Land agreement clears final hurdle for new secondary school

Reporter: Charlotte Green, Local Democracy Reporter
Date published: 17 September 2021

Town chiefs chiefs have formally agreed a land transfer which will allow a new high school to be built in the heart of Oldham town centre.

Planning permission was granted for the new Brian Clarke Church of England Academy to be constructed on the former Sainsbury’s site on land at Booth Street in July.

Now the cabinet has voted to enact and proceed with a land agreement between the council, Department of Education and the Cranmer Education Trust to facilitate the delivery of the school and allow building work to commence.

The Cranmer Education Trust already runs the Blue Coat School in Oldham, the second most oversubscribed secondary in Greater Manchester.

Council leader Arooj Shah said: “I’m sure we’d all agree that every child in Oldham deserves a great education. 

“I think we’re fortunate that the Blue Coat School provides young people with a fantastic start but its capacity is limited and we’ve known that for some time.

“By approving this paper we can take a vital step forward in the development of a brand new school for Oldham from the Cranmer Trust and they are the same people that are behind the Blue Coat School.

“So with young people and a growing population providing sufficient school educational places is an ongoing challenge for us. 

“But this new school will help a lot in that regard and it will set a whole new generation of young people on a really important step in furthering their potential and I think it’s a really, really good move.”

The cost of building the academy will be funded by the Department of Education.

Deputy leader Coun Abdul Jabbar added: “I welcome this development. We’re extremely privileged to have a new secondary school developed in Coldhurst.

“This school will give parents living in the town centre of Oldham greater opportunities to have a local secondary school.

“And we know Blue Coat School has been a brilliant school for a number of decades so I think it’s a fantastic move for Oldham and I think will help to enhance our attainment level at GCSE.”

The proposed 1,200-pupil academy will be handed over to the trust to run from March 2023.

However, it will open with a year 7 intake in September 2022 teaching in temporary accommodation at the Blue Coat School.

The new school would employ a ‘minimum’ of 72 full time teaching staff and 37 support staff.

It is named after the Oldham-born artist and architect Brian Clarke, who works predominantly in stained glass.

The trust wants the building to include an ‘original and unique stained-glass window’ which would be designed and produced by its patron Mr Clarke.

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