Aston Academy set for a £4.5 million investment

By Gareth Dennison | 21/12/2018

Aston Academy set for a £4.5 million investment
Aston Academy

A POPULAR school is set for a £4.5 million investment to build classrooms for an extra 150 pupils.

Some of the additions at Aston Academy will replace temporary rooms built on greenbelt land ten years ago.

They were installed when the school was expected to be rebuilt under Building Schools for the Future, a scheme later cancelled by the Government.

The Swallownest secondary — rated good by Ofsted — is currently 50 pupils over its official admission number of 1,650, Rotherham Borough Council’s cabinet meeting heard on Monday (17).

Dean Fenton, RMBC’s head of school planning, admissions and appeals, said: “The school has experienced a significant increase in pupil numbers in recent years and remains successful and popular.

“The school is currently oversubscribed and the trend is set to continue in future years. 

“This will be further impacted upon by the higher number of pupils applying for secondary education in future years following the expansion of two existing feeder schools and the opening of the new Waverley Junior Academy in September 2020.”

Cabinet members agreed to move forward with the expansion, which will be paid through money received from the Government and completed by September 2021.

Cllr Gordon Watson, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We know that more people would like to go there. 

“Also, due to the building at Waverley, some more people will want to go there.”

Waverley will eventually comprise nearly 4,000 homes and proposals for the first school are expected to go before the planning board before the end of January.

But it was reported to cabinet this week that the trigger point for a second primary in the new town has been put back.

Developers Harworth had been set to release funds for the design and procurement process when 1,550 homes were occupied at Waverley but this has been changed to the 2,350th property.

Mr Fenton said: “The risk of building too early is that we could have a school that’s not fully occupied and then another that’s practically empty.”

Meanwhile, Willows special school at Thurcroft is set for a £200,000 expansion to accommodate ten more young people and increase its upper age limit to 19 from 16.

The money will come from the Dedicated Schools Grant given to the council. 

The authority expects to make a saving by avoiding the need to use more costly independent providers.

The Willows expansion is part of a special school revamp aiming to provide 125 more places across the borough by 2021. 

About 75 places of these places will be to replace more expensive out-of-area arrangements.

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