Revised plan for expansion of Shefford and Stotfold area schools into two-tier system
Central Bedfordshire Council has moved to the next stage of a plan to meet the demand for new school places in the Shefford and Stotfold area, as part of its two-tier Schools for the Future programme.
The publication of the statutory notice follows a 12-week public consultation, which received over 1,400 responses between October 2019 and January 2020.
The council has considered the feedback from this and held further discussions with the schools in the area. These discussions have led to the following revised plan.
> Henlow Academy changes to a secondary school in 2021 and its feeder schools (Meppershall, Langford, Derwent, Clifton, All Saints and Raynsford) change to primary schools at the same time.
> Robert Bloomfield Academy and Samuel Whitbread Academy come together as a 0-18 all through school from 2023.
> All other lower schools convert to primary in 2023.
> Pix Brook and Etonbury academies become secondary schools in 2023.
Cllr Sue Clark, Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said: “The Schools for the Future programme is a long-term programme to ensure we have the right schools, in the right places, delivering the best education possible.
“Since consulting residents, we have listened to the feedback and developed a revised plan in collaboration with schools.
“This is an exciting plan that will see schools in the area change to a two-tier system of education and allow expansion to accommodate new school places. Residents can now have another say, over the next four weeks, on the plans for the council-maintained schools in the area, with a questionnaire available online.
“Academies do not need to publish statutory notices for public comment, but comments can be submitted to the individual academies concerned.”
Responses should be submitted by June 30. The council will consider the feedback at its Executive Committee meeting on August 30 and make a final decision on the plans for maintained schools.
More information on the plans for change in the Shefford and Stotfold area can be found at https://www.schoolsforthefuture.co.uk/plans/shefford-stotfold/overview.
During the 12-week original consultation, most of the individual schools received majority support for their proposals, with just Campton Lower and Haynes Lower schools receiving more disagreement than support.
For Campton Lower School, the main concerns were about losing a village school, and trying to understand why it would need to be moved away from the village. There were also comments querying how the students would get to the school and increases in traffic levels that it would cause.
For Haynes Lower School, the main concerns were around access issues, with many stating there are problems already with parents parking in a narrow residential road and that increasing admission numbers would only compound the problem. Many respondents (mainly residents in the area) suggested moving the school to enable expansion without the associated issues.