Godmanchester could find out next year if the town is to get its first secondary school.
The principle for a new Godmanchester Secondary Academy has already been given the go-ahead by the Department for Education (DFE) and the proposed school is set to be established and run by Cambridgeshire Educational Trust which already runs Chesterton Community College in Cambridge.
Backing from the town’s community will be key in the decision-making process over whether the school, which is in its pre-opening and exploratory and developmental phases, gets the final green light.
If approved the school could open in the early 2020s and would be for students aged 11 to 16. It would have between 600 and 750 pupils who would go on to other local schools or centres for sixth form studies and there would also be a staff of around 100 teachers.
Lucy Scott, chief executive of Cambridge Educational Trust, said: “We are thrilled that Godmanchester Secondary Academy has been approved.
“Opening a new school is a momentous step in the life of a community - we have the immense responsibility to create a school that will go on to shape the lives and experiences of future generations within Godmanchester.
“We do not take that responsibility lightly and have reflected carefully on our experience as educationalists to ensure that the Godmanchester Secondary Academy is a success from day one.”
She said: “We look forward to working with all sectors of the Godmanchester community in the in the coming months and years to ensure the Godmanchester Secondary Academy is a centre of excellence for learners of all ages and a community hub offering resources and facilities sought by the town.”
No site for the school has yet been found and the trust said this would be the responsibility of LocatED, a Government-owned property company which buys and develops sites for new free schools in England. It has a £2 billion budget.
The school would draw its pupils from the town’s three primary schools, starting a year at a time until it was full.
Chesterton Community College has been rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted and has been placed 16th out of 6,500 schools in league tables based on progress made by pupils.
The trust said 89 per cent of Chesterton’s pupils gained level 4+ in English and maths and 55 per cent of all GCSE grades were at A*/A or grade 7, 8 and 9.
It said it believed in realising the potential of all students and wanted to work closely with the town and to consider how the community wished to use the school.
It plans to hold more community meetings and events to discuss the development of the academy.
Town and district councillor David Underwood said he was “encouraged” to hear proposals that it would be a small community school but there were issues over whether it was needed and whether it would encourage more development.
“There are concerns that it might encourage developers to bid for further development,” Cllr Underwood said.