Work begins on new secondary school on site of landmark London Cancer Hub


A new £40 million secondary school on the site of one of the UK’s most significant regeneration projects, The London Cancer Hub, is set to create the next generation of young scientists.

Sutton Council has led the project by purchasing the necessary land, appointing the design team, obtaining planning approval and tendering the construction project – working closely with the Department for Education and Skills and the free school provider.

Building work is officially underway on Harris Academy Sutton, which will cater for 1,275 pupils, and be run by the Harris Federation after its application was approved by the Department for Education in September 2016.

The non-selective school will be completed by September 2019 and will adjoin and be part of the proposed site of The London Cancer Hub which is a partnership of the London Borough of Sutton, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) working in close collaboration with The Royal Marsden, the Greater London Authority and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. The site is set to be a world-leading life-science campus specialising in cancer research, treatment, education and enterprise.

Harris Academy Sutton will offer a broad and balanced curriculum while specialising in science – particularly Health and Life Sciences – and will look to make the most of its proximity to the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital.

The new school is currently available to families to apply for a place starting in September 2018 with the school housed in temporary accommodation for the first year.

At an event held to mark the start of construction work on the site, Leader of Sutton Council, Cllr Ruth Dombey, said: “The London Cancer Hub is one of the most exciting projects to be happening nationally so I am very proud that it is happening here in Sutton. Our ambition is to build this into one of the most important sites for cancer research, treatment and diagnosis in the world.

“What could be more fitting than having a school as part of this project to open up opportunities to young people living in this borough and give them skills for the future?

“Life sciences is one of the biggest growing sectors of the economy. The opportunities the school will have working closely with the ICR will be exceptional. As a world centre for cancer research, people will be coming from all over the world.”

Chief Executive of Sutton Council, Niall Bolger, said: “We are incredibly ambitious for our borough and the people living here. With an increasing population this school will provide vital new places for over 1,200 children to help maintain Sutton’s excellent reputation for education.

“The school is a milestone in the construction of the London Cancer Hub which is set to create 13,000 additional jobs and promote £1.2 billion of investment every year into the UK economy.”

The Harris Federation runs 41 primary and secondary academies in and around London. Every Harris academy which has been assessed by Ofsted has been rated  ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

James Fisher, Principal Designate of Harris Academy Sutton,said: “It’s a fantastic moment to see work starting on the new building for Harris Academy Sutton. With science and sports facilities that are second to none and a creative and engaging curriculum to match the ambition of the London Cancer Hub, the academy will be a truly inspiring place to learn and teach.

“Over 800 local families have already applied for a place when we open in our temporary home from this September, and we look forward to welcoming our first 195 students to Harris Academy Sutton.”

Roger Forsdyke, managing director of Willmott Dixon, said: “With our solid track-record for building high-quality, energy efficient properties that conform to the Passivhaus standard, we are proud to have been selected by Sutton to deliver this ground-breaking school.  We’ll make sure local companies are used whenever possible and are looking forward to delivering a school that will attract national attention for setting the standard in energy performance.”


  1. The first academic year will be in temporary accommodation from September 2018. Cumbrian House is an existing building on the school site that will be converted to provide accommodation and facilities required for the first intake of 195 Year 7 students, with the school growing to 1,275 11-19-year-olds in total when the school is full.
  2. The London Cancer Hub is one of the most significant regeneration projects in London, set to create 13,000 jobs while contributing £1.2bn to the UK economy each year. The London Cancer Hub will be a truly world-leading life-science campus of scientists, doctors, innovative companies and patients, anchored by new research buildings, hospital facilities, restaurants and hotels. The London Cancer Hub is a partnership between the London Borough of Sutton and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) supported by The Royal Marsden NHS Trust, Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust and the Greater London Authority. Through the creation of the London Cancer Hub, London has the unique opportunity to be the world’s leading centre for cancer research, treatment and drug development. More information about the London Cancer Hub can be found here:
  3. Further information about the school can be found in the brochure.  
  4. Further information on applying for a school place