Sheffield's £46m education scheme to create more pupil places

A £46 million plan by education chiefs to tackle pressure on places for pupils '“ including building a new secondary school and expanding facilities in the south west of Sheffield '“ is set to be approved.

Wednesday, 10th February 2016, 11:02 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th February 2016, 11:10 pm
Education news

Sheffield Council wants to open a school, an academy for 11- to 18-year-olds on the site of the former Bannerdale Centre, off Carter Knowle Road.

Silverdale school, in Bents Green, would be expanded to provide 60 extra places for two years from September, and a consultation will also be launched on plans to widen the age range at Ecclesall Infants, offering 90 places per year, if the proposals are given the go-ahead by the council’s cabinet committee at a meeting next Wednesday.

Building a new ‘through school’, also an academy, for two – to 18-year-olds in the north east of the city, on the former Pye Bank School site in Burngreave, is also included as part of the overall scheme.

The council received more than 1,400 responses during a consultation on the measures last year.

In a victory by campaigners, education bosses recommend leaving Carterknowle Juniors, Holt House and Clifford primaries as they are.

Initial proposals involving these schools sparked fierce opposition.

Cabinet members will be told of the ‘scale of population growth’ in Sheffield since 2002. Births have risen by a quarter, with 1,000 more children per year now coming into reception.

“The children born in 2012 are the largest birth cohort in the city since 1991,” a report to the meeting says.

The picture is ‘more difficult to predict’ in the long term, the report adds, although a ‘steady increase’ in births is predicted until 2023.

Proposals for a secondary school on the Holt House Infant site, alongside a merged and rebuilt Holt House Infant and Carterknowle Junior, ‘met with strong resistance’ from parents and residents, while expanding Silverdale was ‘largely met positively’.

The expansion of Ecclesall Infants was ‘positively supported’ – although concerns were raised about traffic and parking.

“A key issue that arose in relation to a new school in the south west was the issue of catchment areas,” the report says. “For many parents there is a strong link between catchment areas and where they have chosen to live, and the prospect of this changing is unsettling.”

The Bannerdale school would be built on the former centre’s car park, offering 900 places initially, plus a sixth form. The design will allow an expansion to 1,200 pupils if needed. It would open in 2018.

The report gives a ‘high level estimate’ of £46m as the budget for all of the proposed schemes, based on Department for Education costings. The council says ‘outstanding sponsors’ are needed for the academies. Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “The forecasts show if we don’t act now and start building these schools soon, children will be unable to get into local schools as there simply won’t be enough places for everyone.”