Having bulldozed primary schools and merged secondary schools, as predicted, Salford now has a chronic need for more school places. This has seen temporary classrooms put in playgrounds and fields in primary schools, and the school place shortage is expected to feed into the secondary system.
Now the Government's Department for Education (DforE) has named Salford in a list of twenty towns and cities with a "very significant" need for opening a new school, which also includes Bolton, Manchester and Rochdale.
Eligibility, states the DforE, was based on a "composite indicator using basic need and a quality metric, ie they will have very significant expected basic need coinciding with low standards in the same planning area"...which is a withering indictment of the current Salford education system.
In June the Government announced that it was winding up the Salford Academy Trust (SAT), created by Salford City College, Salford City Council and the University of Salford in 2012, as it believed the Trust didn't have the capacity to improve
Dukesgate Primary, Albion High School, Irlam and Cadishead College and Marlborough Road Primary. Instead it wanted the schools transferred to the United Learning Trust (see previous Salford Star article – click here)
At the end of the last school year, there were ructions at Harrop Fold school, as the Head, Drew Povey, and three other staff members were suspended, with Manchester headteacher Damian Owen, appointed to take over on an interim basis this term.
Now, the need for new school places will be helped by Salford's share of £50million, (around £3million) to fast-track a new secondary school, although it will have to be an academy, or 'presumption free school'. The money has to be spent on construction or land costs, and Salford has to 'opt in' to the scheme by November this year, with a 'pre-opening phase' by 2021.