At a meeting next week of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Policy Committee, it will be recommended that the plans move ahead.
The report discusses three points:
– The principle of Basic Need funding to allow the expansion of Rushcliffe School to 12 forms of entry in the short and medium term
– that the costs of demolishing the former Rushcliffe Leisure Centre are taken from the Council’s wider demolition programme
– and the principle of the construction of a third secondary school within the West Bridgford planning area in the short to medium term, with a catchment area which covers the combined catchment of Rushcliffe School and the Nottinghamshire catchment of the West Bridgford School.
Further detail from the report
There are presently two secondary schools serving West Bridgford – West Bridgford School (EMET Trust) and Rushcliffe School (Spencer Academies Trust – SAT) as shown on the appended Plan. These are high performing popular secondary schools in a highly populated area. Across the Rushcliffe District, eight primary schools were expanded during the period 2013/19 creating an additional 682 permanent places in the following primary schools: Heymann, Carnarvon, Pierrepont Gamston, Edwalton, Costock, Lantern Lane, Brookside and Radcliffe on Trent Infant school. 315 of the new places were at linked primary schools, these being: Heymann – 210 places, expansion in 2013 and Pierrepont Gamston – 105 places, expansion in 2014. This demand, coupled with that from the large housing development at Sharphill, has resulted in the projected need for an additional four forms of secondary school places (additional 600 secondary school places) in the next five years (by 2025).
A report was taken to Children and Young People’s Committee in December 2017 and approval was given to pursue plans that would result in the expansion of both secondary schools. Negotiations have been complex. The Council requested that West Bridgford School should expand to a 10-form entry school (each year group would be 300 students). Whilst this agreement has not been secured, the Academy has admitted to 270 pupils (9 forms of entry) for September 2019, this does not represent a permanent change to the Published Admission Number (PAN) which remains at 216. However, forecasts suggest that West Bridgford School will not be able to accommodate all its catchment and linked children from September 2020. This will inevitably create further pressure on Rushcliffe School as the only other school in the planning area.
The Rushcliffe School project will require a funding agreement with the SAT whilst the longer-term plan is agreed and the costings for the overall project are finalised. To accommodate 12 forms of entry in every year group as well as the inevitable increase in the sixth form, the space on which the former Leisure Centre stands will be required as the campus is developed. The Council will bear the costs associated with the demolition of the former Leisure Centre. The demolition costs will be included within the Council’s demolition programme.
As Rushcliffe School is only expected to accommodate 12 forms of entry, January 2019 projections suggest that if the West Bridgford School maintains eight forms of entry only and the Rushcliffe School increases to 12 forms of entry by September 2020, the projected demand suggests a new school will be required to offer one form of entry in September 2021 and two forms of entry by September 2022. Demand will rise to five forms of entry by 2028 and six forms of entry by 2032. These projections are based on current projected rates of housing delivery.
Cllr Jonathan Wheeler for West Bridgford South said: “I have been pushing for this [Rushciffe expansion] to be done over the last couple of years and the County Council has been supportive which has led to this paper going to committee.
“It is a massive space which isn’t being used, and costing the Council money even mothballed, so it makes sense all around.
“Rushcliffe is rated an Outstanding School, so the fact it is being expanded will offer more pupils the chance to get a fantastic education.”
The Nottingham Emmanuel School and The Becket School are also secondary schools based in West Bridgford.