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Catmose College in Oakham is seeking views on a possible £5m expansion plan which includes increasing pupil numbers and adding new buildings

A secondary school is seeking public opinion on its possible £5m expansion plans.

Catmose College is working in partnership with Rutland County Council to address the shortage of school places.

Each year around 30 children miss out on a place in Year 7 at the school in Oakham because of growing demand.

Catmose College. Photo: Google
Catmose College. Photo: Google

With more housing developments in the pipeline, the school and council are applying to the Regional Schools Commissioner for permission to admit an extra 30 pupils each year from September 2022.

This would mean fewer children having to travel further afield for their education, and it would bring extra funding to improve facilities and opportunities for all pupils.

In addition to the proposed increase in pupil numbers, the school has secured a £5m investment from the government to build extra classrooms and facilities.

Principal Stuart Williams described the plans as a “once in a career” opportunity for building on the school’s existing successes.

He said: “As Oakham has grown, the villages have suffered. It’s really hard to have to turn people down every year. It’s tough for the families and it’s the last thing we want to do.

“Our intention is to meet local need so children don’t have to travel a long distance to access a good education.”

A public consultation will run until October 8. The school and the council will then review the feedback before submitting their bid for expansion.

If approved, the school would be able to take 240 Year 7 pupils in September 2022 rather than the current intake of 210.

Mr Williams added: “With additional students joining us each year in Year 7, the range of academic courses and extra-curricular opportunities will broaden further as our financial and staffing resources grow to support these additional students.

“We will not compromise the quality of our provision because of this growth.”

Funding is already in place to refurbish an area of the school which has recently been vacated by the council’s Brightways Day Centre service.

Work is expected to start in the summer holidays to create a modern languages suite, freeing up space elsewhere in the school for other pastoral services.

In the longer term, it is hoped planning permission will be secured for additional buildings which would be ready for use in September 2023.

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