New free school will ‘chal­lenge sta­tus quo’

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS -

BOSSES at a huge new free school have pledged to chal­lenge the ‘sta­tus quo’ and give state pupils a ‘level play­ing field’ com­pared to those in pri­vate ed­u­ca­tion.

The Lau­rus Rye­croft academy will be built on the site of the for­mer Lit­tle­moss High School in Droyls­den, but will have al­most triple the num­ber of pupils, with 1,350 places up for grabs.

Plans were ap­proved by town hall chiefs this week.

It will be run by the Lau­rus Trust academy chain, which runs Chea­dle Hulme High School and Chea­dle Hulme Sixth Form in Stock­port and Gorsey Bank Pri­mary in Wilm­slow.

The new build­ing will cover more than 10,000 sq m. The school will boast a in­clude a ‘multi-use games area’, three grass pitches and two run­ning tracks. The build­ing will be on green belt land and will be taller than the for­mer boys school. But plan­ners ar­gued there were ‘very spe­cial cir­cum­stances’ when the pro­pos­als went be­fore coun­cil chiefs, cit­ing the se­vere short­age of school places in Tame­side. Some res­i­dents ob­jected to the plans.

An­gela Eger­ton told coun­cil­lors: “It would [have] a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on our home life. The sheer size of the school at 1,350 stu­dents is a ma­jor over-de­vel­op­ment of the site. I just feel like all the green space in the area has been taken away from us. It’s just fur­ther frus­tra­tion and stress and anx­i­ety to the res­i­dents liv­ing here.”

Derek Withers said res­i­dents said there are al­ready traf­fic prob­lems on Lumb Lane and Cryer Street fol­low­ing the erec­tion of tem­po­rary class­rooms.

“It’s chaos, I have seen driv­ers do u-turns in the street,” he said.

But Tim Bow­man, as­sis­tant direc­tor for ed­u­ca­tion at Tame­side coun­cil, said that if the school was not ap­proved, it would leave a short­age of around 160 places by 2020 - which would cost the coun­cil £2.6m. “The trust has an ex­cel­lent track record and we are very happy that it’s join­ing the Tame­side fam­ily,” he added.

Linda Ma­grath, CEO of the Lau­rus Trust, said: “We at Lau­rus make no apol­ogy for be­ing unashamedly aca­demic.

“We will change the sta­tus quo in Tame­side. For state school pupils there hasn’t been a level play­ing field – un­til now.”

An artist’s im­pres­sion of how the new school would look

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