New schools programme for Notts underway with hundreds of places

An ambitious schools building programme and the creation of hundreds of school places is well underway across Nottinghamshire.

Nottinghamshire County Council has already given the green light for studies to be carried out for eight free schools across the county.

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The free schools are needed as a result of housing developments in Rushcliffe, Gedling, Newark, Mansfield and Bassetlaw.

Capital funding from the Council has been set aside for a new school in Bestwood – Hawthorne Primary and Nursery School – with construction work now officially underway. The new school will provide 315 places, with capacity for expansion to 420 places in the future, and is due to open in September 2019.

Designs for the new 140-place Orchard Special School in Newark, which is on schedule to open in April 2020, have also been submitted. This school has long been a key aspiration of the County Council and the plans will allow for the school to expand to 170 places in the future, if needed.

Work will also start soon on a new school on the Rolls Royce site in Hucknall with an expected completion date of September 2020 and sponsors are currently being sought for a 315-place primary free school in Sharphill in Rushcliffe, due to open for the 2020/21 academic year.

Other areas where free schools studies are being considered include Rempstone Road in East Leake, Teal Close in Gedling, Crown Land in Bingham, land south of Newark (Fernwood) and Lindhurst in Mansfield.

Councillor Philip Owen, chairman of the Children and Young People’s committee, said: “Making sure that every child in Nottinghamshire has a school place is a complex issue that often needs careful planning years in advance.

“It is a much better use of public funds to invest time and money exploring the suitability of proposals at an early stage rather than spending more on abortive planning and design costs which would be incurred without proper feasibility being carried out.”

As well as nearly 600 additional primary places needed across Ashfield, Bassetlaw and Rushcliffe during 2018/19, projections show that 800 more secondary school places will be needed in Newark and Sherwood and Rushcliffe over the next two to five years.

Coun Owen said: “The studies undertaken have shown quite clearly where a bulge is beginning to be felt in the secondary school sector following a surge in demand for places at primary school first seen some four /five years ago.

“Rushcliffe is the first district in Nottinghamshire to experience an increased demand for secondary school places beyond the capacity of the existing local schools.”

The cost of meeting this demand for additional primary and secondary school places will be around £20m and will be provided through the Government Basic Need fund.