PARENTS campaigning to open a Harris-sponsored school in Beckenham are celebrating after plans to launch two academies were announced.
Following separate consultations, Cator Park School in Lennard Road and Kelsey Park Sports College in Manor Way will open as academies under the Harris Federation in September.
Harris runs nine academies across south London, which have received outstanding ratings by school watchdog Ofsted.
Cator Park will remain as an all girls school while Kelsey Park, currently boys only, will begin work towards becoming the first mixed school in Beckenham.
Campaign group Harris Into Beckenham lobbied Bromley Council to turn Kelsey Park into a Harris academy which led to a consultation by governors on the school’s future.
In the meantime plans quickly progressed for Harris to open a free school in Beckenham, which won approval from the Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Whether this will now go ahead as a third Harris school will depend on parental demand.
One of the campaigners, mum-of-three Fiona Murphy, said: “This is a great result for all local children. All involved have delivered a brilliant outcome.
“The Harris track record is well-known and I know I’m not alone when I say how much I am looking forward to having two thriving new Harris academies in Beckenham.”
Harris chief executive Dr Dan Moynihan said: “We are delighted to be working with Cator Park and Kelsey and thrilled that they have chosen to become Harris academies.
“Everything that is already good about the two schools will stay the same, but we will support them so that they continue to improve and become outstanding academies for their students, staff and parents.
“Our academies in Croydon receive about 600 applications each year from families in Bromley, many of whom we have to turn away.
“So it is a real pleasure to finally be serving children in the borough with two Harris academies of their own.”
Headteacher of Cator Park Meryl Davies said: “The consultation we held prior to our decision was extremely well participated in by students, staff, parents and the wider Beckenham community and I am certain that this outcome is the right one for our school.”
Kelsey Park headteacher Brian Lloyd said: “Our governors overwhelmingly agreed that the Harris Federation would be the group best able to support us in achieving our aspirations and ambitions.
“We are now looking forward as a school to a happy, successful and secure future.”