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School places in Cheltenham

Proposals for a new school in Cheltenham

Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) is responsible for planning and allocating local school places.

When planning places, the council considers factors such as the number of children in education in the town, the housing being developed and the local birth rate, to estimate the number of children entering year groups.

This information is then used to forecast the need for school places over the coming years.

Our forecasts have shown us that the school age population is rising and that there is a continuing need to increase the number of places in Cheltenham primary and secondary schools.

Year 7 Forecasts

To help meet this increased need we’ve worked with schools in Cheltenham to use up surplus capacity and add new places to existing local schools. However, it is not possible to continue to expand these local schools indefinitely.

As a result, the county council is looking at alternatives to help meet this increased demand, including the proposal of a new school in Cheltenham.

On Wednesday 13 December 2017,  Cabinet gave approval to establish a new 900 11-16 place secondary school in Cheltenham. Funding for the school was approved by Council in February 2018.

Following a selection process in June 2018, the Regional Schools Commissioner announced that the preferred sponsor for the new school is Balcarras School in Charlton Kings. 

In February 2019, Kier Construction were announced as the main contractor to deliver the construction of the new school.


Next steps:

  • The planning application will be reviewed by a planning committee on Thursday 14 May.
  • The current timescale for the opening of the new school is September 2021 in temporary accommodation at Balcarras (subject to planning consent), with the new building opening in 2022.
  • The school will open to new Year 7 students only. The school is not expected to take children in other year groups at that time and will take a new cohort of Year 7 children each September thereafter.


Public engagement information

Two engagement events were held on 13 and 27 June, which gave people the chance to view the proposals and speak with key people from the education, planning and highways teams, the architects, and representatives from Balcarras Academy, who are sponsoring the school.

You can view the proposals from the events by clicking on the links below:


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Have a question or would like further information? Email us at NewCheltenhamSchool@gloucestershire.gov.uk or find the answers to some frequently asked questions in the Related Links.