By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
A new £30 million school in Croydon will not be ready in time for the start of term in September.
Pupils at Coombe Wood School (CWS) in South Croydon will have to temporarily move to St Andrew’s High School, which is closing for good.
The delay has been blamed on the coronavirus pandemic which disrupted building work on the school.
The school opened in temporary buildings in September 2018 and it was originally hoped pupils could transfer to the sports hall in September 2019, but this was delayed.
Now Jonathan Wilden, executive headteacher at the Folio Trust, which runs the school, said he hopes that the school will be able to fully open in January next year.
He said: “I think when you are in the middle of a pandemic there are going to be several disappointments.
“We are all desperate to see this school open, we can see how wonderful it is going to be.
“I think the work that the headteacher Barry Laker has done to secure the other venue is remarkable, to have a local option is amazing.
“I do sense that people will say it is all doom and gloom but we would prefer to be very positive about what St Andrew’s is going to give us.
“The temporary school being removed from the building site means the build can be accelerated.”
Mr Wilden said that while moving to a different location will be a challenge, the trust was working on a travel plan for children to get to school.
In September CWS will have 540 pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9, as well as 35 members of staff.
And in September the school plans on opening its sixth form.
Mr Wilden added: “The facilities are looking far beyond anything else you would see around the country.
“We continue to be oversubscribed, it is the most popular school in Croydon.”
Pictured top: Jonathan Wilden, executive headteacher at the Folio Trust, which runs the school
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