Future of education in Sheffield revealed as council submits new school plans

Plans for a new £25 million Sheffield school have this week been unveiled, with full details on a second school expected in the spring.

Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 3:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 4:01 pm
An artist's impression of the new school Sheffield Council wants to build on the site of the former Bannerdale Centre. Photo: Bond Bryan Architects

Sheffield Council has submitted a planning application for Bannerdale School, a three storey secondary school and sixth form for 1,200 pupils off Carterknowle Road.

It will be one of two new schools due to open in 2018, with the second, a through school for ages three to 18, planned for the site of an old housing estate in Pitsmoor, incorporating the old Pye Bank School building.

The proposed Bannerdale School.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Detailed plans for the Pitsmoor school will be submitted in the spring, but the council has applied for permission to clear the land.

Cabinet member for children, young people and families Jackie Drayton said: “Providing a first-class education and enabling every child to achieve their potential is our absolute priority.

“Submitting this application for a new school on the Bannerdale site is the next step in the authority’s plans to provide more school places for children in south west Sheffield and, indeed, for the city as a whole.

“I would like to encourage people to view the plans, which are now available on our website, and have their say on the proposals. A decision will be made on the application in due course.”

The proposed site off Carterknowle Road.

The council is building the new schools to cope with increasing demand for places in the city. About 5,500 children need Year 7 places each school year, but this is projected to rise to more than 6,100 by 2021.

A report to councillors in November said births in Sheffield had risen 25 per cent between 2002 and 2012, with an extra 1,000 children per year coming into reception classes.

An extra 5,000 primary school places have been created since 2006, with new schools built and existing ones expanded.

The Reach4 Academy Trust has been appointed to run the Pitsmoor school. But the management of Bannerdale School is still unclear.

Some people say the school should not be built on green space.

In July the Silverdale Multi-Academy Trust - based at Silverdale School in Bents Green - was picked to sponsor the new secondary. But the trust pulled out of the deal to run what would have been the Silverhill University School, citing an 'unacceptable’ financial risk following changes to the building scheme.

The council is in talks with other sponsors but an agreement has not yet been reached.

The school was initially planned for the car park of the old Bannerdale Centre, but in September councillors decided instead to develop an area of open space to the west of the site's access road and keep the car park for staff and visitors.

Homes will be built on the Bannerdale Centre site in a separate development. The new school will be built close to the site of the former Abbeydale Grange School, which closed in 2010.

The site of the proposed school in Pitsmoor, with the Pye Bank School building in the background.

According to the Bannerdale plans, drawn up by Sheffield-based Bond Bryan Architects, the school will have community facilities 'at its core' and would encourage public use of the surrounding green space.

A sports hall and changing rooms, a performing arts hall, and catering kitchen would be available for community use.

The plans acknowledge a 'significant' response to a public consultation, adding: "The proposed siting would enable a school of high quality design to be positioned prominently, but sympathetically within the site.

"Liaison with local stakeholders will continue in order to detail the joint access and community usage of the green spaces and sports facilities."

The Pitsmoor school will take up a site around Andover Street, and will involve a new building and the refurbishment of the former Pye Bank School.

It was formerly home to a 1960s housing estate that has since been demolished.

Gray Street will be permanently closed.

According to a planning application for site preparation work, Gray Street and sections of Fox Street and Andover Drive, along with several footpaths, will be permanently removed to make way for the new building.

The documents say the enabling works are 'imperative' to allow the school to be built on time.

Coun Drayton said: “It’s great to see the first steps being taken to develop the site for the new school and I’m excited that we are building new schools in the areas of the city where we need school places.

“Working with the Reach4 Academy Trust we have a wonderful opportunity to make a real difference to the life chances of many children and families in our city, and look forward to working with them in the exciting challenge ahead.”

The school plans have not been universally accepted.

Commenting on the Bannerdale proposals, Joe Simpson, of Carterknowle Road, said a beautiful green space was being developed by the council for 'rampant profit'.

"People living on Carterknowle Road will now be facing an ugly three storey building, enduring all the bustle and noise of a busy school, an increase in traffic and a loss of use of green space," he added.

Sophie Hughes, who also lives near the site, said: "I understand that people need homes and children need schools. I feel, however, that the council has massively underestimated the impact of increased traffic on Carterknowle Road.

"Of even more importance is the positioning of the school - there is no logical reason to build on green space. If building has to go ahead it should be on the existing hard car park or old Bannerdale site."

And Jill Denniff, also of Carterknowle Road, raised concerns about flooding.

Referring to damage caused to her cellar, she said: "The reality of flooding due to an altered watercourse is not pleasant. Ours has been caused by a small house extension so I can only think that the building of a three storey school, sixth form and sports hall could have much bigger consequences."

Today’s top stories:

The proposed Bannerdale School.
The proposed site off Carterknowle Road.
Some people say the school should not be built on green space.
The site of the proposed school in Pitsmoor, with the Pye Bank School building in the background.
Gray Street will be permanently closed.