The creation of a new school in a North Yorkshire town has taken a major step forward with the appointment of a multi academy trust.
Elevate Multi Academy Trust has been appointed by the Department for Education to run the new primary free school at Manse Farm in Knaresborough, which will cater for families moving into the new housing development.
The project is expected to cost in the region of £5 million to develop, which will be funded by the County Council using Government grants, together with a £2 million contribution from the developer.
When complete, the proposed new school will provide 210 places for pupils, with the capacity to expand the school to take in a total of 420 children if needed in the future.
It will serve Knaresborough’s new Manse Farm development, which when complete will contain 600 new homes. It will also provide additional school places for the wider Knaresborough area, where local schools are becoming increasingly over-subscribed.
Following a rigorous selection process run by the County Council, the Regional Schools Commissioner has now confirmed that Elevate Multi Academy Trust will operate the new school.
Elevate currently has 12 primary academies within North and West Yorkshire, including in the Knaresborough area.
Chief Executive of Elevate Multi Academy Trust, Nigel Ashley said: “On behalf of Elevate and my team, I am delighted that we have been awarded such a prestigious honour to develop future educational excellence for new families who will be moving into the Manse Farm Estate area.
“We already have strong presence in the Knaresborough area, where we are familiar with the demographics and needs of the local community.
“Our utmost priority is quality provision where we all can achieve together and we look forward to opening the doors to our new, free school in September 2023.”
The school will be a state-funded academy, in line with Department for Education guidance. The opening date had provisionally been set for September 2022, but with delays to building work in Knaresborough prompted by the pandemic, the school now has an estimated opening date of September 2023.
Councillor Patrick Mulligan, Member for Education and Skills, said: “We are pleased to have taken such a major step forward in creating a new school for Knaresborough by appointing Elevate Multi Academy Trust after a very competitive process.
“The Harrogate Local Plan has identified that in the medium to long term, more than 1,000 new properties will be built in Knaresborough and a new school will be needed over the coming years to meet demand.
“Progress on construction at the site has been very much limited due to the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, so we have taken the decision to delay the opening of the school beyond our original September 2022 target. But the school is expected to be in place in time to meet the demand from the many new families expected to be moving into Knaresborough over the coming years.
“Creating a new school is an exciting opportunity for Knaresborough and we very much look forward to working in partnership with Elevate to plan and deliver this new project.”