Cheshire East Council has announced plans to expand Wilmslow High School to meet the need for additional secondary school places in Wilmslow in response to the increasing pupil population and additional pupils from new housing developments.
The Local Authority's proposal is to expand Wilmslow High School from 1500 to 1800 pupil places - from 300 to 360 places for each year group from Year 7 to year 11- from September 2023, or earlier if the expansion works at the school are completed ahead of schedule.
Wilmslow High School is a popular school and the Local Authority has always received applications in excess of the 300 places available per year group. In order to satisfy as many parental preferences for local children as possible the Local Authority, in agreement with the school, has for the last 3 years admitted above the school's Published Admission Number (PAN) of 300 for entry into year 7.
In 2017 there were 330 pupils in Year 7, in 2018 there were 329 and last year the number joining the school in Year 7 rose to 342.
In order to accommodate the additional pupils there has been some remodelling of existing internal spaces. Although this has enabled more local children to be offered a place, 124 local children resident within the school's catchment area have not been offered a place at the school in the past 3 years.
Dr James Pulle, Headteacher of Wilmslow High School commented "As a large school, we are fortunate that we can design and resource a wide range of specialist curriculum provision to ensure that all our students' needs are met. The additional financial resources and building project funding generated by a 12-form entry model have already allowed us to enhance our specialist staffing and resources, and increase our curriculum flexibility, despite the recent years of reduced education funding. This has contributed to the improvements in school performance demonstrated in the government's School Performance Tables and to the successful Ofsted Inspections of 2018 and 2019.
"The Local Authority have now committed to a further substantial investment in new buildings and associated infrastructure if it is determined that the school moves to an official Published Admission Number (PAN) of 360 students per year.
"The Governing Board believe that this proposed investment will bring substantial benefits to the educational experience of our students and, therefore, support the proposal that the school moves to an official Published Admission Number (PAN) of 360 students per year."
He added "This is a rare opportunity, that we are determined to make the most of, to benefit from a considerable investment that will substantially improve our school facilities. Therefore, we look forward to sharing with our parents, carers and students further information on these improvements at the appropriate stage of the design process."
The latest pupil forecasts, based on the October 2018 census data indicate an increasing shortfall which will rise to 425 places across Years 7 to 11 by 2025.
A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said "The local authority and the school are aware that the proposed increase does not appear to completely remove the indicated shortfall. However, it will allow some flexibility to monitor the housing developments and respond to changes in provision as required. In addition it is acknowledge that this is an area where a number of pupils choose to attend independent schools although initially may apply for a place at the school but later decline the place offered."
In order to accommodate the additional pupils the school will be re-modelled and enlarged. The proposal includes a single-storey extension of 1,635 m2 to the main building and a further extension of 438 m2 linking the existing Olympic Hall and Sports Hall blocks plus significant internal re-modelling.
The proposed expansion, if approved, will be funded through section 106 contributions from housing developers and Basic Need Grant.
A public drop in session will be held at Wilmslow Library on Tuesday 21st January from 9am to 5pm where representatives from the school and the local authority will be available to answer questions about the proposal and seek your views.
(Update: Following the request from Councillor Jefferay, it has been agreed with Wilmslow Library that the public consultation event on Tuesday 21st regarding the proposed expansion of Wilmslow High School will continue to 6.30pm to allow more people to attend after work. This is as late as the library can allow them to have the room as they have another booking at 7.00pm.)
Alternatively you can complete the Electronic Survey online, complete the paper questionnaire and post it to Cheshire East Borough Council, School Organisation and Capital Strategy Team, Floor 5, Delamere House, C/O Municipal Building, Earle Street, Crewe CW1 2BJ or email: SOCS@cheshireeast.gov.uk.
These will need to be completed by the closing date of Friday 14 February 2020.
At the end of the consultation period all the feedback received will be collated and a report will be prepared and presented to the Council's Cabinet or, if objections are received, the report will then be submitted to the Council's School Organisation Sub Committee for a final decision on the proposal.