Hope that charity will support new Telford primary school

A charity is thought to be interested in helping set up a new school, before the search process has even got under way, councillors have been told.

Some sections of a 90-acre, 470-home development on the former British Sugar site at Allscott, Telford, are already being built.

In a report, Telford & Wrekin Council's school organisation and admissions specialist Shane Billingham writes that the two nearest schools to the new homes are more than two miles away and not suitable for expansion, so a new primary is needed.

The council’s cabinet agreed to trigger the process to identify an operator to run the 150-place school, and education and skills director Simon Wellman said “soft intelligence” suggested the Trussell Trust was interested.

Councillor Shirley Reynolds, Labour cabinet member responsible for education, said: “We are seeking today approval to undertake a presumption competition to establish a new primary school at Allscott.

“This is part of the continued expansion programme ensuring sufficiency of school places for families who are choosing to live, work and raise families in Telford and Wrekin.”

She said capital costs for the school would be met by SJ Roberts, the developer behind the estate, and the school would open in September 2023.

Liberal Democrat leader Bill Tomlinson welcomed the fact that the school would up and running soon.

“The housing development at Allscott now is going ahead like a steam train and the houses are coming on-stream thick and fast,” he said.

Conservative leader Nigel Dugmore – who, like Councillor Tomlinson, is not a cabinet member but attends meetings and comments on proceedings – said the new school plans were “great and definitely needed”.

He added: “Just one question; what happens if an academy sponsor doesn’t come forward?”

Councillor Reynolds said the Department for Education would “support us in ensuring we do get a sponsor for the school”, if needed, but Mr Wellman said: “We’ve already had some soft intelligence to show there is an interest in the local area for Trussell Trust signing up to become the academy sponsor.”

Founded in 1997, the Trussell trust primarily campaigns against hunger, supporting foodbanks and providing emergency food to people in poverty.

Government guidance says charities are one of the eight organisation classes that can act as academy sponsors. Others include businesses, faith communities and universities.

The Trussell Trust has been approached for comment.

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