Tuesday 9 February 2016

PLANS to build two brand new secondaries in order to meet the growing demand for school places in Sheffield are expected to get the green light next week.

The Council consulted on several proposals to address the need for extra primary and secondary places in the North East and South West to meet the growing population needs. Thousands of parents, carers and residents took part in the consultation – and the response was one of the biggest the council has ever seen.
Having listened to all the points made and reviewed each proposal against a criteria, the Council’s cabinet are set to discuss and ratify the new proposals in the report in its meeting next week (Wednesday 17th February).

The plans are:
• To build a new secondary school (aged 11-18) on the car park area of the Bannerdale site
• To build a through school (aged 2-18) on the former Pye Bank school site
• To propose a expanded infant and junior school on the Ecclesall Infant School site – subject to a further period of consultation
• To expand Silverdale secondary school in order to meet imminent demand for places in the short term
• To leave Carterknowle Junior, Holt House and Clifford primary schools as they are

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families said: “I’d like to thank all the people who took part in this consultation, and those who put forward alternative proposals.

“All comments and proposals have been reviewed thoroughly, we have listened to what people told us they wanted and I’m pleased to say our plans reflect what many told us.

“We are expanding primary places where there is a crucial need for more places and leaving other schools as they are after parents, carers, staff and governors told us this is what they wanted.

“We are also building two new schools to address the need for secondary school places in both areas.”

The council had over 1,400 responses to the consultation. This included workshops, meetings and visits to schools. The council also extended the consultation and held additional workshops after adding in further options which people said they wanted to see.

On top of this, further time was taken by the council before making the recommendations for cabinet.
Coun Drayton added: “We have always said we want parents, carers, governors and the community to help us in driving this and today’s recommendations reflect this.

“Parents told us they wanted to see a new secondary school on the Bannerdale site away from the existing primary schools, which we have done. Parents in the North East told us they wanted a new school built in their area. Parents asked for the extra primary places to be on the Ecclesall infant site, and the Ecclesall schools asked for this to be provided through an infant and junior school, which is what we are recommending. And on top of this parents asked for Holt House Infant and Carterknowle Junior schools to stay as they are, which is what we are also recommending. These decisions are a direct result of us having listened and acted on what parents, residents, governors, schools and the wider community told us they wanted.

“Our vision is to create excellent new local schools that parents want their children to go to. The population forecasts show if we don’t act now and start building these schools soon, children will be unable to get into local schools as there simply won’t be enough places for everyone.

“We need more school places in the North East and South West and we will provide them whilst also meeting our other responsibilities for extra housing, maintaining green spaces where possible, also taking into account potential traffic congestion and air pollution. This has always been our ambition and I am fully committed to making sure that we work in partnership with existing schools to provide solutions for this which offer excellent education facilities and good value for money for the people of Sheffield.”

If the decision is to proceed, the council’s next task is to make sure outstanding sponsors are secured for the new schools that will command the confidence of all local parents.