NEW multi-million pound plans to open a secondary school in Radcliffe have been unveiled today.

Star Academies ­— which oversees some of the country's leading schools ­— has now stepped forward to open a £15 million high school in the town, which has been without secondary school provision since 2014.

Attempts had previously been made to bid for a free school in Radcliffe in conjunction with the Chapel Street Community Schools Trust, but proved unsuccessful.

Star’s chief executive, Hamid Patel CBE, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Bury Council to submit an application for a new secondary school in Radcliffe under the Government’s Free Schools programme.

“We are working closely with the council and other partners to prepare a strong case for the new school and are genuinely excited about its potential – if approved by the Department for Education – to drive the regeneration of Radcliffe.

“In keeping with the council’s vision for the school, we would establish a secondary school for the town which will offer a high quality of education, equipping all of its students to succeed in further and higher education and in the best jobs and careers.”

He added: “Star Academies has an outstanding track record in delivering excellent examination results for the pupils in its 28 schools. In 2018 it was named by the Department for Education as the highest performing Multi Academy Trust in the country.

“We are keen to establish a new secondary school for Radcliffe which offers the best educational experience and outcomes for its children and young people. We will make use of our proven school model and the extensive expertise of our staff to ensure that the new school operates to the highest standards so that local young people are able to fulfil their potential and take full advantage of the opportunities that are being created through the economic growth of Bury and Greater Manchester.”

Star Academies will submit its bid by November 11.

Bury Times:


Both Bury Council and Bury South MP Ivan Lewis believe a new high school will play a key role in the regeneration of the town.

Cllr Tamoor Tariq, cabinet member for children and families, said: “Councils are no longer allowed to build or run new schools – these must be Free Schools, operated by a Sponsor Trust.

“So we are delighted to be formally supporting the bid by Star Academies to bring a secondary school back to Radcliffe, which is no less than local families deserve.

“Demand for secondary school places across the borough is increasing, with limited capacity to meet current and forecast need. Coupled to this is forecast additional demand from residential growth in Radcliffe, which will put additional demands on pupil places in this part of the borough.

“We are now edging ever closer to having a much-needed school in Radcliffe, and we look forward to hearing the outcome from the DfE. I’d like to thank our officers and Star Academies for all their input; the partnership which the local authority has initiated will start to give the people of Radcliffe real opportunity to have good quality education more locally.”

Mr Lewis met with Lord Agnew, Minister for Schools, who will make the final decision on the funding bid.

Mr Lewis said: "This was my second meeting about the Radcliffe School with Lord Agnew in recent months. He confirmed the Government welcomed the bid and expressed his strong admiration for the track record of Star Academy in the field of Education.

"They have an excellent reputation for having established a number of new successful schools in recent years. I’m delighted they are committed to Radcliffe as a top priority. The application to Government will be strengthened by the support of Radcliffe businesses and charities. I am in the process of securing commitments from of a number of local organisations and would be pleased to hear from others who want to express their support."

He added: I’m optimistic that Radcliffe will finally get the school local families deserve.

"I have always said that I will not rest until this grave injustice is put right. A new school should be at the heart of our vision for regeneration of the town. Once funding for the school is secure I will be seeking a further Government funding for a permanent swimming facility and new civic centre to be built alongside the school."

Bury Times:


The site of the former Radcliffe Riverside School on Spring Lane has been earmarked for the new school.

The cost would be met through the Government’s Free School programme.

Initially the school would accommodate 600 pupils with capacity to expand to 1,000 places.

If the bid is successful, 120 pupils would be admitted into Year Seven.

The outcome of the bid by Star Academies will be known by spring 2020.

And if given the green light, Bury Council would lease the site to to Star Academies for a peppercorn rent.

Cllr David Jones, leader of Bury Council, said: “A new high school in Radcliffe will help to continue the wider regeneration of Radcliffe, which is a top priority for the council.

“Fewer young people in Radcliffe achieve five good GCSEs than the Bury average, and a greater proportion of Radcliffe residents are in poor health than for the population of Bury as a whole. Unemployment is also higher than the borough average, and proportionally more people live in deprived areas.

“Given this education, health and employment profile, there is a clear need for a fresh and different approach to supporting Radcliffe people, and building community resilience. Strong leadership from schools and in particular secondary schools is fundamental to this.“The economic prospects in Radcliffe are being transformed but without a strong high performing secondary school the prospects for the children of Radcliffe to benefit from economic growth will be held back.”

Star Academy Trust was established in Blackburn and now operates 28 Free schools across Lancashire, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, West Midlands and East London. More than one-third of these schools are judged Outstanding by Ofsted.

And the site could also be used by the community, such as for leisure