City’s growth prompts plans for 1,800-place secondary school

The third new secondary school in as many years is to be built in Manchester to help the city keep pace with its rapidly expanding population.

In a report to the council’s executive committee, John Edwards, director of education and skills, said Manchester is the “fastest growing city in the UK”, with population “well over 500,000 people” and growth “expected to continue”.

New school places are badly needed to keep up with employment opportunities and the rise in the provision of new homes. There are an estimated 45,000 residential units with planning consent waiting to be built in Manchester.

The annual school census for January 2016 showed 71,000 pupils attending Manchester’s schools compared to 68,000 in January 2015.

The number of secondary age pupils is set to rise by more than 1,000 by September 2018.

Primary schools were expanded by 135 places in summer 2016 to provide additional capacity and larger primary cohorts are feeding through to secondary schools.

The council has already commissioned two new secondary schools. Dean Trust Ardwick opened in September 2015 and has 1,200 places. Manchester Enterprise Academy Central is due to open in September 2017 on Lytham Road, Rusholme, with 1,050 places.

This latest school, to be built in the centre or east of the borough, will be the largest of the three with 1,800 places.

An award of £74m was made in February by the Department for Education for the next wave of projects to deliver the required number of school places to support the city’s growth ambitions.

It is presumed the school will operate as a free school, under current DfE rules, and an operator is yet to be appointed.

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