Atherstone and Nuneaton get share of school buildings investment

Schools in both Atherstone and Nuneaton are among those included in Warwickshire County Council’s latest capital programme where money is allocated for vital building projects.

Etone College in Nuneaton (pictured) and Queen Elizabeth Academy in Atherstone were two of the big winners in the latest round of capital investments agreed by the county council. Photo: Google Street View
Etone College in Nuneaton (pictured) and Queen Elizabeth Academy in Atherstone were two of the big winners in the latest round of capital investments agreed by the county council. Photo: Google Street View

A total spend of £9.504m was approved by cabinet members when they met last week with more than 95 per cent of it coming from DfE grants.

Work at Atherstone’s Queen Elizabeth Academy, in Witherley Road, will see a new £2.5m two-storey modular classroom block built incorporating seven classrooms and ancillary space.

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A report considered by councillors at their meeting explained that demand for school places in Atherstone and the surrounding area had been rising over the past three years with a shortfall in places forecast to continue for the next seven years.

It added: “The school offered an additional 30 places above their published admission number (PAN) in September 2021 and has offered above their PAN again for September 2022. A permanent solution is now required to enable the school to continue to meet demand.”

A DfE grant of £2.265m will cover most of the cost with the remainder coming from the Academy Transformation Trust.

Cllr Margaret Bell (Con, Hartshill and Mancetter) said: “What is slightly disappointing is that the school has only recently been built and, at the time, North Warwickshire Borough Council, residents and members all said that it needed to be made bigger. It wasn’t so all this is a little bit predictable and we could perhaps have avoided having another building if we had listened more carefully and looked at the projections more carefully for the area that it serves.”

Cabinet approved a proposal to allocate £4.753m for a scheme at Nuneaton’s Etone College back in December 2020 but at last week’s meeting, cabinet members considered a new proposal put forward by the school’s trust.

The report explained: “The way the trust purposes general classrooms as science classrooms will address the need for additional science labs. They would also knock down a deteriorating 1950s block.

“These extended and enhanced facilities are required to continue to effectively manage and accommodate an increase in pupil numbers at the school. Etone College is currently the smallest secondary school in Nuneaton and an expansion to six-form entry will help to ensure the school remains sustainable longer term.”

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