New Lyde Green schools delayed by another year

The expected opening of the long-awaited secondary school for Lyde Green and a second primary school to serve the growing estate has been delayed yet again.

A joint statement was issued today by South Gloucestershire Council, Olympus Academy Trust (who will run the secondary school), Castle School Education Trust (who will run the primary school), the South West Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office and the Department of Education.

It said: “We have not yet been able to finalise all the details, but we do anticipate construction of the new primary and secondary school to commence in 2023. Therefore, to provide surety to families who will be looking to apply for school places in the autumn for the following academic year, we must with regret defer the anticipated opening date for the new secondary school for Lyde Green until September 2024.

“This also means that the construction of the new primary school, delivered as part of a single project with the secondary school, will also be delayed.

“The council will continue to work with existing schools in the local area to ensure that there are sufficient places to meet demand both in the primary and secondary phases until the new buildings are available. This will include providing transport assistance when the nearest suitable school is not within walking distance of home.”

The statement added:  “Whilst the negotiations on the new school buildings are taking longer than anticipated, good progress has been made on creation of the shared-use sports facilities, which will benefit the new schools – both primary and secondary – as well as local sports clubs and the wider community. We are aiming for these to be ready for community use later this year and will share details of how they will be managed and made available in due course.”

South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Schools, Cllr Erica Williams, said: “We recognise and share the frustration that families will feel at the ongoing delay to this project.”

It is the latest delay for families. In January of this year, with the deadline for making secondary school choices for September just days away, the council told parents who had wanted Lyde Green that they would have to review their preferences for the upcoming academic year.

The Year 7 pupils’ first year would have been in temporary accommodation at Winterbourne Academy and initially it had been planned that they would move across to the new permanent site in Lyde Green in September 2023. But realising that the permanent building would not be completed by then, the council felt it was not in the best interests of their education to be in temporary facilities for any longer than necessary.

There has previously been a delay because one of the building companies and one of the school sponsors was replaced.