Sixth-form building plan for old fire station site

December 23 2020
Sixth-form building plan for old fire station site

A PERMANENT sixth form for schools in East Bristol has moved a step closer.

Bristol City Council has committed £4.5 million towards a Post 16 building for Cabot Learning Federation, which runs several secondary schools in east Bristol, on the site of the former Speedwell Fire Station.

But until Government approval is received and the new sixth form built alongside Bristol Brunel Academy in Speedwell Road, some post-16 students will have to travel to other CLF sites for their lessons from next September.

This could include sixth-formers being accommodated at King’s Oak Academy in Kingswood, Hanham Woods Academy and Digitech in Warmley.

The move is the result of a deal reached by the council and CLF to provide 138 extra spaces for Year 7 students next year, to meet the needs of a population bulge in the area.

The federation said in a statement: “CLF Post 16 students currently learn at both Bristol Brunel and John Cabot Academies. While the permanent build is ongoing, in addition to those two academies, some of our CLF Post 16 provision will be relocated to other local accommodation, including other nearby CLF academies, which will allow us to maintain the high standards our post-16 students currently enjoy.”

The council had hoped a new secondary school at Temple Quarter could be agreed in time to meet some of the demand for Year 7 places but delays mean it will not open before September 2023 at the earliest.

The federation said: “All of the CLF schools in the area have grown gradually over recent years to continue to meet the demand for places from the local community.

The additional space for Year 7 students from September 2021 will be available at Bristol Brunel, John Cabot, and City Academies, with Bristol Metropolitan Academy maintaining current admission numbers."

Council cabinet member for education Anna Keen said the new post-16 centre "is a much-needed improvement, having been consulted on with all parties, including pupils, in the area".

Jenny Grinsted from BS5 Secondary Forum, which is campaigning for the Temple Quarter school, said: “In reality, this was the only possible solution to the immediate problem of 2021 secondary school places.

While it’s a reasonable solution, it will still result in very large intakes in some East Bristol schools, and we remain concerned about how quality of education for the children there will be affected."

The deal means that funding which would have been spent providing temporary accommodation for Year 7s at the Bristol secondary sites will go towards the proposed permanent sixth-form.

Speedwell Fire Station (above) closed in 2015 and was demolished last year. The city council owns the site but will transfer it to CLF on a 125-year lease if the deal goes ahead.