The government has given permission for a huge new high school in Oldham town centre.
The Cranmer Education Trust has been successful in its application to open a new eight-form entry secondary to meet a shortage of school places in the borough.
Currently the trust runs Blue Coat school, Mayfield Primary and East Crompton St George’s Primary schools, and trains new secondary and primary teachers.
The new free school will cater for 240 pupils per year and up to 1,200 in total when it is fully open.
They will now work on finalising the chosen site and preparing to open in 2022.
Julie Hollis, CEO of The Cramner Education Trust thanked supporters who had backed the school proposal, adding it had been a ‘long hard slog’ to reach this point.
“This is something we have wanted to do for a long time and is great news for Oldham and for the trust,” she said.
“We could not have achieved this without you.
“Our focus now is ensuring that all Oldham children and young people have the opportunity of another great secondary school in the town centre.”
Blue Coat school is the second most oversubscribed secondary in Greater Manchester.
However the admission policy for the new school will differ from Blue Coat, as although it will be a Church of England school, half the places will not be faith-based and will be allocated in three geographical zones around the school.
For faith-based admissions, all Christian denominations will be treated equally.
A quarter of the places will be for children of other faiths.
Oldham council leader, Sean Fielding, said they were ‘delighted’ to be working with the trust to open a new facility in the town centre.
“We’ve been impressed by their plans and their commitment to creating more places for our young people and the borough,” he said.
“Not only will they be building a state-of-the-art school, but they will also be helping us to meet the demand for school places.
“Year on year the trust delivers excellent education outcomes here in Oldham, and this fits with our vision to raise attainment levels and standards across the borough.”
Secretary of state for education, Damian Hinds MP has revealed that 22 applications to create new free schools in the country have been successful, which will create an extra 19,000 school places.
The latest schools are in parts of the country most in need.
It means 18 new schools are set to open in local authorities identified by the Department for Education as having the lowest educational performance and insufficient capacity to improve, and areas that have not yet benefited from the free schools programme.
This includes five schools in the North West, creating 4,500 places