Council invests £3m to save Blue Coat School places

Much sought-after school places at Blue Coat Secondary School have been rescued, thanks to a £3m investment by Oldham Council into its teaching facilities.

Councillors approved this much-needed funding on Monday night, after the council was notified that the school risked losing valuable teaching space in its ROSLA Block unless urgent support was secured.

The council’s intervention now enables Blue Coat to create new teaching space elsewhere on the school’s site, with the ROSLA Block now set to be demolished given it is no longer fit for purpose.

This avoids the school having to reduce its school admission numbers and now secures future secondary school places for children in Oldham.

Councillor Mohon Ali, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “We owe it to our young people to make sure they can learn and grow in the best environment possible.

“That is why I am so glad that we could help Blue Coat School to prevent the loss of essential teaching space.

“By providing this funding we’re ensuring they can keep accepting existing pupil numbers and not have to cut back on how many students they teach.

“That’s brilliant news for a truly outstanding school.” 

Julie Hollis, CEO of The Cranmer Education Trust, added: “We are delighted, grateful and relieved.

“The building in question was part of Raising of the School Leaving Age to 16, which gives an indication of how old it is, and these buildings were only ever intended to be temporary.

“It has been maintained faithfully over the years, but we have reached the point of no return, and without this investment from the council to replace it we would have had to reduce the number of places at Blue Coat for the future.

“This investment ensures our ability to maintain existing pupil numbers and teach our young people in surroundings befitting an outstanding education”.

Funding for this investment comes from the council’s Basic Needs Allocation – a non-ring-fenced pot of money used to ensure there are enough school places for children in the local area.

As part of this, the council will grant the school a third of its £3m investment, with the remaining funds set to be repaid to the Council by the Trust over a 10-year period.

The overall cost of the repairs equates to £3.5m with the school agreeing to fund the extra £0.5m through its Trust finances.

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