Major Worksop school expansion scheme given go-ahead
Nottinghamshire County Council has given the green light for a major expansion scheme at a Worksop school to address growing pressure on secondary education in the town.
The County Council’s Planning and Rights of Way Committee approved plans for three two-storey extensions to be built at Outwood Academy Portland on Netherton Road at its latest meeting on Tuesday, 28 February.
It means the expansion project – led by the County Council in partnership with Outwood Grange Academies Trust – will provide space for 300 extra pupils to increase the number of students from 1,500 to 1,800, ultimately helping to relieve the growing pressure on local secondary schools at a time when new housing developments are being built in the area.
Outwood becomes the latest school in Nottinghamshire to benefit from the County Council’s multi-million-pound investment programme to ensure children receive the best possible education in modern, well-equipped facilities.
Councillor Tracey Taylor, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “This really is great news for Worksop and the wider Bassetlaw district and forms part of our ongoing commitment to ensure all children in Nottinghamshire have access to the best education.
“A key ambition of this council is to build and expand schools and there is no better investment than securing a good education for our young people.
“I’m fully supportive of this expansion project at Outwood and it comes at what I believe is an exciting time for school developments in Nottinghamshire, with expansions and improvements planned across the county.
“This project will deliver an additional 300 secondary places and helps to address the growing demand for secondary school places in Bassetlaw.
“I’m sure this is very welcome news for residents in Worksop and I look forward to the project getting underway.”
The news comes as demand for places across the county continues to rise with the County Council’s school admissions team receiving more than 9,600 applications this year.
Despite this, 89.6 per cent of Nottinghamshire residents have received an offer of their first preference school – with 97.1 per cent receiving an offer from one of their listed preferences.
In Bassetlaw, 1,341 applications were processed (74 more than last year) and 90.4 per cent of residents were offered their first preference school – while 97.5 per cent received an offer from one of their preferences.
It is anticipated that pupil numbers at Outwood will increase incrementally per year over a five-year period, which is expected to begin from September 2024.
In total, there will be 18 additional classrooms in the three new two-storey buildings, a new drama studio, a staff room and toilets.
Outwood’s existing dining room and its kitchen will also be extended as part of the application, while landscaping work will also be carried out on the site.
Forty covered cycle spaces are included in the scheme alongside five staff cycle parking lockers.
Chairman of the County Council's Planning and Rights of Way of Committee, Councillor Richard Butler, said: "After hearing all the evidence, the committee unanimously approved planning permission for this exciting and much-needed expansion project at Outwood Academy in Worksop.
"This scheme will help to ease the growing pressures on schools in the Worksop area, especially at a time when new housing developments are being built which, of course, means more children will need places.
“The expansion will also create 17 new jobs at the school, including three full-time and one part-time teaching role created alongside a full-time management position – as well as several catering roles.
“As a council, we are working tirelessly to invest in our children’s education and future and, I believe, the approval of this project reaffirms our commitment to deliver on this pledge.”
The scheme is to be completed ahead of the 2024/25 academic year in September next year.
Dr Phil Smith, Regional Executive Principal, said: “We’re pleased to be working with Nottinghamshire County Council on the formal expansion of Outwood Academy Portland from September 2024.
"It is great that the Council has acknowledged the excellent work of the academy by selecting it to provide the additional school places that are needed as a result of the growing population of Worksop.
“The development of the academy building, by the Council, will provide modern facilities, allowing us to continue to invest in our students and deliver quality education over the coming years."