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The High School, Leckhampton

In 2017, Gloucestershire County Council’s Cabinet gave approval to establish a new 900 11-16 place secondary school in Cheltenham to meet the increased demand, funding was approved in 2018, with planning permission granted in 2020. The brand-new £35 million carbon neutral secondary school building is now complete.

On Monday 5 September 2022, The High School Leckhampton on Farm Lane opened its doors to 243 Year 7 and Year 8 pupils, after operating on a temporary site at Balcarras for the past year.

The £35 million secondary school has state-of-the-art facilities, including six science labs, 10 ICT suites, a music suite, drama studio and a 400-seat auditorium. Its sports facilities include a full-size floodlit Astro-turf pitch, grass playing fields, sports hall, fitness suite and six outdoor tennis tables.

The total cost of the project, including the school building, highways works to improve walking and cycling routes in the area, and carbon offsetting, is £35 million.

The school will create its own green energy using solar panels and be carbon neutral in line with the county council’s pledge to reduce Gloucestershire’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050. 

It has been environmentally designed with tree and hedgerow planting on the school grounds and in nearby fields, with a long-term commitment made to manage those local habitats for the benefit of wildlife.

The school is run by Balcarras Academy Trust. Balcarras is a highly successful 11-18 school situated in the heart of the Charlton Kings area of east Cheltenham. Consistently rated outstanding by Ofsted, it has also been recognised by The Sunday Times as the most successful comprehensive school in the South West in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and has been named as The Sunday Times Southwest State Secondary School of the Decade in 2020.

The school opened to Year 7 pupils only in September 2021 as a 4 forms of entry school, this will rise to 5 and then 6 forms of entry with an eventual capacity of 900.

The High School Leckhampton 

View more photos of the school by clicking on the image above.

Have a question or would like further information? Find the answers to some frequently asked questions in the related links or archive.

Time-lapse of the school being constructed


Highway improvement plans

Public engagement information

Two engagement events were held on 13 and 27 June 2019, 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:

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.


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