20/10/2021 - Permalink

New schools in Shrewsbury push forward amidst delay

Related topics: Children's services / Planning

Plans for two new schools to be built on the land south of Squinter Pip Way in Bowbrook, Shrewsbury, are progressing despite setbacks with the contractor and timescales.

The mainstream primary school, funded by capital funding from Shropshire Council and a special school, funded by the Department of Education as part of their free school capital programme, are now scheduled to open in 2023.  Both schools were planned to open in September 2022.

Both schools are planned to be constructed within the same timeframe, using a single lead contractor, to maximise the financial efficiencies and to minimise disruption to the local community.  A re-procurement exercise is currently underway and it is hoped a new contractor will be in place towards the end of the calendar year.

As a result of this delay the opening date for the two schools has been moved to September 2023.  The Council, Department for Education and the separate academy trusts who will be operating each of the schools, will continue to work in close partnership to ensure that there are no negative impacts on the pupils who will attend the schools.

Councillor Kirstie Hurst-Knight, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said:

“We are confident that the delay in the opening of the new mainstream primary school in particular should not cause adverse pressure on the Reception intake in September 2022 as there are forecast be sufficient Reception places at schools in the west Shrewsbury area next September. This is due in part to a forecast dip in the national birth rate, which is reflected in the 2022 known children numbers for schools in the Bowbrook area (Oxon CE Primary, Radbrook Primary and Woodfield Infant schools).  The new primary school, when opened, will be operated by The 3-18 Education Trust.

“While there is a delay in the building of the special school, we are still focusing our efforts on expanding and enhancing the range of specialist provision already on offer for Shropshire children.  Our aim is to ensure that Shropshire children with SEND have, and expect, the same opportunities in life as other children and young people.

“Temporary accommodation for a small cohort of pupils who would have attended the new special school in the 2022/23 academic year is being investigated by the Department for Education and the academy trust who will be operating the school – The Youth Engagement Schools Trust – and a decision on the preferred location will be determined in the coming weeks.”

“The two new schools are an important and exciting development as we look to meet the demand for school places in this area of Shrewsbury.”

The special school will cater for children aged 5 to 16 who have special educational needs (SEN) in the area of communication and interaction, and who may also have additional needs in the area of social, emotional and mental health, requiring a level of specialist intervention not ordinarily available within a mainstream school.  This is an exciting development that will enable Shropshire children with SEN to access high-quality specialist provision within the Shropshire community, and will support children to prepare effectively for life as an adult.