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28th Jun, 2022

'Discussions' underway over new secondary school for north of Rugby

Editorial Correspondent 3rd Feb, 2022 Updated: 3rd Feb, 2022

A NEW secondary school in the north of Rugby, and the expansion of existing ones in the town, are being discussed as part of a review at Warwickshire County Council (WCC).

Borough councillors representing Newbold and Brownsover Ward wrote to WCC last month saying a new secondary school was ‘desperately’ needed for children living in Coton, Boughton, Eden Park, Rocherbie Heights, Newton and Brownsover.

It came after a cross-party agreement was reached in a Rugby Borough Council (RBC) planning meeting that a proposed 475-home development in Coton Park should retain land for a secondary school – with current proposals setting aside land for ‘either secondary school provision or residential development’.

WCC’s Strategic Director for Communities, Mark Ryder, responded by saying that options for meeting the ‘expected future need for school places in the Rugby area’ were being reviewed.

He added: “This includes discussions with the developer of Coton Park East in the north of Rugby for a new secondary school to be located on that development, as well as expansion of existing secondary schools in the town.”

Writing to Mr Ryder, Labour Councillors Jim Ellis and Ramesh Srivastava said the Coton estate had ‘a dearth of facilities’, and Brownsover’s were ‘meagre and aged’.

They said: “Many families tell us they have held onto the hope of a local secondary school within easy reach of their homes for over 20 years, and this feels like the last opportunity for provision.

“It is clear that we require a new school since we are outsourcing our children beyond Rugby and into neighbouring counties.

“We have observed conversations on doorsteps regarding the difficulty of using buses at a cost of £198 a term to distant schools.

“Recently children using the Safer Routes to School routes have struggled with traffic shooting through red lights, resulting in parents not letting their children walk along the Leicester Road – they are telling me it is not safe. It is our belief that a local school would remove this risk and ease the journey to school.

“We are also aware of the case for investment made by Conservative County Councillor Jill Simpson Vince – rare to have Labour and Tories calling for the same thing – who unfortunately found that WCC opted for schools in the more wealthy south. This is disappointing but, according to my constituents, wholly expected, exposing a perceived inequality of investment.”

He added that the Coton Park developers’ Section 106 Agreement – outlining measures developers must take to reduce impact on the community – should be amended to negotiate further safeguarding of land for a secondary school ‘fitting for local children’.

Coun Ellis has urged residents to write to Mr Ryder at markryder@warwickshire.gov.uk to state the case for a new secondary school in the north of Rugby.

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