Sixth form centre could be built on old fire station site

January 26 2021

CABOT Learning Federation, which runs several secondary schools in east Bristol, is a step closer to getting a permanent home for its sixth form.

Bristol City Council has committed £4.5m towards a building for CLF Post 16 on the old Speedwell Fire Station site.

But until Government approval is received and the new sixth form built alongside Bristol Brunel Academy, some post-16 students will have to travel to other CLF sites for their lessons from September.

CLF is finalising these temporary arrangements, which could include sixth-formers being accommodated at King’s Oak Academy in Kingswood, Hanham Woods Academy and Digitech in Warmley.

It said in a statement: “CLF Post 16 students currently learn at both Bristol Brunel and John Cabot Academies. While the permanent build is ongoing, in addition to those two academies, some of our CLF Post 16 provision will be relocated to other local accommodation, including other nearby CLF academies, which will allow us to maintain the high standards our post-16 students currently enjoy. We will be able to confirm these interim arrangements later this year.”

The deal reached by the council and CLF means that 138 extra spaces for Year 7 students in September 2021 can be created, to meet the needs of a population bulge in the area.

The council had hoped a new secondary school at Temple Quarter could be agreed in time to meet some of this demand but the project has been greatly delayed and will not open before September 2023 at the earliest.

The federation’s statement continued: “All of the CLF schools in the area have grown gradually over recent years to continue to meet the demand for places from the local community. This has allowed them to plan carefully for this additional growth, ensuring that standards remain high both for current pupils and those who will join in the future. 

“The additional space for Year 7 students from September 2021 will be available at Bristol Brunel, John Cabot, and City Academies, with Bristol Metropolitan Academy maintaining current admission numbers. This should ensure that local children will be able to secure a place at a local school that is at least ‘Good’, both within the CLF and the other excellent schools in the area.

“We are also excited about the opportunity to maintain a strong Post 16 provision in the BS5 area, continuing to serve local students and building capacity for the growth in numbers in a new building, as the ‘bulge’ moves through into sixth form in coming years.”

CLF chief executive Steve Taylor said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to provide capacity over the past three years and am excited about the future of our Post 16 provision. It’s already very strong and the new accommodation will allow it, and its students, to really fly.”

Cabinet member for education  Anna Keen said: “We are so pleased … to provide such a positive outcome for the pupils in east Bristol and we’re really delighted that the post-16 offer in the area can be expanded.” She thanked CLF for  “incredible partnership working and commitment to the city”.