THE new secondary school set to open on the former site of Croydon General Hospital will do so in temporary buildings. Harris Invictus Academy, a free school connected to the Harris Federation, will be located on the site in London Road, West Croydon, which has been derelict since 2004. Its first intake of nearly 180 pupils will be taught entirely in temporary classrooms, with a permanent school building not expected to be completed until 2016. Harris Invictus is the latest in a series of new schools due to open in Croydon over the next three years to meet the shift in demand from primary to secondary level. A primary school due to open in September – Paxton Academy in London Road, Thornton Heath – will also do so in temporary buildings. Harris Federation, which is also set to open a primary school in South Croydon, currently runs six academies in the borough. It said the temporary classrooms used to house Harris Invictus over the next two years will be supplied by Elliott UK and be of the highest quality. A spokeswoman told the Advertiser: "The academy will be housed in temporary accommodation on the general hospital site and we expect the building to be completed in 2016. "The temporary accommodation provider is one of the premier suppliers of temporary classrooms." The same company was used by Harris Academy Purley when it was rebuilt and Ofsted rated the school as "outstanding", the spokeswoman added. This week Croydon Council published the latest details of how it plans to meet rising demand for school places. The Harris Federation rejected claims made in that report, due to be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Monday, that Harris Invictus would open in September "but pupils will be spread across other Harris academies". It has contacted the council to request the report is amended. The Invictus website says the school will combine "traditional values of strong discipline, smart uniform and good manners with the best of modern teaching and technology". It makes no mention of temporary classrooms, nor does the prospectus. Instead it says the "superb" new building will be "fully refurbished" so it is "bright, modern and welcoming, with excellent facilities". Paxton Academy Sports & Science, a free school, is another new school due to open in September. It was supposed to be based on a disused site in London Road, Thornton Heath, instead it will initially be located in temporary buildings at Streatham-Croydon Rugby Club, in nearby Brigstock Road, until its building is complete in 2015/16. In total, three new schools will open in September, in addition to the permanent expansion of Ark Oval Primary Academy in East Croydon. Bulge classes will be created at Chipstead Valley, Christchurch, Kingsley, Heavers Farm, Margaret Roper, Gonville, Winterbourne Infants and Rockmount schools. In the special needs sector, Priory School will move to its new premises in Hermitage Road and the Hazelgen Primary pupil referral unit is due to be completed at the end of August. Cllr Alisa Flemming has not responded to the Advertiser's requests for an interview since becoming Cabinet member for children, young people and learners in May. In a statement released through the council's press office, she said the authority would "expand schools and build new ones to ensure every child receives a proper education".
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