New secondary school for Fenland in next 10 years?

Education News from the Fenland Citizen,, @FenlandCit on Twitter
Education News from the Fenland Citizen,, @FenlandCit on Twitter

Fenland could be getting a new secondary school within the next 10 years as population in the area booms.

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.

Education officers at Cambridgeshire County Council are looking at whether a new secondary school would be the best solution and the ideal location.

But they only have until September next year to organise a scheme in order to ensure funding in the council’s five year capital finance plan for 2020.

Officers have been holding talks with schools and councils but are due to launch a full public consultation early next year.

Thomas Clarkson and Neale Wade Academies have spaces for 1,500 Year 7 pupils while Cromwell College has 1,050 and Sir Harry Smith at Whittlesey has 900.

But by 2031 these figures will need to rise. Officers estimate Thomas Clarkson will need an additional 794 places with 747 at Neale Wade, 53 at Cromwell and 114 at Harry Smith.

The pressure on Cambridgeshire schools is currently lessened because parents choose to send more than 80 children to schools in Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

But education officers in Lincolnshire have warned that there will be a squeeze on places at Spalding Grammar and High Schools by 2018, which could result in Fenland pupils being turned away.

Talks are also being held with the College of West Anglia on plans to provide education for 14 to 19 year-olds.

Calls were made for an additional secondary school during a presentation given by education officer Beth Haynes at Wisbech Town Council on Monday.

Coun Steve Tierney said: “It has been obvious for a number of years that we must have a new secondary school in this area and I think Wisbech is the right location.”