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Sir Christopher Hatton

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Expansion Bid News

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Expansion Bid for Sir Christopher Hatton Academy

The Academy made a bid to the Department for Education regarding adding a new block to the academy to allow an increase in the intake from 210 to 240 students per year group and to reduce the overcrowding issues that we experience in some parts of our school buildings. The main reason for this bid is allow more students in the local area to gain a place at the Academy. We have been oversubscribed for three successive years and with our current pupil numbers, we are starting to outgrow our current premises.  As well as extra classrooms the plans include additional facilities to benefit our students. The bid also would support the local authority in its need for more school places in the town.

The bid was unsuccessful for this year and we will resubmit again in the future.

As part of the process we have asked for comments from parents and the local community. We received nine responses. The points raised were:

In favour of an expansion

·         More places needed as the school is oversubscribed

·         Additional capacity needed for the town growth

Against an expansion

·         Concern about a larger year group when a smaller intake was part of the attraction of the academy

·         Impact on the other schools in the town re their intake

·         Concern about possible impact on standards at SCHA and increase in class size

·         Traffic impact near the academy

·         Growth of the academy when other areas are in need of refurbishment.

In answer to the concerns raised I would make the following points.

1.       The expansion would be gradual with increased intake into Year 7 only so would progress through for five years of the main school and then into the sixth form.

2.       Teaching and pastoral support would remain the same high standard. There would be no impact on class sizes. The expansion is funded by increased pupil numbers and we would employ additional teachers over the five-year period as needed to maintain our high standards.

3.       Local Authority projections indicate that the town will have no spare school places at secondary level in the next 2-3 years. Therefore there will be no impact on other schools’ numbers

4.       The academy acknowledges the traffic concerns and clearly planning permission for any such expansion would require a full traffic impact assessment.  The Academy will always place educational reasons highest in its priorities.

5.       The money provided for the expansion allows for a new block and is a completely separate process to funds for refurbishment.   A new block will give the academy some modern classrooms and facilities for use by all pupils. It is envisaged that the new block if built would house a key subject faculty.

Thank you for those who responded to the consultation. I will keep you informed of any future developments.

Victoria Bishop

CEO/Executive Principal.