8 April 2016

Two possible sites named for city’s proposed new secondary school

Two sites in Brighton & Hove have emerged as potential locations for a site for the proposed new secondary free school in the city.

They are the Brighton General Hospital site at the top of Elm Grove, and a section of City College’s estate on the east side of Pelham Road in the city centre.

The University of Brighton gained government approval earlier this year to develop a secondary free school. The university is working towards an opening date in September 2018, admitting 180 pupils a year.

Brighton & Hove City Council is working with the university and the national Education Funding Agency to identify an appropriate site for the new school. Any decision to pursue a particular site would be subject both to planning permission and the agreement of the EFA.

Negotiations are ongoing with the respective site owners – the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust and City College.

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust is considering the school interest in the context of a planning brief which will be developed to highlight future possible uses for The Brighton General Hospital site including continued healthcare.

City College has plans to create a new Institute of Arts & Technology at their Pelham Road site. If sufficient funding can be found for the project, it would enable some of the site to be used to create the proposed free school. City College is working with the Local Authority to explore all the options for the site.

A decision on a preferred site needs to have been made by the time the council starts a formal consultation on possible new secondary school admissions arrangements for the city in the autumn.

The deputy chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s children, young people and skills committee, Councillor Daniel Chapman, said:

“The number of secondary school pupils in the city is set to increase in the coming years, and the proposed new free school is a key part of our strategy for accommodating them all.

“We will need to change our secondary school admission arrangements for the city in 2018 because of the rise in pupil numbers and the proposed new school in the city.

“We are currently undertaking an engagement exercise regarding secondary school catchment areas to get residents’ views on what sort of admissions arrangements they want in future. We fully understand that residents want to know where the new school will be, and so do we.

“The process of acquiring an appropriate site is complex. There is no ideal site in the city that is currently empty and available.

“However, I can assure residents that we are working tirelessly behind the scenes to help the University of Brighton find a site for their free school.”