A new primary and secondary school for Cheltenham proposed by Cotswold Beacon Academy Trust

Consulting the community

The Trustees of Cotswold Beacon Academy Trust have decided to apply to set up a new primary and a new secondary school in Cheltenham to meet the growing and urgent demand for places.

Our proposal is to meet the need for places by opening a 2-form entry primary school (with nursery) and a 900 pupil secondary school plus sixth form. The two schools will be on the same site, benefiting from centralised facilities while retaining their own distinct ethos. Both schools will be fully comprehensive in nature, fulfilling a need for additional places and offering parents more choice for their children’s education.

 The views of the local community are important to us and you can participate in our consultation in the following ways:

  1. Read this website page and send us your questions or feedback using the survey below.
  2. Pledge your support for these new schools.
  3. Come to one of our information events. These are being held at the following venues:
    • Monday 6th November at The Drawing Room in Cheltenham Town Hall from 5pm to 7pm
    • Wednesday 15th November at The Main Hall in Cheltenham Bournside School and Sixth Form Centre*

      Warden Hill Road, Cheltenham, GL51 3EF from 5pm to 7pm

*Please note that Bournside School is being used as a venue for the consultation but the school is not part of the bid team

The application process for the new schools has not yet started but Trustees are keen to share their vision and to gather feedback before submitting their bid. Your views are highly valued and you do not have to be a parent of school aged children to contribute. Thank you for taking the time to read this information and for any feedback, questions or support you are able to offer.

Stuart Wilson Chief Executive Officer (CBAT) and Headteacher of Marling School

Nigel Riglar Chair of the Trust Board (CBAT)

Cotswold Beacon Academy Trust (CBAT)

The new schools will be part of CBAT, a recently formed partnership of local schools, ambitious to take a greater role in the education of young people in Gloucestershire and surrounding areas. The trust was established in September 2016 and is currently responsible for Marling School in Stroud and Berkeley Primary School in Berkeley.

Cotswold Beacon Academy Trust is ambitious for our students and staff. Together we raise aspirations, inspire excellence and provide the challenge and support to enable our schools to thrive. The trust is a multi-academy trust and has been approved by the Department for Education to sponsor new and existing schools. Our growth strategy is centred on the local area and we are excited by the opportunity to develop new schools in Cheltenham.

CBAT schools benefit from partnership working with many other schools across Gloucestershire through primary and secondary headteacher associations, local school clusters and through the Cotswolds Edge Teaching Alliance (CETA). CETA is a partnership of 5 secondary and 11 primary schools focused on school improvement and recruiting and training the best teachers and leaders. 

The Project Team

Leaders in CBAT have a strong record of school improvement and delivering excellence; Berkeley School and Marling School are recognised as ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ respectively. The pre-opening team for the new school will include the previous Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher team that led the improvement to outstanding of Cleeve School in Cheltenham in 2007.

The project team will include:

  • Dr Stuart Wilson - CEO of CBAT and Headteacher of Marling School. Previously Associate Headteacher of Cleeve School, Cheltenham – an 11-18 mixed comprehensive school.
  • Mr Allen McConaghie - Member of CBAT. Previously Headteacher of Cleeve School, Cheltenham (2000-2009) leading the school to an Outstanding judgement in 2007.
  • Mrs Emma Gray - Finance Director of Cotswold Beacon Academy Trust (budget of over £4.8M) and Business Manager at Marling School.
  • Mr Nigel Riglar - Commissioning Director: Communities & Infrastructure at Gloucestershire County Council. Chair of Trustees of Cotswold Beacon Academy Trust. Chair of Governors of Marling School and previous governor of St Joseph’s Primary School in Nympsfield.
  • Mr Richard Lucas – Headteacher of Uplands Primary School in Stroud. Richard is a founding partner of CETA, a school improvement partner for a number of schools and works as a Lead Inspector for Ofsted.

Demand for places in Cheltenham

Data from Gloucestershire County Council, taking into account current pupils in the system and those from new housing, indicates a requirement for the equivalent of 2 forms of primary entry and 6 forms of secondary entry by the early 2020s. The Local Authority are working closely with the Department for Education and potential school sponsors to ensure this demand is met.

A name for the new school

We currently refer to the schools as Beacon Primary Academy and Beacon Secondary Academy. However, we are open to other suggestions, particularly once the location of the schools is determined, and would welcome your feedback.

Location and building

The location of the schools is yet to be determined. If the application goes through the Department for Education, the Education and Skills Funding Agency, which is the arm of government responsible for new school buildings will discuss possible locations and site with the Local Authority. We will keep you posted on any progress but our preference would be to locate the school on the south side of the town.

Your child’s education - what will the schools be like?

Primary Education:

Our primary school will provide a safe and nurturing environment where every child is able to experience a sense of awe and wonder as they become progressively immersed in the world in which they live. Children in the early years setting will be encouraged to take risks, trying new experiences that enable them to develop their own understanding of the world. Through careful planning and high quality teaching, their personal and emotional well-being will be developed so that they are able to interact, build friendships and be tolerant and interested in others. We believe that from a very young age children should be given opportunities to explore and investigate, and then communicate their discoveries to others; from this strong base of growth each child will be able to make the transition into Key Stage 1 with confidence and excitement.

The primary curriculum will develop key skills, lay the foundations for good learning attitudes and help children develop a sense of curiosity about the world in which they live. Teaching and learning will ensure that all pupils can access the full national curriculum and where pupils have barriers to their learning, personalised strategies and support will be provided to build confidence and enable them to succeed. There will be a focus on the essential skills of maths and literacy, taught as both specific subjects, and then applied within the wider curriculum making them increasingly relevant and practical and allowing leaners to develop confidence. Problem solving and creativity will be at the core of the schools’ work and creative arts will be integral to the wider curriculum and celebrated at every opportunity. A commitment to physical education will help develop team work, personal talents and promote healthy living. At the primary academy, a combination of high expectations and a clear understanding of each child’s needs will ensure that our young people are energised by their learning, prepared for their next phase and confident to embrace their futures.

Secondary Education:

We intend to bring the best features of an outstanding grammar school education to this all-inclusive, fully comprehensive school. Our culture will be about achieving your best, celebrating your own and others’ achievements and being proud of what you do well; our pupils will have high expectations of themselves, their friends and their school.  Each individual will be valued, with a strong emphasis on participation, team work and leadership development. Innovation, academic rigour and creativity will sit side by side, to inspire pupils, fuel their learning interest and encourage them to be fearless in their ambition. This culture, and the way they are treated as learners will enable pupils to flourish as outward looking, questioning and confident young people with the skills and knowledge to create a rewarding and successful future.

The secondary curriculum will cover all areas of the national curriculum with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) being a key focus. Linking these subjects through STEAM recognises the intrinsic link between STEM subjects and creative subjects that promotes innovation and design success. Science, Technology and Engineering reflect the growing needs of industry both locally and nationally with mathematics fundamental for these subjects and critical for future academic success. The creative industries together form one of our nation’s largest and most successful sectors and a strong creative arts education is important for individual development, success in the creative industries and to support careers in technology and engineering. The STEAM subjects will be taught as discreet subjects but also form part of an industry supported, project-based STEAM curriculum enabling students to work with industry professionals. This taught curriculum will be enriched with engineering, creative and design opportunities through extra-curricular projects and work experience, supported by a steering group of STEAM partners.

The STEAM subjects will sit within an overall curriculum that is broad and balanced, and which promotes ambition, leadership and the determination to do one’s personal best in a supportive, inclusive school.  The curriculum will promote the EBacc and focus mainly on GCSE qualifications; it will be an inclusive curriculum with suitable pathways for all students and with personalised strategies and support removing any barriers to success. No curriculum can be successful without a commitment to English teaching and ours will be underpinned throughout by strong teaching of English language and literature and a school-wide focus on literacy. Students will become confident speakers and fluid writers. They will be encouraged and supported to read widely and use language effectively helping them develop the advanced skills to debate, or where necessary to make up ground.

Sport and music will feature strongly. Individual talent will be encouraged and the benefits of participating in a group or team with others will be an important part of a rewarding and successful school experience.

Applying for a place

Primary Admissions: Once the location of the school is determined the trust will work with the local authority to determine the most appropriate catchment area and admission policy. Oversubscription priority will be given to Children in Public care first and then to those pupils living nearest the school.

Secondary Admissions: Recognising the complexity of Cheltenham secondary admissions, the secondary school will have a catchment area that covers the whole of Cheltenham Borough. Oversubscription priority will be given to Children in Public care first and then to those pupils living nearest the school.

We would welcome your views on the proposed new Free School for Cheltenham. Please complete this brief survey*.

TAKE THE SURVEY HERE (please note that the consultation will close on 30th November 2017)

If you prefer not to complete the survey, please simply pledge your support for CBAT's proposals by clicking here.

Click here to show your support


*Explanation of the survey questions

We hope that the questions on the consultation are straight forward. However the question that refers to the Secretary of State for Education may seem a bit unusual. This question has to be asked in any consultation about the opening of a new school. The new school has to be approved by the Secretary of State for Education and if approved, CBAT would have to sign funding agreement with the Secretary of State.