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Competition to run Bishop's Stortford's new schools to begin in February

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Secondary school (6467672)
Secondary school (6467672)

The competition to find a sponsor to run Bishop’s Stortford's new secondary and primary schools will begin in February.

The timetable was confirmed by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), the education authority, which expects to have its choice on board by August or September.

The brief is for the schools for families at Stortford Fields and St Michael’s Hurst to be “run as a new and innovative all-through learning village”.

Public consultation to shape the specification for the governance concluded in December.

HCC needs to provide primary and secondary school places for more than 2,600 new homes at Bishop’s Stortford North. To meet the anticipated demand, the authority is establishing up to five forms of entry (fe), or 150 pupils, of new primary provision over two or three sites and a secondary site of 6fe (180 pupils).

The county council says: “In time, the number of homes to be built may increase and there are other, smaller-scale developments in the local area that will contribute further to the total number of new homes to be built."

It is negotiating to buy town council-owned former allotments at Farnham Road for one primary school while another will be sited further west near Hoggate's Wood. The secondary will straddle the A120 bypass.

Based on current information, the first primary is planned to open from September 2020, although it may be necessary to delay this until September 2021, and the secondary from 2022-23.

It is anticipated that the first primary provision will offer places in multiple year groups from opening and, initially, the secondary will offer up to 4fe (120 places) in Year 7 only. When full, the schools will offer a total of 150 primary and 180 secondary school places in each year group.

Two parties have expressed an interest in running the new schools:

  • HEMAT, the Herts and Essex Multi Academy Trust, run by Herts and Essex High School in Warwick Road and which also includes Manor Fields Primary School in Thorley Park; and
  • BSET, the Bishop’s Stortford Educational Trust, a consortium comprising five Stortford schools – Birchwood High School, Bishop’s Stortford College, The Bishop’s Stortford High School, Hockerill Anglo-European College and St Mary’s Catholic School – and Leventhorpe in Sawbridgworth.

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