Most visitors to an information session about a proposed secondary school for Godmanchester were “passionate supporters” of the project, the trust behind the move has said.
Cambridgeshire Educational Trust held a drop-in session in the town last Tuesday (February 20) so that people could find out more about the plans for Godmanchester Secondary Academy, the process of opening a new school and to meet members of the trust team who could answer questions.
The trust already runs Chesterton Community College, in Cambridge, which is rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
Donna Hubbard-Young, senior deputy head, said: “Cambridgeshire Educational Trust was delighted to meet so many community members and discuss proposals for Godmanchester Secondary Academy at the drop-in event.
Mrs Hubbard-Young said: “The proposed school is currently in the pre-opening phase of the Department for Education’s (DfE) free school process with possible sites being explored and views from the local community being gathered.
“The vast majority of those who attended the event were passionate supporters of Godmanchester having its own small secondary school to cater for the children coming through from the three primary schools in the town and could see huge benefits including new facilities and resources not just for the young people but for the whole community to benefit from.”
Residents’ views will be taken into account before the school gets the final green light from the DfE.
If it is approved, the new school would be for 600 students aged 11-16, although no site has yet been identified for it.
The trust said that Chesterton’s Ofsted rating placed it at 14th out of 6,500 schools in the country, based on the progress pupils made and that the new school would benefit from the same curriculum model.
It said the school would have a “broad and balanced” curriculum including core subjects, humanities, modern foreign languages, arts, technology, computing, Latin and sport as well as optional subjects such as mandarin, sociology and astronomy.
However, there are concerns that the small size of the school meant it would not be viable economically and that it would have a negative impact on Hinchingbrooke and St Peter’s schools in Huntingdon, where students go at present, and also raised issues about where students would go post-16.
Residents have also raised fears that the site for the school could open up further land for development in a town which has seen substantial house building.