Croydon’s newest secondary school, Oasis Academy Arena, situated next door to Croydon Arena Athletics Track, has formally opened.
The school is a London 2012 Olympic legacy project and puts a strong focus on sports.
The launch event was attended by many of those who had been involved in the project from the outset and marked the latest in a series of new schools built by Croydon Council over the last few years. The council has created the largest school building programme in the UK as a means of ensuring every child has a place.
Other schools recently completed have included Chestnut Park Primary, Harris Primary Purley Way, and Beckmead Special School, and many others have also seen permanent expansions as part of the council’s multi-million pound investment.
“Over the last few years our focus has been on building and expanding our primary school provision to meet the demand from a rapidly growing population. We’ve successfully achieved that and ensured every child has a place. Soon, however, as these children grow up, we will need more secondary places. This new school is one of the first projects that will enable us to make that happen, and I’m delighted to see it formally opened.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
Over the next five years a further £160million investment will build five further schools, providing 6,000 extra places by 2020.
And the founder of the international charity Oasis, Steve Chalke, has described his delight at opening a school in his home community.
Speaking at the opening, Croydon-born Rev Steve Chalke, MBE, said: “What a privilege and honour it has been to return to my hometown Croydon today, to open Oasis Academy Arena. Over thirty years ago when I began the Oasis charity with the aim of transforming communities, I would never have dreamed I would be standing here opening our forty-seventh school.”
“While this is of course an exciting day for our current students, this Academy will serve South Norwood and the children of Croydon for generations to come, providing them with a first-class school in which to learn and grow together.”
Thanks to the council’s school expansion programme last year’s primary school application round saw more than 96% of parents get an offer at one of their top three choices – three per cent better than the London average – with 85% getting their first choice.