Plans for new teaching block at Wellingborough school ‘bursting at the seams’

Victoria Bishop with pupils at Sir Christopher Hatton Academy after it was judged as outstanding by Ofsted in 2015
Victoria Bishop with pupils at Sir Christopher Hatton Academy after it was judged as outstanding by Ofsted in 2015

A Wellingborough school has submitted plans for a new teaching block to help meet the demand for places.

Sir Christopher Hatton Academy, which was judged as outstanding by Ofsted in 2015, has put forward plans for an additional teaching block which will provide capacity to expand its school admissions by 30 students in each year group.

Victoria Bishop, executive principal, said: “Our oversubscription levels have reached the point now where an increasing number of parents are unable to gain a place for their child at Sir Christopher Hatton Academy.

“As a consistently oversubscribed school that is in the top seven per cent of schools nationally, this planned expansion will help to relieve future over-subscription levels, and therefore ensure that more young people in Wellingborough can benefit from the exceptional educational offer that Sir Christopher Hatton provides.”

The current school site, situated in The Pyghtle, was built in 1960 and designed originally for a smaller intake of 800 pupils.

A new block was funded by the Department for Education in 2001, which enabled the school to increase its pupil admission numbers to 1,200.

If approved, the new expansion will increase the academy’s admissions figure to rise to more than 1,400 pupils.

Colin Hinds, director of finance and operations for Hatton Academies Trust, said: “The academy is now bursting at the seams and we have been increasingly unable to meet the rapid growth in demand for school places at Sir Christopher Hatton Academy.

“Coupled with that, the projected net migration into the town over the next five years as a result of planned housing developments will only exacerbate the problem.

“We look forward to receiving feedback from the community on these exciting proposals.”

Documents submitted as part of the planning application say the new teaching block would incorporate classrooms, a lecture theatre, cafe and associated support/storage and toilet facilities.

If the plans are approved by Wellingborough Council, the new teaching block would be located to the north-east of the existing school buildings on an area of currently unused playing field.