School expansion to create 700 extra places

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Plans have been submitted for two Peterborough secondary schools to increase by hundreds of places.

Millions of pounds will be spent on Nene Park Academy and Ormiston Bushfield Academy to expand both schools by 300 places in time for September 2018.

Ormiston Bushfield Academy plans

Ormiston Bushfield Academy plans

Nene Park will also see an extra 100 additional sixth form spaces as a result of the expansion.

Peterborough City Council leader and cabinet member for education Councillor John Holdich said: “Considering the huge influx of students into this city, we have an enviable record of getting pupils their first, second or third choice place.”

Both schools are going to be increased by another two forms of entry. Works are due to start on both sites this summer and be completed before the start of the 2018/19 academic year, subject to approval of the plans by the council’s planning committee.

Nene Park, in Oundle Road, will receive a new three-storey extension linked to the existing school, with demolition of some existing older buildings.

John Holdich

John Holdich

There will also be improved PE facilities and a new netball court. The budget for the project is £8 million, with the funding coming from council capital spending - money used for infrastructure projects.

A public consultation took place at the academy in February when parents, governors and the general public were invited to view the proposals.

Ormiston Bushfield is also set to have an expansion to the school, with new classrooms provided, after it too had a public consultation in February. The budget for the works is £6 million, and they are also being funded by the council’s capital budget.

Cllr Holdich added: “I was in Ormiston Bushfield the other night when they had a presentation to the public.

“You do not do anything without a lot of consultation with schools and parents, and from the comments I heard from the parents they were very positive.”

The council leader added that pressures on primary school places in the Orton area are going to start filtering through to local secondary schools.

A spokesperson for Ormiston Academies Trust, which runs Ormiston Bushfield Academy, said: “We are proud that Ormiston Bushfield Academy is an academy of choice and so popular with local parents. We are again full for this coming September, as we have been for the last few years. We are always keen to find a place for as many students as possible, so we are delighted that we will be increasing our intake by an extra 300 students over the next five years from September 2018, thanks to the outstanding new facilities being built here.

“We have an excellent relationship with Peterborough City Council, and the 12 purpose-built new classrooms will further enhance the high-quality teaching and learning environment which has led to Ormiston Bushfield being rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

“Our popularity is a reflection of our commitment to raising aspirations and providing learning opportunities which excite, motivate and challenge our students.

“By increasing our intake, we will be able to offer a high standard of education to more young people in the area.”

Ormiston Bushfield Academy currently has capacity for 150 students each year. The academy in Ortongate has been full for its Year 7 intake for the last five years and will be so again in September this year.

Due to the 12 new classrooms being built at the academy, capacity will rise to 210 for its Year 7 intake in September 2018, with the increased numbers filtering down to the other year groups over the following four years.

Cllr Holdich added: “We want to build schools in localities where people want to go, otherwise you have to direct them a long way from home.

“You then have to pay for transport, which has a revenue effect.”

Parents found out in March where their children will go to secondary school in the next academic year. Overall, 87 per cent of pupils will go to their preferred school and 98 per cent will go to one of their three preferred schools.

Steve Howard, principal of Nene Park Academy, said: “We have been oversubscribed for many years now so we are delighted that this expansion will allow us to accommodate many more local children from 2018, with minimal disruption to those currently at the school.

“At Nene Park Academy we quite simply strive to ‘know and support every student to enjoy and achieve’ and we are delighted that parents increasingly put their faith in us to provide their children with the high quality education they deserve.

“The expansion will create some fantastic specialist facilities for us, benefiting a wide variety of departments including science, Design and Technology, art and photography. The expansion to our music and drama facilities will also allow us to further develop our excellence in the performing arts. Our annual musical theatre performances are usually a sell-out success and it would great for more of the local community to be able to come along and watch.”