Plans submitted for new Stevenage secondary school

Boundary outline of proposed new secondary school in Stevenage

The proposed site for the new Michaela Community School in Stevenage - Credit: Ares Landscape Architects LTD

A planning application for a new secondary school in Stevenage that promises "to bring the values and advantages of a private education to young people of all backgrounds," has been submitted to the local authority.

If approved by Stevenage Borough Council, it will become a new branch of London's Michaela Community School, which has the reputation of being Britain's strictest school.

Under the plans, the vacant former Collenswood and Barnwell School buildings in Collenswood Road and Redwing Close will be demolished to make way for the new school - a mixed 11-19 free school with capacity for 1,260 pupils.

The on-site Stevenage Education Support Centre will also be upgraded with a new single-storey building, with provision for 36 students at Key Stages 3 and 4.

Collenswood School opened in 1962 and closed in 2006 and the site was then used as a campus by Barnwell School until 2014.

A spokesman for Michaela said: "Our aim is to bring the values and advantages of a private education to young people of all backgrounds and nurture pupils to become engaged and informed citizens.

"By the time they leave, students will be equipped to better explore the world in which they live."

Most Read

The application says the proposed development "seeks to bring a vacant, neglected site into viable use" and "will provide much-needed school facilities".

It says it "will enhance the education offer within the borough by providing high quality specialist education".

Pupils will take part in a 'behaviour boot camp' in the first seven days of Year 7, twice-yearly exams, and additional lesson time for traditional subjects within a longer school day.

The original Michaela Community School, founded by headteacher Katharine Birbalsingh in 2014, is known for its strict discipline, with silent corridors and a traditional approach to teaching.

To view the application and have your say, visit and search for 22/00369/FPM on the planning portal. A decision is expected in July.

With a 1.8-year demolition/construction period outlined in the application, the school could open in early 2024, with an intake of 180 Year 7 pupils, growing with the same intake each year.