New Corby secondary plan finally revealed for town that has NO spare year seven places

Educators have finally submitted their outline plans for a new secondary school for Corby more than 15 months after it was due to open.

By Kate Cronin
Monday, 2nd December 2019, 6:01 am
The site, shown by the red dot on the map, is on the A427 east of Weldon (indicated by the pin)
The site, shown by the red dot on the map, is on the A427 east of Weldon (indicated by the pin)

A scoping document has been submitted to Corby Borough Council planners detailing the plans for a large new school on Oundle Road to the north east of Corby.

The initial plans, submitted by Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust, outline their intention to build the 1,200-place Corby Secondary Academy with a 300-pupil sixth-form on the site between Weldon and the planned Tresham Garden Village.

It is hoped the new school will ease a looming secondary school place crisis as reported in this newspaper back in March.

This is what the school could look like.

The planning document, which was made public on Friday, states: "There is currently no capacity in Corby for additional secondary school students aged 11-16. The total number of students attending school is set to increase by an unprecedented 36 per cent in the period ending September 2026.

"The projected deficit of places peaks at 203 in 2022/23 and 201 in 2026/2027, which is equivalent to seven forms of entry and is of such a size that it can only be met through the delivery of an entirely new school."

Within the documents is a letter written back in September 2018 by Northamptonshire County Council capital programme manager for schools Chris Wicken said that the authority was being forced to bus Corby pupils to Prince William in Oundle but that the East Northants school would only have capacity to meet demand for one further academic year.

He added: "The need for the proposed new free school is urgent and immediate.

Corby has a a growing deficit of secondary school places

"NCC will not be able to fulfil its statutory obligation of providing a sufficiency of school places without the delivery of this free school."

In an additional statement he said: "It is not possible, practical or cost effective to reduce the proposed size of the new secondary school by extending different schools."

The letter also says that NCC does not have the funds to extend existing schools.

NCC estimates do not take into account Corby's new housing developments and, as such, the places deficit could be worse than feared.

There is no reason given for the delay in submitting the plans in the documents but they do reveal that LocalED - the government-owned property company responsible for buying school sites to build free schools - spent 19 months finding a suitable site in Corby. Eleven sites were considered including land next to Corby power station, a site at the former steelworks office site, and several next to Rockingham Motor Speedway.

In initial searches, the top two preferred locations were at Priors Hall and at Courier Road on the site of the former Sunday Market but these were already allocated for different uses.

Instead, it was decided to move ahead with the A427 Oundle Road site owned by Weldon farmer Kenneth Argo. It is expected the land will cost the government in the region of £2.5m.

It is proposed that a new three metre-wide pedestrian and cycle path should be installed between the site and Weldon as it is forecast that around 525 pupils will walk to the school each day. There is also a roundabout planned at the school's main access which is opposite Bears Lane.

There is no opening date provided in the plans although it will be an incredibly tight turnaround for the scheme to get planning permission and to be complete by September 2020.

You can view the documents and comment on them here