As a local property market specialist, we know the impact of schools on demand for homes, and what price prospective buyers are willing to pay. Therefore, proposed changes to the local schooling set-up interest us, and might impact you.
We know Biggleswade is an area that is growing. There are more than 3,300 new homes set to be added to the area by 2035, and this means an extra 2,600 school places could be needed. A large proportion of these places are needed in the area to the east of Biggleswade, which is set to welcome 1,500 new properties.
The proposals could see two new schools being built, with funding for the secondary school partly coming from the funding received by the Central Bedfordshire Council from the government. This funding, which is referred to as the Biggleswade Housing Infrastructure Fund, must be spent by March of 2024. The second school is likely to be completed by September 2024.
People want to live close to good schools
Cllr Sue Clark, Central Bedfordshire Council Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said: “It’s rare that we get the opportunity to build a brand-new school, let alone two, so these would be fantastic additions to the community, to meet the demand for school places as Biggleswade and the surrounding area grows. Because of this we have been working collaboratively with schools in the area to help them plan for the future, with the aim of improving the educational outcomes for children and young people.”
Cllr Clark continued by saying; “Part of this is a transition to the primary/secondary model of education, from the current three-tier model. This would bring schools in the area in line with the rest of the country and provide simpler pathways for children and young people, who would change schools only once. This would ensure they are better placed to succeed as it allows secondary schools to have a five-year curriculum to lead up to GCSEs. And it would also enable schools to retain and attract the best teachers, as training is now focused on the primary/secondary model of education.”
Change might come sooner than you think
While most of the proposals aren’t set to occur until 2024 at the earliest, this isn’t a lot of time in the grand scheme of things, and some of the proposals are more immediate. The proposal surrounding the amalgamation of Potton Middle School and Middle Lower School to become a Primary school could be in effect from 2022.
Cllr Clark added: “Parents and pupils are choosing two-tier schools in neighbouring Sandy and Cambridgeshire, and we need to adapt to this to ensure we have the right educational provision within Potton. We don’t want to see the middle school close when it can combine with the lower to create a thriving primary school.”
The proposals are:
· A new primary school to be built on land east of Biggleswade
· A new secondary school to be built on land east of Biggleswade (this is a different site to the new primary on land east of Biggleswade). Edward Peake CofE VC Middle School would become a secondary school and relocate to this new school
· All existing lower schools and Biggleswade Academy to become primary schools
· Edward Peake CofE VC Middle School and Stratton Upper to become secondary schools.
· Lawnside Academy moves to the vacated Edward Peake CofE VC Middle School site
· Possible options for Wrestlingworth CofE VC Lower School and Dunton CofE VC Lower School, including amalgamation
· Potton Middle School and Potton Lower School schools to amalgamate and become a primary
· There would be one sixth form open to pupils of both secondary schools (currently Stratton Upper and Edward Peake CofE VC Middle School).
Cllr Clark said: “We now want to hear the views of the local community before we make any decisions about the future of schools in Biggleswade and the surrounding area. The consultation will run for 14 weeks until September 28, 2021.”
Therefore, if you have an opinion on the proposals, you have an opportunity to share your thoughts. Given the impact of schools on local house prices, and the demand for property, these proposals affect the entire community, not just people who have a direct link to the schools or the education process in and around Biggleswade.
As and when changes occur which impact on the local housing market, you can rest assured that we will be here to advise you as best we can.
In line with Government guidelines, our Biggleswade branch is open and our and lettings personnel staff are on hand to assist you. If you have any queries or need advice on property sales and lettings then please call 01767 317799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.