A revised Schools for the Future proposal for a two-tier education model in Shefford and Stotfold has been published ahead of being considered by councillors later in the year.
The adoption of the council’s Local Plan last summer meant that school places at 16 schools in the area were revised against growth, revealing that the previous proposals would provide more places than would be needed up to 2030.
A new, revised primary / secondary proposal has now been developed with schools and trusts, which is subject to feasibility studies for the school sites confirming they are suitable for development.
The transition to this model is now aimed to take place in 2025, with Central Bedfordshire Council keen for all schools to transition at the same time to ensure a smooth process.
The proposals are that:
Robert Bloomfield Academy will change from a middle to a secondary school with five forms of entry, which means five classes of up to 30 pupils (a total Pupil Admission Number of 150 pupils) in each year group.
Etonbury and Pix Brook Academies will continue as secondary schools with six forms of entry, which means six classes of up to 30 pupils (a total Pupil Admission Number of 180 pupils) in each year group.
Samuel Whitbread Academy will change from an upper to a secondary school with seven forms of entry, which means seven classes of up to 30 pupils (a total Pupil Admission Number of 210 pupils) in each year group
As before, subject to feasibility studies, all lower schools are to become primary schools.
Cllr Sue Clark, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said: “Schools for the Future remains an ambitious programme of work taking place to raise educational standards by ensuring the area has the right schools, in the right places, delivering the best education. Moving towards a two-tier educational system is part of achieving this.
“We have taken the opportunity to review pupil place data, in line with our Local Plan, which has shown the need to plan for less places than we had originally proposed.
“We have also listened to schools’ views about when it would be best for schools to transition the primary /secondary model of education. We believe transitioning to primary and secondary schools in 2025 would reduce disruption to children’s education by avoiding the need to use temporary classrooms, while allowing the time to complete all the necessary surveys, secure planning consent and for construction of the new school buildings.”
Should there be any major problems in the construction process, which can sometimes happen, and if it can be foreseen that September 2025 is not achievable then this transition date will push back to September 2026.
It is expected that the revised proposals will be considered by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Committee in the autumn of 2022, with any required public consultations following shortly after.
All the latest information is available online