Anxieties over increasing pupil numbers due to the volume of new homes have led to proposals for a new secondary school on the outskirts of Leamington and Warwick.
In the agenda for its executive meeting which took place on Wednesday evening this week, Warwick District Council has provided an update on the progress of major building work as part of its ‘Europa Way project’ as part of the wider Local Plan.
Current forecasts by the council show that - due to the project which includes building of large housing estates in the area - by the start of the academic year of 2024 going into 2025 the area south of Leamington and Warwick would have 6,278 secondary school-aged pupils against a total capacity of 5,130 - a shortfall of 1,148 places or 22 per cent of the required number.
And in this it has included details of a proposed new 1,200-place secondary school with an attached sixth form and 420-place primary school as part of an “all through” education facility off Oakley Wood Road near Whitnash and Bishop’s Tachbrook, which the authority has said would be needed to cater for a growing predicted number of children who will be living in the area as the Local Plan progresses.
A site of about ten hectares is required for the facility and “an important consideration” is to ensure that the new facility would be within a three-mile walking distance from the intended pupils’ home locations.
The council has said: “The scale of development has very significant infrastructure requirements, particularly highways and also education.
“While a number of sites for primary education have been identified and secured via section 106 agreements, secondary expansion of one of the existing nearby secondary schools - Campion and a new school on seven hectares of land to the rear of Myton School and immediately adjacent to the proposed community football stadium - there have always been anxieties about this site in terms of its size and its lack of distance from another secondary school. These anxieties have grown as the estimated pupil roll numbers - i.e. the number of children having to be provided for has grown further to the extent that the current site is now considered to be too small to be able to provide for a school of the size necessary.”
The proposed site for the school is on land to the west of Oakley Wood Road and south of Harbury Lane near the crossroads of those routes with Tachbrook Road and Whitnash.
Part of the land is currently farmland and the other part has already been earmarked to be used for a country park in the Local Plan.
This country park would remain the same size but would be reshaped as “other land would be brought into it”.
The proposed school’s sports facilities would be managed by the council and its partner Everyone Active and its car park could be used ‘out of hours’ for the country park.
Plans are currently being progressed to expand Campion School by 55 places per year group from 2020 to help the area cope, in part, with the shortfall.
Other sites were considered before the Oakley Wood Road land was chosen by the council.
These included Myton Gardens, Warwickshire County Council-owned land off Europa Way, playing fields off Harbury Lane, land south of Grove Farm, Heathcote Sewage Works, land south of Gallows Hill, Strawberry Fields and The Asps.
The agenda for the executive meeting can be viewed by clicking here.