Chatteris is set for new multi-million pound primary school to ‘future proof’ town’s education provision

A new multi-million pound primary school  for Chatteris will be built next to the Cromwell Community College in Wenny Road.
A new multi-million pound primary school for Chatteris will be built next to the Cromwell Community College in Wenny Road.

Chatteris is to get a new multi-million pound primary school and more secondary places at the Cromwell Community College in a bid to ‘future-proof’ education provision in the town.

Proposals for the new one-form intake primary school catering for children aged 4 to 11 are in the very early stages but it is hoped work to build the new school on the Cromwell site will begin next September with it opening for pupils the following year.

Ian Trafford, Cambridgeshire County Council’s education officer for Fenland, said both Chatteris’s two primary schools, Glebelands and Kingsfield, are already at capacity.

“We provided 120 reception places this year and the intake was 120, that means if just one new house is occupied and has a child we will be oversubscribed.

“The new primary school will be built in two phases the first will have a one form intake and will have 210 places, the second phase will see that double. Basically we are future proofing education in Chatteris.

“Originally there were plans to build a school as part of the Hallam Land Mangement proposals at Tithe Barn but that has hit the sand. By building on the Cromwell Community College site we move it out of the developers hands.

“The new school, which will be run by the Active Learning Trust which manages the Cromwell, will be a separate entity, it will adjoin the secondary school but have its own entrance and playground which will mean you won’t have four-year-olds mixing with older teenagers, which might have been a concern for parents.”

Mr Trafford said the current primary school sites were looked at for possible expansion but access concerns and also lack of available space ruled that option out.

He said Hallam had agreed to give some land to Cromwell to ensure it does not lose out under the new proposals.

“They have said instead of building a school they will give Cromwell some land as compensation - the Hallam site adjoins the Cromwell site so it works well,” said Mr Trafford.

Cromwell Community College will also see its capacity increased by 150 places in 2019.

“The extra places for Cromwell was approved in January this year and members this week agreed to back the Active Learning Trust’s plans for the primary school. It is their proposal but it is the local authority’s responsibility to ensure there are enough school places, so we will be backing their proposal when they seek approval from the secretary of state.

“We will combine the two schemes which will enable efficiency savings and we estimate it is likely to cost between £5.5m and £6m for a new one form entry primary school.”