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Gloucester Liberal Democrats renew calls for new comprehensive school in the north of Gloucester

September 18, 2018 6:23 AM
Jeremy and LindaGloucester Liberal Democrats have reiterated calls for a new secondary school to be built in the north of the city.
It comes after forecasts prepared by the Department for Education reveal a shortfall of 477 secondary school places in Gloucester by 2023/24.
Across the country 130,000 children are at risk of missing out on a secondary school place over the next five years, according to the Local Government Association.
Rising birth rates and the thousands of new homes built at Kingsway and Cooper's Edge has seen increasing pressure for primary school places in Gloucester.
But with thousands of new homes planned on the outskirts of Gloucester - at Innsworth, Churchdown and Brockworth as part of the Joint Core Strategy - there will be further demand on school places.
The Liberal Democrats have long argued there was a need for a new non-selective secondary school in the north of the city as children not attending either Sir Thomas Rich's or Denmark Road High School for Girls, having to travel to Churchdown, Brockworth, Tewkesbury, Newent, the south of Gloucester or further afield.
Jeremy Hilton of the Lib Dems said the school should have been built on the former Bishop's College site in Longlevens but housing is now being built there instead.
When Gloucester Lib Dems first called for a new comprehensive secondary school in the north of Gloucester the then Conservative county council cabinet member for children and young people dismissed it as a "pre-election stunt".
But the need for a new secondary school in Gloucester has now been supported by a report prepared by the county council.
The Gloucester City School Places Review said the need for extra primary school places would be met by expanding existing schools and agreements with housing developers to build additional schools.
But with secondary schools the review states that there is a "significant shortfall of places from 2022" and a new site for a secondary school in Gloucester should be found.
The report also says that existing secondary schools should be expanded where possible.
Councillor Jeremy Hilton, who represents Kingsholm and Wotton and is leader of the Lib Dem group on the city council, said:
"When we first questioned which secondary schools the children living in all the new family homes being built on the outskirts of Gloucester would go to, the Tories just dismissed our concern.
"With so many houses planned because of the Joint Core Strategy it was obvious there was going to be further pressure on primary and secondary school places in Gloucester.
"The Department for Education's own forecasts support this, and the county council has now realised what we have been saying all along about the need for a new comprehensive secondary school.
"It is vital that this school is non-selective. A genuine, high performing comprehensive school. There is no need for any further grammar school places. The grammars are already taking far too many pupils that live outside the city and even outside Gloucestershire. The new comprehensive school must be built to serve those that live in the north of Gloucester."