Proposed new school at Manse Farm, Knaresborough

We are consulting on a proposal to establish a new mainstream primary school including nursery provision, to primarily serve the Manse Farm development in Knaresborough and the proposed Highfield Farm development.

The proposed new school will also support general school place sufficiency in the Knaresborough area.

It is intended that the new school will be a free school (a state-funded school, operating as an academy, independent of the local authority) in accordance with Department for Education guidance.

The age range of the school will be 3-11, providing places for 210 pupils (one form of entry) with the ability to expand to 420 places (two forms of entry) should that be required in the future. The school will provide places for boys and girls (mixed).  

The expected opening date is September 2022.


Manse Farm is a housing development in Knaresborough town which was given reserved matters planning approval for 600 dwellings in 2017 (17/05491/REMMAJ). Development on the site started in 2019, initially with some of the required highway infrastructure. The latest indications are that a build rate of 80 units per year is expected with first occupations in 2021/22. This development forms part of the c.1,400 dwellings which, it is proposed, are to be constructed in Knaresborough in the medium to long-term as part of the recently adopted Harrogate Local Plan:

Site name

Expected no. of dwellings


Multiple sites


Planning permission granted – sites at various stages

Manse Farm


Planning permission granted – under construction

K25 Highfield Farm


Site allocated in Local Plan– planning permission not yet granted

Multiple sites


Sites allocated in Local Plan– planning permission not yet granted

There are a number of primary schools in Knaresborough Town and the area around the Manse Farm development site that are becoming increasingly full as primary pupil numbers are now rising alongside housing growth.


Type of School

Aspin Park Academy


Goldsborough CoE Primary School

Voluntary Controlled School

Knaresborough St John’s CoE Primary School


Meadowside Primary Academy


St Mary’s Catholic Primary School


The above schools are collectively close to their operational capacity and there are limited opportunities to expand these schools further.

The effects of the pandemic on the rate of house building and the housing market generally is not yet known. There is therefore potential that, having commenced the required process, NYCC may subsequently decide that September 2022 ceases to be the desired opening date. The situation will be kept under review.

Demand for a new school site

It is considered that a new school site should be developed to serve the pupils arising from the Manse Farm and the proposed Highfield Farm development sites. The impact of all of the planned housing could not be met by expanding existing school sites in Knaresborough Town and at Goldsborough, and there is a need to ensure that pupil places are available as the remaining housing comes on stream.

On the basis of the current forecasts including extra pupils arising from housing, it is anticipated that a new school site would be needed from September 2022 onwards (see Figure 1). The projected shortfall of places would continue to rise, largely due to the impacts of new housing, from 2023 onwards without the introduction of additional provision.

It is assumed that the new school would initially open for nursery and reception pupils. The second year of opening would see Nursery, Reception and Year 1 pupils accommodated, adding a further year group for the third year and beyond until a full roll of 210 is achieved. This is quite a common opening profile for newly established schools and helps to avoid destabilising existing provision.

Finding and site

The local authority has the statutory duty to ensure that sufficient school places are available.  It receives capital funding to address this ‘basic need’, although it is acknowledged by central government that this funding does not meet the full costs of providing additional pupil places.

It was identified in the early stages of planning for Manse Farm that the development of a school site would be required. An agreement has been signed which secures both the site and a developer’s contribution of around £2m towards the construction costs. The site has capacity for future expansion if required to a total of Primary 420 places (2 form entry).  The required land transfer is currently being progressed.

A planning application for the design and layout was submitted under reference number NY/2019/0215/FUL. Planning permission was granted on 11 June 2020. Having this approval provides confidence that the remaining processes to establish the school can now commence.

The County Council’s Executive has approved an initial budget allocation for this scheme made up of both funding received from central government and the amount expected from the developer’s contribution.

Cost of delivering a new school

The cost of developing a new school building on the site provided at Manse Farm will be determined by the required procurement exercise which will commence in Autumn 2020. However, based on known projects elsewhere, it is considered that the cost of a new school on this site might be in the region of £5m to £6m.  

Admission arrangements

The proposed new school will provide additional school place capacity for the whole of Knaresborough town and the immediate area. However, it will primarily serve the development area formed by the Manse Farm and Highfield Farm sites in which there is currently no housing. NYCC intend to propose that the new school should have a defined catchment area based on the boundaries of the new development sites. This would mean that for admission purposes residents of the new development would have priority for places in the event of oversubscription. This would enable the new school to best serve its immediate local area and reduce the need for journeys to alternative schools.

The nearest schools to the Manse Farm development are Knaresborough St John’s CE Primary School and Aspin Park Academy. Manse Farm falls within the current catchment area of Knaresborough St John’s. The Highfield Farm development falls within the current Goldsborough CE Primary School catchment area. Neither of the existing catchment schools have the capacity to absorb the impact of the new housing and the LA preference would be for a future reduction in the extent of their catchment areas. However, decisions around the continuation or variation of the existing catchment arrangements for these two schools would require a separate process.

The Presumption route process

It is no longer possible, unless all other options have been exhausted, for the local authority to open a new community school. Under the government’s Academy presumption it is assumed that any wholly new school will be an Academy. The local authority is required to ask for expressions of interest from sponsors to allow the Secretary of State to decide whether to enter into a funding agreement with a particular academy trust for the running of the school.

The proposed new school is therefore expected to be a mainstream free school under the DfE free school presumption process.

The formal statutory consultation, which sponsors are required to undertake under section 10 of the Academies Act 2010, takes place during the pre-opening phase of the school i.e. after the sponsor has been selected, and is not part of this process.

Who are we consulting?

Copies of this document have been sent to the governing bodies of all local schools as well as to the Church of England and Roman Catholic Dioceses, Councillors, Early Years providers, parish, town and district councils, unions and professional associations and the local MP.

The Council is consulting generally at this stage to invite any comments on aspects of the proposal prior to publishing the specification for the proposed new school. Planning permission for the specific design and layout was granted on 11 June 2020.


Because of current restrictions we are unable to hold a local drop-in session.  However, we welcome your feedback on the proposals by completing a response form online.

Give your feedback

Closing date is 23 October 2020 at 5pm.

What happens after the consultation finishes?

All the responses received by the closing date will be included in a report to the Children and Young People’s Service Executive Members on 3 November 2020.  Responses from individuals will be anonymised.

Summary of proposals

School type

Mainstream primary

Age range


Nursery to Year 6

Published admission number


Size / Capacity

210 places plus nursery

Opening date

September 2022

Opening profile

First year of operation:

Nursery and Reception only

Second year:

Nursery, Reception and Year 1

Adding a further year group for the third year of operation and beyond until full opening is achieved

Admission arrangements

Oversubscription criteria to be determined by the chosen Academy Trust.

NYCC intend to propose that a defined catchment area be established for the area covered by the Manse Farm and Highfield Farm developments.

Map showing the proposed location of the new school in Knaresborough

If you need this information in an alternative format please contact us.

Primary Pupil forecast for Manse Farm, Knaresborough 2021/
Pupil forecast excluding pupils from housing developments 1224 1211 1224 1220 1207 1205 1205 1196 1188 1181
Pupil forecast including pupil yield from approved applications 1239 1310 1364 1402 1399 1407 1417 1413 1405 1398
Pupil forecast including pupil yield from approved applications and known Local Plan proposals 1239 1310 1419 1486 1510 1545 1555 1551 1543 1536
Current available school places   1319 1319 1319 1319 1319 1319 1319 1319 1319
Available school places including new school of 210 places   1529 1529 1529 1529 1529 1529 1529 1529 1529

Graph showing Primary Pupil forecast for Manse Farm, Knaresborough