Silverdale and King Ecgbert secondary schools in Sheffield will expand to take in hundreds more pupils by 2023

Almost £13 million will be spent on expanding two secondaries to try to tackle oversubscribed schools in south west Sheffield.

Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 8:54 am

Silverdale and King Ecgbert will both expand by September 2023 as secondary schools in the south west are forecast to be oversubscribed for the next decade.

The cost increased by £3.8m to £12.85m after a feasibility study found the King Ecgbert site has abnormal ground conditions and Silverdale requires some internal remodelling works which were not factored in previously.

Covid and Brexit have also had a significant impact on the supply of labour and cost of materials. A shortfall of around £700,000 in the government funding will be met by the council.

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Silverdale and King Ecgbert will both expand by September 2023 as secondary schools in the south west are forecast to be oversubscribed for the next decade

Officers are working with Silverdale and King Ecgbert to ensure value for money and “kickstart lengthy processes” such as planning permission, tendering, PFI negotiations and construction.

Another £1 million will be spent on developing five integrated resources to provide 56 places in primary schools for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

Integrated resources are dedicated spaces in mainstream schools for complex SEND pupils who split their time between classes and receiving support.

Why are secondary schools oversubscribed?

Officer Nicola Shearstone said: “Following the national picture, births in Sheffield rose by 25 per cent between 2002 and 2012.

“This increase in population is now coming through into the secondary sector, and school places have been at or near full capacity since 2018/19.

“Mainstream demand is not evenly distributed across the city and pressure is greatest in the south west.

“There is a pressure on secondary school places by local children who live within this catchment area and this is forecast to continue until the end of the decade.”

How many new places will be created?

The permanent mainstream expansion plans would support the development of 535 Year 7 to 11 places in the south west.

The report adds: “The development of these places addresses a citywide deficit in secondary school places in the 23/24 academic year onwards.

“Without additional places in the area, families will be significantly impacted as they will not be able to access a local place and this will also impact neighbouring schools.

“The plan would provide sufficient secondary places for south west Sheffield into the next decade without creating over capacity within the school system.”

Why Silverdale and King Ecgbert?

The south west neighbourhoods closer to the city centre have a higher proportion of BME and deprived pupils.

The report says: “Typically, the schools are located in the more advantaged suburban areas and have catchment areas that slice in towards the city centre meaning each secondary school has an element of mixed socio-economic intake.

“The inner city areas are furthest away from the schools’ locations, therefore insufficient places would mean inner city children would be the first to miss out.

“If additional places were created, inner city catchment children would be more able to obtain a place at these schools, maintaining diversity in these schools.”

The council’s Executive is due to approve the expansion plans this week.