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New school needed due to 'unprecedented' house building in Shrewsbury

By Dominic Robertson | Shrewsbury | Education | Published:

A new school must be built to deal with a crisis caused by Shrewsbury's “unprecedented” house building, according to the council.

An organisation is being sought to run a new primary school that could eventually have more than 400 pupils in Shrewsbury.

Shropshire Council wants to build the school at Bowbrook because of the increase in population caused by extensive building, with more planned in future.

It is looking for organisations to run it as a ‘free school’.

The primary school would be built alongside a 120-place special educational needs school on land between the Hanwood Road and the Mytton Oak Road to the north and south.

The council said nearby schools are all at capacity, meaning a new facility is desperately needed.

A report from the authority states: “Forecasts of pupil numbers have been affected by Covid-19 pandemic, in particular the cancellation of the May 2020 school census and the impact on the wider economy, including the housing market and construction industry which have all but ceased operating at the height of the lockdown.

“The position at Oxon CE Primary, Woodfield Infant, St George’s Junior and Radbrook primary schools are that the schools have no vacancies for September 2020.

“These schools, surrounding the Bowbrook area, are consistently filled to the infant class size capacity at the point of entry. There are usually no vacancies for pupils moving into the area.

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Scope

“Any families purchasing new homes in the Bowbrook development are currently offered school places where there are vacancies – further away from the immediate area.”

The school will cater for 210 pupils in the first instance and has scope to double in size to 420 places. It is expected to open in September 2022.

Shropshire Council said it intends to build it at the same time as the special educational needs school to make it cheaper, and reduce disruption.

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A report from the council says: “Construction of the mainstream primary school is to be undertaken at the same time as the construction of a neighbouring SEND free school. Both projects are to be delivered by a single contractor.

"Although the need for a mainstream school in Bowbrook is primarily driven by the unprecedented level of new housing in an area where schools are currently oversubscribed, the synchronisation of the construction projects offers economies of scale and minimises disruption to the local community.

“By delivering two schools at the same time, the community will be exposed to one period of construction noise, traffic and disturbance, as opposed to construction extended over two timeframes.”

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