Green light for first satellite school for Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire’s first satellite school – an extension of St Michael’s, High Wycombe – will open in Aylesbury next year.

Mike Appleyard, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, approved the plan yesterday (Wednesday September 6).

St Michael’s Catholic School will establish its satellite on the former Quarrendon school site. Building work, expected to start next summer, will not be finished until 2019, so the school will open next September with a Year 7 intake of 120 in the former Bierton Hill Day Centre, which will be refurbished, before it moves to the permanent site a year later.

The satellite plan, a partnership between the County Council, St Michael’s governors and trustees, and the Diocese of Northampton, would cater for students between 11 and 19, growing over time to six forms of entry.

The decision follows public consultations that generated up to 99% support.Mike Appleyard said: “There has been extremely strong support for St Michael’s satellite, a level of response rarely seen in such consultations. Faith schools do deliver good results and by and large parents like them. We’ve taken account of the way people in Aylesbury feel and I hope we’ll be providing a school they will welcome.”

With housing growth in the coming five years, Mike said an additional 12 forms of secondary school entry would be needed in Aylesbury Vale – the equivalent of two schools. The satellite school would provide half of this need.

The £1 million cost of refurbished buildings at Bierton Hill and £22m construction cost of new buildings on the Quarrendon site will come from Department for Education basic need funding and housing developer contributions.

Head teacher Garret Fay said he was very pleased to be in a position to open the St Michael’s satellite at Aylesbury, and thanked parents, the Buckinghamshire Catholic Schools Partnership and the County Council’s school expansion team for their support.

“The use of Bierton Hill ensures that pupils will be educated in a safe and secure learning environment, while building work at the Quarrendon site progresses,” he said. “I’m looking forward to meeting prospective pupils and parents in the near future to share our designs and plans for 2018 and beyond.”