15:03 Monday 25 November 2013

Plans for new schools in Littleport are gathering pace

Written byJORDAN DAY

The county council's headquarters; Shire Hall. The county council's headquarters; Shire Hall.

Major plans to build two new schools in a village are gathering pace - and potential sponsors are now being sought.

Discussions about providing Littleport with its own secondary school have been ongoing for years and the plan is to now build a secondary school and a special school in the village.

Education chiefs at Cambridgeshire County Council estimate the ambitious project to cost around £30 million and the hunt is now on to find potential sponsors.

The schools will be funded by the council from a combination of Department for Education (DfE) money and contributions from developers.

The schools – both due to open in September 2016 – will be co-located on land north west of Littleport, near its leisure centre.

The secondary school will cater initially for 600 pupils aged from 11 to 16, with the potential for future expansion up to 750 pupils.

The special school on the same site will cater for 110 pupils aged from 2 to 19 with complex special educational needs.

Christine Ambrose Smith, parish and Conservative district councillor for Littleport West ward, said: “Local parish, district and county councillors have been lobbying for these schools for many years.

“There will be a public meeting in the near future to give an outline of the process to be followed and will allow questions to be asked and answered.

“I’d urge residents to make every effort to attend. For the new schools to be a success, it is essential that the local community supports fully what is to be achieved, and it is up to the people of Littleport to make sure that they get the school that their children deserve.”

The Education Act 2011 requires new schools to be promoted either as an academy or a free school.

The application process for sponsorship starts on Friday, November 29 and ends on February 10, 2014.

The council will shortlist applicants, who will then present their proposals at a public meeting in front of an assessment panel.

The panel will then recommend a preferred sponsor to the Secretary of State for Education, who makes the final decision.

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