Hartford Church of England High School Enlargement by expansion consultation

Closing date: 13 July 2021

Cheshire West and Chester Council is proposing to enlarge, by expansion, Hartford Church of England High School, in order to fulfil the Council’s statutory duty to provide enough secondary school places in the local area.

Why we are proposing to enlarge by expansion Hartford Church of England High School?

Cheshire West and Chester Council (‘the Council’) is proposing to expand Hartford Church of England High School to provide more school places for local children within the Northwich planning area. The proposal to expand the size of the school and increase its Published Admission Number (PAN) has arisen from analysis of the present and future need for secondary school places in the Northwich area. This has considered the local birth-rate, planned housing developments, and parental preference as expressed through the admissions process.

Hartford Church of England High School is a popular and successful school with a Good Ofsted rating. The school is currently over-subscribed all year groups.

The school has risen in popularity and has seen an increase in the number of applicants noting it as a first preference.

The numbers of secondary aged pupils living in the school’s catchment area is increasing year-on-year. An increase in the number of residents has largely been driven by a significant number of new housing developments in the local area.

The Council has a legal duty to provide enough school places in the local area. We have agreed with the Governing Body of Hartford Church of England High School to carry out this formative public consultation on a proposal to create 150 additional school places in total, by enlarging the admission number from 210 to 240 places for each year group from Year 7 to Year 11.

If the proposal is approved, then additional accommodation including classrooms and learning areas will be provided.

Are there plans to show how this proposed expansion will be delivered on site?

In close collaboration with the school and the Diocese of Chester, we are currently looking at the options as to how best the expansion can be achieved. We think that, although some minor works may be necessary in the existing building, most of the additional accommodation will be provided in a separate newly constructed building. Plans will be produced as part of a feasibility study which is needed to design the building of the extended school. The feasibility study will be informed by responses made to this consultation by parents/carers and the local community.

If the proposal to expand the school is agreed, then the building works will also go through a separate planning application consultation process. This means that once plans have been developed, all members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on the planning application. If the proposal is approved, then construction work on any extension will probably start in 2022.

Will the school need to close during the proposed building work?

No, any required works to the existing building will be planned carefully to take place mainly around school holiday times to make sure disruption is kept to an absolute minimum. The main build will be contained by securely fencing-off the area and should have very little impact upon the daily life of the school. The school leadership team will be involved in planning the proposed building work and there will be a requirement that the contractor will adhere to both health and safety and safeguarding matters when onsite.

How will the proposed expansion happen and how many children will there be at the school?

It may be possible to use the existing building to take a maximum of 30 additional pupils into Year 7 in September 2022 (240 rather than 210). Then when the new accommodation is completed the school will admit a maximum of 30 additional pupils into all Year 7 groups from 2023 onwards. Growth should be gradual until the planned maximum number of 1,200 pupils is reached and the expectation is that this will potentially take place over several academic years.

The consultation process - indicative timeline

  • 16 June – 13 July 2021: Informal Public Consultation period
  • 30 June 2021 or 1 July 2021: School and Local Authority representatives will be available by appointment for an audio/video ‘face-to-face’ consultation with parents, pupils and other stakeholders via Microsoft Teams.
  • August 2021: Cheshire West and Chester Council will consider all responses made and decide whether to go ahead with the proposal.
  • September 2022: Temporary increase in school places to 240 for the Year 7 cohort (if approved).
  • September 2023: The earliest date that a permanent increase in school places of the school could be implemented if the proposal is agreed.

How can I give my views?

There are several ways to give us your views on this proposal:

  • A virtual face-to-face meeting using Microsoft Teams where parents/carers, members of staff, governors and other interested parties can book a time on the following dates 30 June 2021 or 1 July 2021. There will be the opportunity to ask questions and provide comments to a Council officer and a representative of the school. If you would like to take up the opportunity please email schoolplanningandpolicy@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk no later than 23 June 2021.
  • By sending the response form to School Organisation Team, (Nicholas House), Cheshire West and Chester Council, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE. Alternatively, you may hand your response form in at the school. All written responses need to be received by midnight on Tuesday 13 July 2021.
  • By completing the online survey
  • Email: schoolplanningandpolicy@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk​

What happens next?

This consultation closes at midnight on Tuesday 13 July 2021.

A report summarising the responses received during the informal consultation period will be submitted to the Cabinet Member for Children and Families, who will then decide whether to proceed with the expansion proposal.​​​

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