About the council’s plans
The existing site:
On the 29th February 2012 Wandsworth Borough Council voted to condemn up to 56% of the Elliott School site as ‘surplus’ to educational requirements. There are now proposals for the school that would see the majority of the site sold for private housing development and the school’s potential capacity permanently greatly reduced. This comes at a time when we know that very soon demand for secondary school places will be greatly increased.
Under the proposals Elliott would lose its historic Grade II listed sports hall and technology wing, main landscaped playground, largest car park, dedicated sixth block, 6 tennis courts, football pitch, athletics facilities, outside theatre, nature-garden, and the caretakers lodge. None of these are itemised on the Council’s proposals for public scrutiny and consultation. The land ‘for sale’ is Elliott’s main, green, community space which has developed a rich history and significance since 1954. It is a major green recreational space during the school day and many events have taken place here: annual Arts Festivals, Performance Sessions, music, poetry and drama. A memorial tree has been planted in memory of a pupil who died on the site and an A level Art sculpture and nature garden built from reclaimed land, thanks to the dedication of many pupils and parents over many years. What is at risk is irreplaceable and priceless for the school’s future. Elliott School is “perhaps the finest of the large comprehensive schools built by the London County Council Architects” (Elain Harwood, English Heritage). The name Elliott School would be replaced by The ARK Putney Academy which would further destroy the heritage of the school.
The school and Wandsworth Borough Council claim that these plans are the only way to fund necessary refurbishment and that all other options have been considered. However, no design or financial evidence of this has been provided. In 2010 the money allocated for Elliott’s refurbishment project under Building Schools for the Future was withdrawn in accordance with current Government policy. Since then the Council has been spending millions on new free schools in the Borough.
This is unacceptable and exposes a tragic lack of appreciation for the irreplaceable architectural and educational merits of Elliott School and its acclaimed playgrounds. Elliott’s students have provided the borough with decades of achievement. Even now the school is currently enjoying excellent exam results. The school site should be cherished and invested in, rightly owned by the public, for the sole purpose of providing education for all, as it has done for over half a century. A better alternative can and must be found. If these plans go ahead it will be a tragedy for future generations.