New secondary school for St Neots could be open by 2025
- Credit: Archant
Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly has backed plans for a new secondary school in St Neots.
Mr Djanogly said it was important for parents to have choice.
“I welcome the innovation and freedom provided to schools over the last decade as a result of the academies and free schools programmes.
“It is important that parents have the choice of the best schools. I have supported the campaign for a Free School in St Neots since its inception and I am pleased to hear that the Department for Education has re-confirmed their commitment to a Free School for St Neots, which was so well received in the local community.”
The project was originally approved by the Department for Education in April 2017. However, a search for a suitable location meant that the project was later placed “on pause” and in November 2018, it was reported that the school was unlikely to open.
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However, following an intervention by Government ministers and the projected need for secondary school places as the town of St Neots continues to grow, it has now been confirmed that the search for a site in St Neots will resume.
Stuart Lock, CEO at Advantage Schools, the school trust leading the project, said: “We are delighted that it is possible that we will be able to open St Neots Academy and serve the families and pupils in St Neots. We are committed to working with the local authority and the Department for Education to open this school.
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“Given the previous disappointments, we’ll continue to be extremely cautious about making any promises, but I have had very productive meetings with the Department for Education and there is a real will at all levels to get this done.”
The timescale for the opening of the school is not yet confirmed but Mr Lock says he is hopeful the school will by 2025, but possibly earlier.
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We have noted Mr Djanogly and Cllr Ferguson’s support for a third secondary school in St Neots.
"The Department for Education (DfE) is currently searching for a potential site for the new school, so any timetable for delivery would rest with them. However, in the meantime the County Council and the Astrea Academy Trust – which runs Ernulf Academy and Longsands Academy - are confident there is sufficient capacity at the school to meet demand both now and for several years.”
Advantage Schools currently runs Bedford Free School, which in January of 2020 was rated Outstanding in every category by OFSTED, and at the last set of outcomes had achievement that was firmly in the top 150 schools in the country.
Families who wish to be kept informed can register their interest on firstname.lastname@example.org