Around 200 South Gloucestershire families 'left in limbo' as new secondary won't be ready

25-01-22 -Building site of Lyde Green primary and secondary-ITV News
Up to 60 families put the school as their first choice for this September. Credit: ITV News

Around 200 families in South Gloucestershire have been told to re-apply for their children's secondary school place because the school they initially chose won't be ready. 

Lyde Green Secondary was supposed to open this September, but parents have been sent a letter from South Gloucestershire Council saying it will not be built in time.

They've now been asked to re-submit their secondary school preferences with just six days' notice.

Kieran Newton moved to the area to be near the new primary and secondary school. It would have been right on the doorstep for him and his 10-year-old son.

Kieran Newton (L) and his son Mason (R). Credit: ITV News/family picture

"I recently moved here to be within the catchment area of Lyde Green secondary school," he explained.

"And due to the delay, it means that the first choice for my son, which is Lyde Green, is not going to be an option.

"I mean, I'm obviously devasted, to be honest with you. I may not have moved here in the first place if  I knew this beforehand. I'm just gutted for him really. He's going to have to go to potentially his fourth choice school now."South Gloucestershire Council says 197 families put Lyde Green Secondary School as one of their three preferences this September.

The proposed school sites from above. Credit: South Gloucestershire Council

However, up to 60 families like the Newton's selected it as their first choice. Local councillor Matt Palmer says the news has left families in limbo.

"They were given very little time to go around and look at other schools," he said.

"It's been devastating for many of them. I have had people in tears explaining their feelings to me and how frustrated they are at not having an adequate provision."

When the new schools are completed, they will be on the edge of the Lyde Green estate.

But as it won't be ready for this September students now have four other options of secondary schools: 

  • Downend school which is two miles away

  • Mangotsfield School which lies three miles to the south 

  • King's Oak Academy which is three miles down the ring road

  • Winterbourne Academy which is four miles away

Winterbourne Academy is offering 60 extra places for students to compensate for the delays. Credit: ITV News

Winterbourne is part of the same Academy Trust responsible for Lyde Green Secondary School. It is now offering 60 extra places in Year 7 to compensate for the delays.

"There have been challenges around the permanent site and the costs associated with construction," CEO of Olympus Academy Trust, Dave Baker, told ITV News.

"That meant the discussions between South Gloucestershire Council and the Department for Education were quite difficult around the costs escalating and the gap between what was available and what was needed.

"The challenge for us is 300 in a year group to 360 means spaces for assemblies are difficult, spaces for lunch are difficult.

"So we are going to put ourselves out because we feel morally we need to do that for the families who have been let down."

South Gloucestershire Council said that it 'shared the frustration of families in the area at the delay' and will continue  'to work with the Regional Schools Commissioner's Office and The Olympus Academy Trust to finalise the plans and funding arrangements to deliver Lyde Green Secondary School.