Plans to expand Charters School put on hold after council says funds are limited
Published: 25 Jul 2014 17:301 comment
Charters, in Charters Road, Sunningdale, has been taken off the Royal Borough’s list of schools for expansion which has been put out for public consultation.
The plans are aimed at meeting the growing demand for secondary school places.
The council claims the school – which has academy status – has asked it to stump up £5m for new buildings to accommodate the future influx of pupils, as well as extra cash to refurbish run-down existing buildings, including the maths department.
However, Charters co-headteacher Richard Pilgrim told the News it had only asked for £2.5m. The council has put forward proposals on how to expand the secondary school sector over the next five years in a report heard at the children’s services overview and scrutiny panel meeting last Wednesday.
The council has put forward a number of pro-
posals, which will be considered for public consultation from September to October, should they be approved by cabinet on Tuesday, July 29.
Mr Pilgrim said: “We are prepared to expand our school but we need to wait for the appropriate funding. With the location [of the school], we are in we are talking to both the Royal Borough and Bracknell Forest Council and, as an academy, we are entitled to apply to central government for funding, too, so over the coming months lots of different people will be talking.
“We want to fix some of the buildings that are in need of restoration, too, before looking at the expansion.”
One of the proposals for expansion included expanding three or four of the existing 14 secondary schools in the Royal Borough by five forms of entry in 2015/16 and 2017/18, including one form of entry in the Ascot area which would create 30 new places in Year Seven and 210 places over seven year groups.
That has now been amended, because of the cost of expanding Charters, to four forms of entry in 2017/18 in Maidenhead and Windsor, with the Ascot expansion by one form being pushed back to 2019/20.
Alison Alexander, strategic director of children’s services at the Royal Borough, said: “Young people in Ascot [primary] schools will go to Charters. It can accommodate all the young people from the younger schools. If we wanted to ensure every young person in the seven [Ascot primary] schools went to Charters, we estimate we need 17 more places in 2017. We can wait until 2019 so that there is a larger number [of estimated shortfall places of 28].
“Charters are keen to expand but they only want to expand if we are in a position to commit to a build of £5m. We didn’t estimate that amount.
“What we have agreed is that we will take them off the list for public consultation at this point as some of the children can be accommodated.
“They [Charters] want to ensure they have all the right tools to do the job and what they are saying is they can only do this with the right infrastructure. We cannot commit to a £5m build as that would take nearly 50% of the capital. So we are in conversation with Bracknell [Forest Council] to see what their plans are.”
The Royal Borough has a budget of £12.2m for secondary school expansion to 2018/19, and a second report is due in December to analyse the results of the public consultation.