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York could have first new Church of England primary school in 100 years

The first new Church of England primary school in York in more than 100 years could open as early as 2018 to accommodate housebuilding in the north west of the city.

Hope Sentamu Learning Trust, which currently comprises Manor CE Academy and Poppleton Ousebank Primary School, has announced that it intends to apply to create a new primary school plus nursery to serve the former British Sugar site.

To be called Alcuin Church of England Primary Academy, the new school would draw on the outstanding provision already in the trust, and would be a feeder school for Manor. Both Poppleton and Manor are rated outstanding by Ofsted.

“There are plans for over 1,100 new houses on the British Sugar site, in addition to the 270 on the Millfield Lane former civil sports site, so we know there will be a demand for school places,” said Brian Crosby, Executive Principal (Secondary) at Hope Sentamu Learning Trust.

“We have heard that good progress has been made on the planning application. When the housebuilding does begin, new houses will pop up in no time. We want to be ready, which is why we’re submitting an application now to set up and run a new primary school.”

The location of the proposed new school is being discussed. “The developer has already earmarked where a new school might be on the British Sugar site,” said Mr Crosby. “Another option is for classrooms to be erected on the Manor CE Academy site close by and for the school to be situated there, at least for the first year of operation.”

Alcuin Church of England Primary Academy will have a Church of England ethos, in common with Manor, and a curriculum similar to Poppleton Ousebank, which is a community school. Two other local primary schools, both rated good by Ofsted, are set to join the trust in September.

“We want children in the new developments to have access to excellent schools,” said Mr Crosby. “Church schools enjoy an enviable reputation as being among the highest achieving in the country.”

Alcuin will be non-selective, welcoming pupils of all faiths and cultural, ethnic and social backgrounds. There will also be a quality special educational needs provision and a performing arts focus, supported by staff from Manor.

St Alcuin, born around 735 and died 804, was an English scholar, widely considered to be ‘the most learned man anywhere’ and closely associated with York and York Minster. He was a teacher and became head of a York school renowned as a centre of learning in the liberal arts, literature, science and in religious matters. Alcuin was canonised after his death.

Because of changes in legislation, every new school in England has to be either a free school or an academy. As Hope Sentamu Learning Trust is a multi-academy trust, currently running two academies, the new school will be classed as an academy and it will be operated outside of local authority control.

Prospective parents and local residents are invited to find out more about the proposed application at two consultation meetings, on June 21 at 7pm at Manor CE Academy and on June 28 at 5pm at The Church of the Holy Redeemer.

A website, www.alcuinceprimary.org, has been set up where parents can find out more and register their interest in taking a place at the new school. There is also an opportunity on the website to comment on the proposals.

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