New bid for secondary school in Lyde Green

October 02 2019

A NEW move is being made to get a secondary school for Lyde Green - but the provision of a second primary school seems to have been set back.
SGS Academy Trust, whose bid for an all-through school for children aged four to 16 was turned down by the Department for Education earlier this year, is now seeking to open a secondary school.
The trust intends to put in a bid under the Government’s free school scheme in early November and if successful will open the school, to be named SGS Parkfield, on a six-hectare site at the north of Lyde Green, close to the former Parkfield colliery site.
SGS, which runs three secondary schools, is proposing to open a five-form entry school, which would increase over four years to take a maximum 900 students. It says the school would have a digital and engineering specialism and would be designed as ‘autism friendly’ so that students with the condition could be supported in a mainstream environment.
Kevin Hamblin, executive principal at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, which sponsors SGS Academy Trust, told the Voice that last year’s bid had been unsuccessful because South Gloucestershire was less of a priority that some other local authorities but that the criteria had changed for this year’s applications, which are known as Wave 14.
He said: “The new bid will respond to feedback by the Department of Education, who felt the primary phase of the previous bid was not required at present.  The proposed new school will therefore be for an 11-16 school which will have a digital and engineering technology focus, alongside the core GCSE subjects.”
However, this change of approach does not yet appear to have reached South Gloucestershire Council .
A spokesman told the Voice: “We are seeking to commission the provision for primary and secondary pupils at Lyde Green through the Department for Education’s (DfE) Wave 14 Free Schools Programme.
“We require new school provision at Lyde Green to meet the need for school places generated by new house building development in the area. Improving school standards is the council’s number one priority and delivering new school facilities for our children and young people will help us to do that.
“SGS Academy Trust has launched a consultation on a new proposal to establish a school with provision for primary and secondary pupils at Lyde Green and the DfE will assess the application.”
SGS is carrying out a consultation in advance of its application next month and was due to hold a community meeting at the science park on September 30 at 7.30pm, to give parents, residents and the council the chance to raise this and other questions.
Town councillor Matt Palmer told the Voice that people living in Lyde Green, which was always due to have two primaries and a secondary school, had many questions about the provision of school places.
“Lyde Green is desperate for another primary school and a secondary school and the completion date of September 2022 is far too late. South Gloucestershire Council and the government has let down the children of Lyde Green forcing some pupils and parents to travel long distances for an education.
He said the council’s own forecasts showed that Winterbourne, Downend, Mangotsfield and Emersons Green would need 99 extra secondary places in 2020, 126 in 2021 and 156 by 2022.