In February 2021, as part of the Wave 14 free school application process, Orbis Education Trust (OET) had a bid approved to open a new secondary free school for boys on the Hanwood Park Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE), by the Department for Education (DfE).
As part of the free school process, Academy Trusts submit bids to open a school directly to the DfE, which are then assessed by that organisation. Any successful bid approved as part of this process, is then funded and delivered by the DfE.
The Orbis Education Trust bid to open ‘Hanwood Park School for Boys’ was approved on the following basis;
- The proposed new school would meet the future forecast demand for secondary school places in the Kettering area (a significant amount of which will arise from the pupil yield generated by the Hanwood Park SUE).
- The educational benefit the proposed new school would provide to future generations of secondary aged students in Kettering. Part of the wider educational benefits the new school will deliver are predicated upon the fact that the school would provide a corresponding single sex provision for boys in the area, where currently none exists (compared to the single sex provision for girls provided by Southfield School - also operated by OET). A boys’ school would address the gender imbalance within the student body that results from the current arrangements, which is an issue that a number of local schools have to manage. The fact that girls tend to achieve higher levels of attainment than boys, further exacerbates the ‘gender imbalance’ issue. As such, the new boys’ school can be considered to support all schools (and students) in the Kettering area moving forward by addressing this issue.
Since the time the bid was initially approved, some stakeholders have expressed a preference that the new school should provide a mixed, rather than single sex education and that a mixed sex offer would better meet the needs of both the growing community of Hanwood Park and the Kettering area as a whole.
Both Orbis Education Trust, as the body that will operate the new school and North Northamptonshire Council (NNC), as the local education authority, wish to provide a new school that is best placed to meet the needs and wishes of the local community and to develop the new provision in collaboration with all local stakeholders.
As such, each party has agreed that the best, fairest and most transparent method of responding to the opinions expressed by some stakeholders on whether the new school should be a single or mixed sex provision, is to conduct a period of consultation on the matter.
The consultation will be conducted as a joint exercise between Orbis Education Trust and NNC and all stakeholder views expressed will then be submitted to the DfE, who remain the body that will make the ultimate decision as to whether the new school opens as a single or mixed sex provision.
Please read the related webpage to gain a better understanding of the criterion used to assess Wave 14 Free School applications.
Mainstream free school applications: assessment of need and deprivation (wave 14 update) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
How to have your say
Please tell us your views by completing the questionnaire on the NNC website, using the link below. Your feedback will be part of a report with many other people’s feedback, so you will not be personally identified.
Alternatively, you can email or send your comments in by post using the contact details below.
If you have any queries, comments or would like a copy of this questionnaire in another format (including paper) you can contact us by email or post. Our contact details are as follows:
- Email address: [email protected]
- Postal address: FAO Chris Wickens
Southfield School for Girls
This consultation will run from Monday 23 January to midnight on Sunday 5 March 2023.
For information about how consultation and engagement responses are managed by NNC, please see the consultation and engagement privacy notice.
Orbis Education Trust also have a consultation privacy statement available here.