Former college to house new Wisbech secondary school?

Planning news.
Planning news.
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A former horticultural college site could be developed to create a new secondary school for Wisbech.

Cambridgeshire County Council members are deciding whether to purchase the former College of West Anglia site.

High birth rates along with plans to build 11,000 new homes in Fenland will place a greater demand on the area’s four secondary schools in Wisbech, March, Chatteris and Whittlesey.

A decision to purchase the site, along with authorising officers to find a site in March, will be made by the council’s general purposes committee at a later date.

A report to the county’s children and young people’s committee states that the greatest demand for additional school places is in Wisbech.

The report to yesterday’s meeting states that £23million has been set aside for a secondary school with four or five forms per year.

This document also states that the college is keen to complete any sale by August 31 this year.

Future development is also likely to be seen in this area, the report states. A garden town proposal for Wisbech, with thousands of new homes and the introduction of a local enterprise zone, were unveiled last week.

The report says: “The site will provide more land than is needed for a secondary school and this “extra” land will provide opportunities for improvements to Meadowgate Lane.

“There is potential to consider improvements to the existing access to Meadowgate School as part of these proposals.”

The report also states that schools need to develop children’s skills along with concentrating on academic progress.

It states: “Secondary education in Fenland needs to develop pupils’ skills and qualifications that meet employer needs and fill the gaps – any development should not just be about qualifications but about a curriculum that promotes work readiness, work experience placements, exhorts the value of the vocational as much as the academic.

“People with hybrid skillsets, such as technology and project management skills, are likely to be in demand in the future.”

The report also calls for schools to make ‘real’ links with businesses in the area.