Plans to secure former Barnwell East school site in Stevenage to provide more places
- Credit: Archant
A site is being secured to provide more secondary school places in Stevenage, to help meet the demand of a growing population.
The Secretary of State for Education has given Herts County Council permission to exercise a compulsory purchase order for the former Barnwell East secondary school site in Collenswood Road and Ashtree Primary School and Nursery in Chertsey Rise.
Councillor Terry Douris, cabinet member for education at the county council, said: "Both sites are currently leased by the county council and the lease has less than 50 years to run. Purchasing the freehold of the land through this compulsory purchase order will secure the sites in Hertfordshire County Council's ownership for education purposes for the long-term.
"In light of the scale of anticipated future housing growth, within Stevenage and the surrounding areas, there will be a need for additional school places.
"The former Barnwell East site forms part of our strategy to provide additional secondary places, when required, to meet the future needs of the area."
Barnwell expanded in 2006 to take in students from the town's Collenswood School, which closed. There were two campuses - Barnwell Upper on the original Barnwell site and Barnwell Middle on the former Collenswood site.
Barnwell acquired Heathcote School's site in Shephall Green when it closed in 2012, and this is now home to the middle school.
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The former Collenswood site - known as Barnwell East - was used by sixth form for a time, but closed in October 2017.
Last November an application to open a new secondary school in Stevenage was submitted to the Department for Education.
A decision is now imminent, but a site has not been divulged.
If approved, the Michaela Community School aims to open in 2023 with an intake of 180 Year 7 students, growing with the same intake each year, with 1,260 pupils at full capacity.
Katharine Birbalsingh, lead proposer and headteacher at Michaela in Wembley Park, said: "We have chosen to establish Michaela in Stevenage to help meet the accelerating need for high-quality secondary school places in the growing town and also to increase parental choice.
"We want to bring the values and advantages of a private education to young people of all backgrounds."