Pirate FM News

Plans revealed for new secondary school in Cornwall

school corridor

Published by Emma Carton at 6:55am 29th April 2019.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse

Cornwall Council has started looking for a site for a new secondary school on the north coast to help ease pressure for places in and around Newquay and Truro.

The plans are in the very early stages but education bosses revealed they are looking to build a new school when they addressed a meeting of the St Agnes and Perranporth Community Network Area Panel last week.

Council education staff had been invited to the meeting amid growing concern at the lack of primary and secondary school places for children living in the area.

And they said that there are real concerns that Perranporth in particular could soon run out of places.

To address that the council has undertaken feasibility studies with primary schools in Perranporth, Mithin and Goonhavern to see if they can expand and take more children.

Similar studies are also being carried out at secondary schools – Richard Lander and Penair in Truro and Tretherras and Treviglas in Newquay.

This is with a view to expand the capacity of the secondary schools to cope with need in the next few years and then with an overall goal of building a new secondary school to tackle future need.

Sharon Hindley, head of education access and sufficiency, told the meeting that they were in discussions with colleagues in the economic growth and development department to identify a possible site for the new secondary school.

She explained to the meeting that there had been a 6% increase in the birth rate in Cornwall over the past decade and that there had been an increase in the number of children needing school places of around 1,000 each year - both through those being born and moving into the county.

Sharon said that while the council has forecasts for the number of children who will need school places in coming years this was difficult when having to factor in children moving into Cornwall.

Education staff are working closer than ever before with planning staff to draw up forecasts using data for the number of homes being built as well as information from health partners.

When planning for school places for housing developments they revealed that there are different guidelines for different types of homes.

For affordable homes there is an expectation that each home could have 0.43 primary age children and 0.28 secondary school children. In contrast open market homes have 0.17 primary and 0.04 secondary.

Forecasts show that in 2022/23 there will be an additional 192 primary school aged children in the St Agnes and Perranporth area, and there will be an extra 188 secondary pupils.

And the figures indicate that there will be no shortfall of primary places in schools in the area up to 22/23.

The two secondary schools in Newquay are designated for children in the St Agnes and Perranporth area and these are showing a shortfall of 189 places in 2022, which highlights the need for extra capacity.

"The headteachers have been approached at primary schools in Perranporth, Mithian and Goonhavern and they are waiting for the feasibility reports to come back.

"We have focused on those schools as that is where the pressure is. We will look at the footprint of those schools and whether there is any capacity to expand.

"It is Perranporth where we know that children are not going to be able to go to their local school".

Sharon Hindley

On the issue of the planned new secondary school, Sharon said that the location would be key to ensure that it provides the most benefit while also being accessible and having good transport links for the children who will attend.

"By having a new school that will free up places in the Truro schools. But this is only an idea at this stage, we are nowhere near the planning stage".

Children from the St Agnes and Perranporth area who do not get allocated places at the Newquay secondary schools are currently offered places at Penair in Truro.

There is also a need to free up secondary places in Truro with plans for major housing development in and around the city over the coming years which will also need secondary school places.

However Sharon explained to the meeting that Cornwall has been allocated £10million from the Department for Education for 2020/21 for primary place allocation and £16m for secondary places which limits what the council can do.

The meeting heard that temporary buildings could be used at existing schools to provide extra capacity.

Parents at the meeting said that they were concerned about where their children who are currently at primary school will be going to secondary school.

While they welcomed plans for a new secondary school they said that their children would probably not benefit from that and that their concerns were more about the short term situation.

James Davidson, headteacher at Penair, said that he welcomed the feasibility study and was happy to work with the council to help provide extra places.

He explained that the school currently had a surplus of around 120 places but said that potentially there could be up to 240 places available.

"I am sure that is the case for many of the other schools as well.

"The school previously, when it was a school of choice in that particular area, had 1,250 children and today we have 980 on roll.

"We are a 55 acre site, we are a big site and we have 980 children so there is the capacity to expand.

"From our point of view as an academy we would always want to work with the local authority to help if we can".

James Davidson

Contact Us

If you would like to submit a query or provide more information on this story please get in touch below.

Please wait...
  • Up to 3 JPG or PNG images, 2MB max size
  • We will always endeavour to credit you when we publish your pictures.
  • By uploading you are agreeing to this non-exclusive reuse, royalty-free, across all Pirate FM platforms, which extends to our partner broadcasters.
  • You retain copyright to all images.
  • If you would like to send us a video, please upload to YouTube or similar and paste the video URL into the message above.
Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Pirate FM

Pirate Extra Pirate 70s Escape LoveCornwall