The £5.3m, 315 place, ‘Sharphill’ primary school development in West Bridgford has been awarded to Spencer Academies Trust, operator of the neighbouring outstanding Rushcliffe School.
Due to the increasing level of demand for school places in West Bridgford, the new primary will be constructed for rapid completion, with a targeted opening in September 2020, and will be designed with room for further expansion to meet projected demand.
The new school has been planned in accordance with the Nottinghamshire County Council priority to ensure that children across Nottinghamshire are able to attend good and outstanding primary schools.
Councillor Kay Cutts MBE, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: ‘This new school near Edwalton is further evidence of our strategy to make Nottinghamshire a great place to bring up a family and where people are proud to call home. A good, solid education gives children and young people options in later life and this is something we want every child to experience.’
Councillor Philip Owen, chairman of the Children and Young People’s committee at Nottinghamshire County Council added: ‘I am confident that The Spencer Academies Trust will ensure that this school provides the best possible primary education and give pupils the very best opportunities to set them on a successful future path.”
The award of the schools presumption was won by Spencer on the basis of the Trust’s outstanding reputation for quality primary provision underpinned by outstanding performance outcomes. In 2019 Spencer has been recognised as the second-ranked Trust in the country for attainment at primary level for educational performance, making a difference to the opportunities and attainment of thousands of local children.
In the important SATs year – SATs being a measure of the foundations children in core skills including reading, writing and maths – individual Spencer primaries have recorded remarkable improvement in year-on-year results of up to 30% difference. SATs results are seen as significant because these core skills do much to determine a child’s confidence and preparation for success.
Spencer Academies Trust staff will now consult on designs for the new school and will work to agreeing the curriculum for use in school. All Spencer schools are free to choose a curriculum which reflects local values and priorities. At Rushcliffe, the focus is on creating global citizens, with a child-centred approach within a culture of pupil leadership and the highest of expectations.
In keeping with Trust practice across a number of new and free schools delivered in the East Midlands, a Principal will be appointed up to twelve months in advance of opening and will be charged with overseeing delivery of the school.
To assist in this task, and to support the integration of the new primary within the network of existing good and outstanding schools in West Bridgford, a community group will be convened, and will be asked to share their views on all aspects of the school’s development.
The community group will be open to anyone interested in taking part, and it is hoped that prospective parents will be particularly keen to help to develop string community links. Parents or community advocates interested in hearing more about the group should contact Spencer Head of Governance Kate Godfrey care of Rushcliffe School.
Spencer Chief Executive Paul West said: ‘We are delighted to be chosen as the right Trust to deliver what will be a pioneering new primary, co-designed in partnership with the local community. Considering the track record of other SAT schools in the West Bridgford area including the outstanding Rushcliffe School, we expect the new Spencer school to be an exceptional environment for children to learn and grow from the very first day.’
Trust Chair of Directors Donna Kinderman has worked with local primary schools for nearly twenty-five years. Donna Kinderman said: ‘In all of that time, I can’t remember a primary with the same potential to be outstanding from the first day. Over the last year we have been proud to see our primary team under Primary Director Angela O’Brien recognised nationally for the remarkable difference that our existing schools are making to the lives of local children. This award shows how we can continue to develop our primary model, giving local children the grounding to be happy and successful for the rest of their time in education and beyond.’
Executive Principal of Rushcliffe School Steve Lewis has recently announced that he is to return to his roots in the north-east after eighteen happy years in school. Steve Lewis said: ‘I’m so proud of everything we have achieved at Rushcliffe, including taking the school to outstanding, becoming the first in the region to earn World Class Status and now leaving local education in such great shape.
‘The relationship between Rushcliffe and the neighbouring primary is a new model for West Bridgford, which will stand up to the very best education available anywhere. I’m delighted by the opportunity that this will create for young people and parents in the area.’