Chancellor George Osborne today announced that funding had been approved for a Studio School to be built on the site of The Grange in Warmley.
The Grange Studio School will specialise in developing skills aimed at hi-tech, advanced engineering and creative and digital industries.
It will serve pupils aged 14 to 19 of all abilities within a 15-mile radius of Warmley and will be built on the same campus as The Grange School & Sports College.
The school’s sponsors include Cabot Learning Federation, a multi-academy trust sponsor, the West of England Aerospace Forum and Business West.
Last year The Grange was put into special measures after a critical report by Ofsted and the Cabot Learning Federation, which also runs King’s Oak Academy and John Cabot Academy in Kingswood, was sent in run it while talks were held with the Department for Education about it becoming an academy.
But the cost of repairing the run-down school – at £10.5m – meant that idea was not an option and instead plans for a Studio School on the site were mooted.
Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore, who has campaigned for the new Studio School, said he was pleased to learn that his campaign, backed by the entire senior leadership team of Grange teachers, had been successful.
He said: “As the local MP, I took a delegation up to Westminster to meet with the Secretary of State for Education to press the case for a £3m new Studio School at The Grange. I’m delighted that the Department has listened to our case, and we have secured this extra investment.
“This comes on top of a new primary school in Kingswood and hundreds of extra primary school places. I would like to thank all those parents who supported the bid, and worked with me to get the Studio School.”
Labour politicians also welcomed the news. Labour’s Lead for Children & Young People’s services on South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Gareth Manson (Lab, Woodstock), said: “I am delighted that this school, which will broaden what is on offer to young people across the region, is to be built.”
And Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Kingswood, Jo McCarron, said: “This studio school is not a like-for-like replacement for The Grange School and Sports College. It won’t take children aged 11 to 13 and it is smaller, but it will broaden the offer to young people locally and further afield with a potentially more vocational focus.
“Overall it is a positive development and I am sure that local parents will welcome the decision to give the school the green light.”
Sir David Carter, chief executive officer of the Cabot Learning Federation until next month, when he becomes the South West Regional Schools Commissioner, said tonight that it was “great news” that the Cabot Learning Federation bid to open a Studio School on the site of the Grange School had been approved.