that will allow its pupils to thrive.
“The Elliott site is quite large and there is surplus land there that can be used to raise these desperately needed funds. Much of this land has been concreted over and none of it is used as playing fields. We are proposing to dispose of some hard court space, but this is very outdated and would be replaced with a much better and modern balls games space in a different part of the school grounds.”
From September, education charity ARK Schools will take over the running of the school and reopen it as an academy.