New secondary school set for Wisbech is given the go ahead by Cambridgeshire County Council
A new £23 million secondary school for 600 pupils will be built in Wisbech and should be open by 2020, council bosses have approved.
The site, which would also include a new junior school and building for children with special educational needs (SEN), would be built on land off Barton Road.
It comes as Cambridgeshire County Council approved the scheme at their children and young people’s committee yesterday (May 22).
Bosses say that the new school would have 600 places, but it will have the potential to expand in the future.
It would also mean that the TBAP Unity Academy in Wisbech - which was being threatened with closure - would be able to relocate to the SEN school on the new site.
Proposals were agreed by the committee after hearing that if the project was delayed it could have seen costs rise to £1 million with a one year delay and more than £3.5 million in three years.
A report also stated that there had been concerns over Thomas Clarkson Academy (TCA) being the ‘sole provider’ of secondary education in the town – especially if it were to get larger than at present.
It read: “Those supporting this view believed that a better performing school would offer more choice to parents and help staunch the long-established flow of pupils seeking to undertake their secondary education outside Wisbech.
“The proposal has further evolved so that the secondary school will form part of an education campus. The site can also accommodate a primary school as it is well located to meet the demand for these places when major housing development to the west of the town takes place.
“In addition, the campus will accommodate the relocation of the Wisbech site of Unity School to purpose-built accommodation for secondary-aged pupils with Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) with identified social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs.”
The report adds that currently within Cambridgeshire the main choice of secondary school is Neale Wade Academy, in March, which has 148 children attending from the Thomas Clarkson Academy catchment area.
Jonathan Lewis, service director for education at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We are committed to ensuring there is enough educational provision for children in Cambridgeshire.
“This is an important step in the journey towards the creation of additional school places to serve the growing town of Wisbech - along with the increased special schools places previously agreed.
“As a step forward the Children and Young People’s committee unanimously agreed yesterday to support the project to provide a new secondary school in Wisbech.
“The decision comes after a review was undertaken in response to the rising number of children in the primary schools in the area and the proposed housing growth. The next step for the project will be to identify a sponsor to run the school.
“We will continue to support partners to ensure the transition period from one, to two secondary schools in the area is managed effectively.”