A new secondary school for Gloucester 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 secondary school in Gloucester to meet the growing demand for places.

Our proposal is for a 6-form entry (900 pupil) 11-16 comprehensive school to open in 2023 to the south of the city in the area of Brookthorpe with Whaddon. The school would help to meet rising demand for places from children already in Gloucester primary schools as well as the demand created by significant strategic housing developments in the area.

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 our information events at the following venue: Brookthorpe Village Hall, 17 September 2019, Stroud Road, GL4 0UR, 5-7pm

The bid would be submitted as part of Wave 14 of the Department for Education’s free school programme, the deadline for which is expected to be 30th September 2019. Trustees of Cotswold Beacon Academy Trust 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 school will be part of CBAT, a 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, Berkeley Primary School in Berkeley and Cam Woodfield Junior School in Cam, Dursley.

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 a new school in Gloucester.

CBAT schools benefit from working in partnership 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 5 Gloucestershire secondary schools and 12 primary schools, and the Universities of Bristol and Bath Spa, 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 Primary School and Marling School are recognised as ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ respectively and Cam Woodfield Junior School is rapidly improving having been sponsored by CBAT after receiving an ‘Inadequate’ judgement by Ofsted in January 2017. 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. Educational Consultant. 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 £5.4M) and Business Manager at Marling School.
  • Mr Nigel Riglar - Director of Place Based Services at South Gloucestershire 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 Glen Balmer - Associate Headteacher of Marling School. Previously Acting Principal of Newent School, an 11-18 co-educational comprehensive school, having been Deputy Principal there on their journey from ‘Inadequate 2013’ to ‘Good 2014’.

Demand for places in Gloucester

Data from Gloucestershire County Council, indicates that in 2023 there will be a requirement for Gloucester to have an additional 3 forms of entry for children already in primary schools and then a further 2 forms of entry from housing developments. The demand from housing is then predicted to rise rapidly, exceeding an additional 7 forms of entry by 2028.

A name for the new school

We currently refer to the school as Beacon Secondary Academy. However, we would wish to involve the community in helping us settle on a name for the school, particularly once the location of the schools is determined, and would welcome your feedback.

Location and building

The exact location of the school is yet to be determined. If the application is successful LocatED, an arms-length body to the Department for Education will work closely with the Local Authority to identify and provision a suitable site. We will keep you posted on any progress but our preference would be to locate the school on the south side of the City in the Brookthorpe with Whaddon area.

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

We intend to bring the best features of an outstanding grammar school education to this 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.

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.

Your views

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

 TAKE THE SURVEY HERE (please note that the consultation will close on 23rd September 2019)

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.