Free Schools: Sutton

Department for Education written question – answered on 1st June 2022.

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Photo of Elliot Colburn Elliot Colburn Conservative, Carshalton and Wallington

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to revisit the decision on funding for Sutton Free School 1 in the event that data demonstrates a need for further secondary school places in the London Borough of Sutton.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

Sutton Free School 1 was cancelled because opening the school would have resulted in a large surplus of secondary places over the medium to long term, undermining the viability of other good schools in the area. Once a project has been formally cancelled by ministers, that decision cannot be revisited.

However, should pupil forecasts change and demonstrate the need for a new school there is still the opportunity for a new secondary free school to be established in Sutton. Indeed, where a local authority thinks there is a demographic need for a new school in its area, it must seek proposals to establish an academy. This is known as the free school presumption process. The department also approves new academies through a central free school application route. The Schools White Paper set out our intention to seek proposals for new mainstream free schools in the areas of greatest need for additional places, prioritising proposals located in Education Investment Areas. This process will take account of the latest data on the need for additional school places. We will set out more details on this process in due course.

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