It has been revealed that a brand new secondary school is to be built in the new neighbourhood of Houlton, on the site of the former Rugby Radio Station, known locally as the “mast site”.
Developers Urban&Civic, who are leading the 1,200 acre development on the eastern edge of Rugby, have this week announced that Department for Education (DfE) funding approval has been given to turn the Grade II Listed Building, which was the hub of global communications in the 1920s, into a multi-million pound Free School.
Through a funding deal agreed between Urban&Civic and the DfE, the secondary school at Houlton, which has outline planning permission, is anticipated to open in September 2021.
The school will be led by the Transforming Lives Educational Trust (TLET), of which the Ofsted Outstanding Ashlawn School is part of.
Richard Coppell, Development Director at Urban&Civic, said: “We are delighted to be able to announce that we have agreed a deal to accelerate the secondary school at Houlton. We have worked closely with the DfE, Warwickshire County Council and TLET over the past year to form a partnership that will deliver a brand new secondary for Rugby. This will be run by a Trust that is already delivering Outstanding secondary education in nearby Ashlawn School.
“We now get to progress the exciting and unique challenge of turning this 1926 Grade II Listed Building in Houlton into an inspiring place to learn.”
Stewart Jardine, Chair of the Transforming Lives Educational Trust, is keen to stress that the community will play a key role in its development.
Mr Jardine added: “What is really exciting about this site is that we have the opportunity to not just shape a new school, but also play a key role in the development of a community.
“Over the coming months we will be working with all our stakeholders to put in place plans for the new school. This will be such an aspirational place to learn, and we will be building on all the good practice across the Trust to ensure that the education on offer is of the highest standard. It is important, however, that we also allow this school to develop its own identity and ethos.”
Mark Pawsey MP, Member of Parliament for Rugby and Bulkington said: “Delivering the infrastructure needed to support Rugby as the town continues to grow has always been an important part of the proposals at Houlton. I am very pleased that Urban&Civic, who have worked hard to put the community at the heart of Houlton, have brought forward an innovative solution to deliver this much needed secondary school, which will be welcome news for parents throughout the local area.”
This new secondary school forms part of the outline planning permission for the urban extension of Houlton, which is a joint venture between developers Urban&Civic and Aviva Investors. The site, when complete, will comprise 6200 homes as well as extensive green spaces and local amenities. The first primary school at Houlton is already built and open (St Gabriel’s CofE Academy) and there are a further two primary schools planned for Houlton in addition to the secondary school.
A new link road connecting Houlton to Rugby town is another piece of key infrastructure accelerated by Urban&Civic at Houlton and this road is being constructed now and will be open in summer 2019, providing access to the new secondary school.
A planning application for Reserved Matters permission will now be worked up as well as an application for Listed Building Consent to refurbish and reuse the Grade II Listed C Station as a school. More information about the new school will be shared over the coming months.