County council backs new primary school for Thirsk

North Yorkshire County Council has agreed in principle to the building of a new primary school in Thirsk to meet the demand for additional places from the Sowerby Gateway housing development.

Current demand for primary school places in the area is met by Sowerby Community Primary School and the county council is working with the school to plan for additional capacity in the shorter term by improving the quality of its buildings. But as the Sowerby Gateway development progresses it is envisaged that a new school would be needed from September 2018, subject to the speed of occupation of new housing.

As nationally all newly built schools must be academies, the county council has therefore taken the decision to secure an academy sponsor for Sowerby Gateway and to develop a capital scheme to deliver the new school.

“We consulted last summer on the options for delivering additional primary places in the area” said County Councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools, “and the greatest number of those who responded favoured a new school. For this reason we must start to plan ahead and have taken the decision to seek an academy sponsor. However, we have also spoken to both local primary and secondary schools about how the need for additional provision might be met and in the shorter term we will seek to consolidate and improve existing accommodation at Sowerby Community Primary School.

“We want all children in North Yorkshire to have access to good or outstanding schools and as numbers of children increase in areas where housing development is part of the local plan, the local authority will take all necessary steps to meet demand.”