The contract to build a junior school to serve Rotherham’s newest community will now be put out to tender after the scheme was given the green light.
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning board has officially approved plans for Waverley Junior Academy, meaning that the search for a construction partner can now begin.
The school, which will have a capacity of 420 pupils up to the age of 11, is being built to serve the wider Waverley community, a new development taking place on the outskirts of the town, close to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
It will be run by the Aston Community Education Trust, which was appointed as its sponsor two years ago and already runs 11 other primary and secondary academies in South Yorkshire and North-East Derbyshire.
Following its appointment, representatives from the Trust have played an active role in helping to finalise the plans, which have been drawn up by Rotherham Council officers and Ellis Williams architects.
Families in Waverley currently have to send their children to schools outside the area, but the Trust says the new school will offer 21st Century teaching within walking or cycling distance of their homes.
Not only will its exterior blend into the buildings around it, the school has also been designed so that a number of its facilities, including the space set aside for its breakfast club and a purpose-built autism unit, can be opened up to community groups out of hours, without people needing to access the main building itself.
The council approved the plans two weeks ago and Eunice Newton, CEO of ACET, said that the next step will be to appoint the company tasked with bringing the scheme to life.
She said: “Obtaining planning permission is a significant step that brings this exciting project one step closer and means that the construction contract can now be put out to tender.
“What makes the school unique is that much of the design work has been focussed on ensuring that it can be used by local groups as well as children and, as such, promises to be the pride of the whole community.
“The Waverley development is taking shape but there are currently no shared facilities, such as a community centre or local church, where people can come together in the evenings and on weekends.
“The school will make that possible, which is why we refer to it as the academy that never closes, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the community engage with the school out of hours when it’s open next year.”
The Trust is also currently planning a series of events designed to keep prospective parents informed about the progress of the development.
Parents will be invited to apply for a place at the school in March next year, ahead of its official opening in September.
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