More than £250,000 funding agreed for new Stevenage school
Sol Buckner, Local Democracy Reporter
- Credit: Archant
Hertfordshire County Council has agreed to contribute £256,000 towards the building of a free school in Stevenage which will provide new accommodation for the town’s education support centre.
The council’s cabinet agreed to provide the contribution towards the building of the Michaela Community School - which successfully bid to open a new secondary school at the former Barnwell East site - formerly Collenswood School.
The Department for Education plans to demolish the existing school buildings and provide accommodation for the Stevenage Education Support Centre as part of the overall building project.
The whole scheme will be procured and delivered by the DfE and funded directly through its Free School programme.
The £256,000 funding towards the scheme is from Section 106 monies currently held for secondary education. Section 106 monies are funds secured from an agreement between a developer and a local authorities which are used to provide for infrastructure required for the development.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting on February 22, councillor Terry Douris, executive member for education, libraries and localism, said: “I am, as ever with new builds in the education field, hugely excited by this because it will provide a facility for young people for whom at any one point in time, mainstream education provision may not be quite right for them.
“And it will allow them to refocus and perhaps get back into mainstream education in a facility and in a building, or in buildings, that are fit for the purpose, not just for now, but for the future. And we owe it to the young people of Stevenage.”
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The Michaela Community School plans to open with an intake of 180 Year 7 students, growing organically with the same intake each year. At full capacity, Michaela will be a secondary school with 1,260 pupils, including the Sixth Form.
Cllr David Williams, chairman of the cabinet and leader of the county council, said: “It’s a really important investment.
"We have touched a couple of times on inequalities and we really must do as much as we possibly can to support those children, whom, as Terry said, mainstream at any one point in time, may not be the right place for them to be in terms of their time in education.”