New secondary school proposed for Brighton & Hove
A proposal for the University of Brighton to sponsor a new secondary school in Brighton & Hove will be discussed by councillors on Thursday 19 March.
The plan has been developed through the council’s cross-party school organisation working group working alongside all of the city’s secondary headteachers and representatives of the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex supported by members of the council’s children’s services team.
Demand for secondary age school places is expected to increase significantly over the next few years. The city’s school organisation plan had identified the need for an addition 300 places per year group by 2019.
The council’s powerful policy and resources committee is being recommended to confirm their support in-principle for the proposal so that detailed plans can then be developed by the university working in conjunction with the council.
Funding for the proposed free school would come mainly from the Department for Education, combined with funding already allocated to the council’s school buildings programme.
The detailed planning process would include acquiring a suitable site for the school. A potential opportunity to secure a site in the city has arisen, and this is being actively pursued with the owner of the site. However, its location has to remain confidential while the owner reviews its property strategy.
The planning process would also need to consider how many forms of entry the proposed school would have. The next opportunity for organisations to submit expressions of interest in sponsoring an academy or free school to the Department for Education is in May. It is hoped that the proposed new school could open in September 2018.
The council's Executive Director of Children’s Services, Pinaki Ghoshal, said: “It’s very early days, but this is a very exciting proposal that has the potential to be of enormous benefit to the city.
“There is a real need to create new secondary places in the coming years. The University of Brighton has a proven track record as a sponsor of new schools and we are keen to explore the benefits this partnership might have for the city.”