Building work for the new secondary school in Cheltenham began today with a ground breaking ceremony to kick-start the next phase of this £30 million project.
The ceremony was attended by councillors and representatives of Balcarras, the academy trust that is sponsoring the school, and marked the beginning of the work on the brand new secondary school building, which will include a new all-weather pitch, sports playing fields and a multi-use games area. The school will also be carbon neutral, to help protect the environment for future generations.
The first intake of Year 7 pupils in 2021 will be temporarily accommodated at a separate building on the Balcarras school site, and the new school building will open its doors in 2022 – eventually providing much-needed school places for 900 pupils in Cheltenham aged 11 to 16 years old.
Cllr Patrick Molyneux, cabinet member responsible for education at Gloucestershire County Council, said I am determined we will deliver this low carbon, high quality school for the children of Leckhampton without delay. This is a key part of our £100m investment in schools across Gloucestershire – helping to ensure our children get the education they deserve.”
Balcarras Headteacher Dominic Burke said, “It is very exciting to officially break the ground and to be at the point where construction begins. We’ve spent so long planning every detail of the school, we can’t wait to see those plans become reality.”
Cllr Iain Dobie, county councillor for Leckhampton and Warden Hill, said “This is cause for celebration. As I have argued for several years, a new community secondary school for Leckhampton is clearly needed. A local school to which children can walk and cycle. A low carbon school, benefitting from green technologies. I’m keen that we explore ways to go even further, if this proves to be possible. I very much welcome The High School Leckhampton.”
The first phase will be archaeological work with construction of the building due to start in November. Whilst judicial review proceedings have been commenced, the council is moving forward with the building programme, so as to avoid any unnecessary delay to the completion of the school, which is expected to open in 2022. The council is submitting a robust defence to the judicial review, which it hopes can be quickly resolved.
For more information on the new school, visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/school-places-in-cheltenham