Academy head explains why third secondary school will not be built in St Neots

Stuart Lock is the executive principal of Advantage Schools

Stuart Lock is the executive principal of Advantage Schools - Credit: Archant

Plans to open a new secondary academy in St Neots have been shelved.

In a letter to “families and supporters” who had shown some interest in plans to open a third secondary school in the town, Stuart Lock, executive principal of Advantage Schools, admitted there was no way forward.

He said: “My apologies for not being able to write to you for a significant amount of time. A large number of you have contacted us asking for an update. As you may be aware, the plans for our new school in St Neots (St Neots Academy) have been put on pause by the Department for Education (DFE). The reason for this is that the DFE have been unable to secure a site for the new school.

At Advantage Schools we were determined to provide a different type of education for families in St Neots, and we made clear to the Regional Schools Commissioner and the DFE that we were open to all suggestions. A number of possibilities were explored to open St Neots Academy or to find another way of allowing us to provide you with a secondary education similar to that which we deliver in Bedford.

Unfortunately, none of the proposed solutions have been possible to progress any further. There is no viable site for St Neots Academy to open, and there are no other options. We therefore have to accept that despite our best efforts, we are not going to be able to open in St Neots for the foreseeable future.”

Mr Lock went on to say that he realised this would be disappointing for some families, but he was left with no choice but to shut down the website and social media accounts for the St Neots Academy as there was no way forward.

The existing secondary schools in St Neots, Longsands and Ernulf are now part of the Astrea Trust.

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Mr Lock added: “We wish Astrea all the best in St Neots.

“You, the families and supporters we have met and heard from in St Neots, are some of the most aspirational I have ever had the pleasure of talking to, and you deserve the very best educational provision. I expect that under Astrea, secondary educational provision in St Neots will go from strength to strength. Libby Nicholas, chief executive of Astrea Academy Trust, has asked me to pass on to you her contact details should you wish to enquire about their plans for provision in St Neots. She can be reached on

“Finally, I wish you and your children all the best in the future. Thank you for your support. I’m sorry we couldn’t make this happen.”