School merger plans to tackle funding and pupil rise

MHLC-02-07-13 Kenilworth school Jul 30' Hayden Abbott, head teacher, Kenilworth School .
MHLC-02-07-13 Kenilworth school Jul 30' Hayden Abbott, head teacher, Kenilworth School .

Kenilworth School and Sixth Form could soon be merged on one new site under an ambitious teaching vision for 2020.

Staff and senior management at the school are currently looking into ways to cater for an expected rise in pupil numbers and funding shortfalls.

And one idea is to consolidate the Leyes Lane school and Castle Sixth Form on Rouncil Lane on a new site to share funding and facilities as well as increase capacity over the next decade.

No specific locations have yet been earmarked and governors have insisted that plans are still in very early stages.

But talks have been held with Kenilworth Town Council to earmark potential sites in the local plan, and staff members are due to meet with the district council in February to discuss the possibilities.

It is expected that around 700 new houses will be earmarked for Kenilworth within the local plan which is now being set to determine future building needs.

This could eventually bring anywhere up to 1,000 new pupils through the school gates.

Shirley Whiting, chair of governors at Kenilworth School, said the 2020 vision was all about securing the future of the school.

“We need to ensure we have the capacity to offer first class education both to existing pupils and to the new families moving into the area,” she said.

“Additionally we have a vital role to play as the town’s secondary education provider in helping to attract these young families to the town, whose investment will, in turn, boost the wider economy and benefit all residents.”

The school has recently reached out to the community for help to extend its teaching facilities and address funding shortfalls due to a drop in pupil numbers and cuts to sixth form funding.

MP Jeremy Wright has been involved in discussions to try to address the issues and a group of governors is now looking at “a range of possibilities” which could also include plans for the sixth form to move onto the main site.

Andy Best, chair of the governors’ site working group said the merger was just one idea currently being considered in very early days.

“Whatever we decide to do the time frames mean it is unlikely to affect the location of our provision in the next four years,” he said.

“This is part of a long term strategic vision for the school over the next five to ten years.”

Headteacher Hayden Abbott said the aim was to provide the best and most appropriate facilities for 21st century learning, for the benefit of all potential pupils.

If a merger goes ahead, council funding may be available and it is understood school buildings will be sold off.

Why is extra funding needed?

A drop in Government funding means less money per student in Castle Sixth Form.

As the school and sixth form operate from separate sites there are fewer options for spreading funds across the two centres

Kenilworth School last year launched its 2020 Vision to bring in more funds and increase learning opportunities for all pupils and sixth form students.