Wednesday 15 July 2015
PARENTS are to be consulted on proposals to build two brand new secondary schools in the north east and south west of Sheffield, designed to meet rising demand for school places.
Over the last few years Sheffield City Council has been rolling out an expansion programme across the city to deal with issues caused by increased population growth.
A raft of consultation with parents in the areas affected came to the conclusion earlier this year that an ambitious plan was needed to make sure places were available for many years to come.
More consultation will be carried out over the coming months to establish exact plans, but the proposal is for a five-form, 750 place school in the former Pye Bank school at Woodside, in the Burngreave area and another in the Holt House area in the South West, to open in 2018. This could be an eight-form entry school with places for 1,200 pupils.
Proposals are also on the cards for primary schools in the affected areas as well, in order to stabilise the squeeze on school places.
All the details are set to be agreed by the Cabinet at a meeting next week before formally going out for consultation.
Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families said: “Every child should have access to a good education on their doorstep, and that is our number one priority. This in turns leads on to them being able to achieve their potential – again a key priority for us. And schools should be at the heart of communities. All these proposals are a direct result of widespread consultation with schools and communities in the areas who have told us where the problems are and what they would want to see achieved to make it better. We have listened to your proposals and now we want to act on them. This strategic vision will see two new outstanding secondary schools in a programme which recognises the aspirations of families to have access to high quality education for their children within their local area.
“But let me be quite clear – none of this will happen unless parents tell us this is exactly what they want. That is why we are planning to do a huge amount of consultation work with parents, schools, affected communities and key stakeholders in the area to make sure this this is the right move. We need everybody to be behind this, and I am confident this will be the case. ”
In the north east of the city the proposal is to also create additional primary provision of 210 places, either through expansion of a local school or a new primary school
An additional 60 Year 7 places would still needed by 2017 prior to the opening of the new secondary school, with plans to meet this flexibly at the four schools in the area – Hinde House, Firth Park, Parkwood and Fir Vale
In the southwest the secondary school would have links to a new/rebuilt Holt House/Carterknowle Primary school, in turn enabling expansion of Ecclesall schools
A further additional 60 places – two form entry – could also be added to Silverdale secondary school by 2017, under the proposals, to provide sufficient secondary places for the south west into the next decade.
Plans also include a further additional 90 Year 7 places for 2016/17 to accommodate children transferring from primary school in the area. This could be met by temporary places at Silverdale in advance of permanent expansion, and Newfield, which is linked to Mercia Academy Trust.
There will also be consultation on the possible permanent expansion of Ecclesall Infant School from 60 to 90 places per year.
Similarly consultation will be held around junior places for children at Clifford Infant school, with plans to make this a through primary school – which could be re-located to the current Carterknowle Junior school site. This in turn would free up 30 places at Ecclesall Junior school, where Clifford Infants currently transfer to for junior phase, for the expanding infant school intake.
Other plans include the merger of Holt House Infant and Carterknowle Junior School on a single site.
Full consultation on all of the proposals will be carried out in the Autumn term with the schools and communities affected. A final decision is expected just before Christmas.
Since a recent low point in 2002, births in Sheffield have risen by up to 25 per cent. This has already resulted in over 1,000 more children coming into Sheffield primary schools each year. Despite this the council has still managed to offer 97 per cent of families a place at one of their preferred schools. This is largely due to an expansion programme which has added over 4,500 primary school places across the city. The most significant challenge for the rest of the decade is to see the growth through into secondary schools.
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