A New School in Runnymede – FAQs
The following paper outlines some of the key issues relating to the proposed formation of a new school on the site of the Runnymede Centre.
Why is there a proposal for a new school in Runnymede?
Projected figures for secondary age school children in the borough suggest that by 2017 there will a shortfall of approximately 100 places rising to nearly 200 by 2019.These children are already in the system and there is insufficient capacity in the existing secondary schools.
Who has instigated the proposal?
The Local Authority (LA) has responsibility for commissioning school places and has therefore been investigating possible solutions. Following a process of consultation with local Headteachers, a review of current school sites and discussions with Surrey Estates and Planning departments, Surrey have deemed that a new school would be the best way forward.
What type of school will it be?
If the LA wish to commission a new school to meet basic need they are required to run a competition for current Academy providers. They may choose not to run a competition if they know of a potential Free School application being made by an independent group. Once established Free Schools become Academies, the only real difference is in the route to set-up. An Academy commissioned by the Local Authority would be set up using LA funds; a Free School would be paid for by the Department for Education (DfE). Set up costs for the school are likely to be in the region of £25M and therefore the Free School option is favoured by the LA.
What is the time frame?
The new school would need to be ready to admit students who would start in September 2017. The Free School bid would need to be with the DfE by September this year for initial approval in March 2015.
Who is responsible for setting up and running the new school?
Salesian School and the Bourne Education Trust will bid to open and run the new school in collaboration.
Who is the Bourne Education Trust (BET)?
BET is a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) set up with the initial intention of protecting Jubilee High School at the end of James Kibble’s tenure as Executive Headteacher in September 2013. The sponsor academy is Epsom & Ewell High School whose Headteacher, Alex Russell is the Chief Executive of the Trust. The Trust also incorporates three primary schools and The Matthew Arnold School is due to join in September this year. James Kibble and Alex Russell have worked in collaboration on a number of school-to-school support projects, this working relationship and that between Salesian School and BET has been formalised through a strategic partnership agreement.
Why is the Bourne Education Trust involved?
Apart from the fact that Salesian and BET already collaborate as detailed above, once opened the Free School will become an Academy and must be part of a Multi Academy Trust.
What will the new school be called?
The proposed full name for the new school is Chertsey High School.
Will it be a faith-based school?
Chertsey High School will have a Christian ethos and the Governing Body will include representatives of local Christian churches. Prayer, worship and Religious Education will form a central part of the life of the school and senior members of the Leadership Team will be practising Christians.
What will the governance arrangements be for the new school?
The Bourne Education Trust will be the trustees of Chertsey High School and the school will have its own local Governing Body.
What will the admission arrangements be?
Whilst the school will be faith-based, the aim is to serve the needs of the local population and this will be reflected in the admissions arrangements. There are currently no plans to give preference to practising Christians should the school be over-subscribed.
What will the structure of the new school be?
Chertsey High School will be an 11-16 school with a Pupil Admission Number (PAN) of 180. The school is likely to open with just four forms of entry (120 students) at Year 7 in 2017 and build on this to full capacity (900 students) by September 2021. Chertsey High School will feed into Salesian Sixth Form College.
How will the school be staffed?
Chertsey High School will operate under the Executive Headship of the BET and will be staffed with a leadership team and teachers from schools within the BET. In the first two to three years all lessons will be taught by subject specialists from local partner schools as part of their allocated timetable.
What happens if the bid is not successful?
The LA will run a competition to provide a new Academy. The LA have already met with all the local MATs and stated that if this is the case then the Salesian-Bourne collaboration would be the preferred choice. This was accepted by all as sensible.
How will the school impact on existing local secondary schools?
One of the main driving factors behind Salesian and BET’s involvement in this project was the intention to protect the interests of existing local schools particularly Jubilee High School (already a member of BET) but also Magna Carta, Heathside, BDB and Fullbrook. By 2017 there will be enough students to fill all schools but it is our intention to work collaboratively with existing providers to ensure current arrangements, particularly with feeder primary schools, are not adversely affected.