Expansion hope for Meadowgate School

GV of Meadowgate School Wisbech ANL-160331-144913009
GV of Meadowgate School Wisbech ANL-160331-144913009

Teachers at an over-subscribed and outstanding school will be bidding to the Government for a new free school.

Meadowgate School in Wisbech has been forced to turn away pupils since September last year as it is full and is currently operating a “one-in-one-out” policy.

But all this could change if Meadowgate gets the go-ahead to build a free school, which would specialise in autism.

Headteacher Jackie McPherson was advised to submit a bid for a Government funded school to the Department of Education after two successive “outstanding” ratings from Ofsted.

Mrs McPherson and her team are hoping to submit a bid in September for a new school behind the current building.

She said: “We have been growing year-on-year for the last five years and we need to do something to address the fact that we couldn’t cope with the number of requests being made to the school.

“If our bid is successful we will be able to create a special school for children with autism as we know that is where the growing area of need is.

“We know Cambridgeshire is in the top third of local authorities in the country with a range of autistic children.”

The new school will be kitted out with special classrooms and quiet teaching areas to help youngsters improve their communication skills.

Mrs McPherson said: “We will be re-creating what already exists at Meadowgate which received high ratings from Ofsted.”

The existing Meadowgate school was built for 140 pupils but there are currently 158 children on the roll.

The hopes are to build a second school, to be run alongside Meadowgate, which will create an additional 30 places, along with transferring 18 pupils across from the existing site.

Mrs McPherson is currently running a consultation ahead of submitting the application in September.

This will be followed by a detailed interview by officers from the Department of Education. If successful, the new school could be open by September, 2018.

Cambridgeshire County Council had been looking at this site – along with others – for a new secondary school and is keeping its options open.