One secondary school, one Knights Templar
Providing the right schools at the right times is fundamental to achieving the ‘One Baldock’ principle.
This is a question that is really important for the future of Baldock and how it grows, and it is one where we haven’t got a fixed view, although we know what we think the right answer might be.
- Initially it was felt that the new development would require two secondary schools to serve the expanded town and neighbouring villages. We now believe that one secondary school, Knights Templar – either expanded on its existing site, or relocated within the site – is the best solution for Baldock and the villages in its priority catchment area.
- To work with the local primary schools to manage their current capacity and to influence the timings of new primary schools coming forward. This means filling school spaces at existing schools for new homes south of the railway before we expand any of the existing schools; and building new schools for the new homes to be built north of the railway;
- To work with the schools and Hertfordshire County Council to keep numbers and capacity under review;
- To encourage the community use of new school sports facilities at the secondary school where possible;
- To work with nursery providers to support the existing capacity within the town and plan in new provision within new schools and the new local centre at the appropriate time.
You told us…
…must plan for new schools
The development needs to work with existing schools
Knights Templar is really important to the whole community
Education is in the DNA of Urban&Civic. Schools lie at the heart of all that we do. Nowhere is that more important than at Baldock and the surrounding villages, where affection and loyalty to long established facilities rightfully run deep. We are intent on helping build upon those recognised strengths as a core component of our one town approach.
The new development will need to provide schools for the pupils that live there. To do this, we are adopting a ‘Baldock first’ approach, working out what is best for Baldock and all of The Knights Templar priority catchment area.
There will be early years facilities as part of the new primary schools, coordinating with the existing provision in Baldock, including Weston Way Nursery School.
The Local Plan policy requires that two new primary schools be built as part of the development. These will be located north of the railway line. We are working with the education authority and the local schools to understand the timing and phasing of when new primary schools should come forward. We have been talking to existing schools and are aware that some currently have capacity for more pupils. It’s important for us to coordinate our approach with any current capacity, and make sure that the delivery of new schools is timed so it doesn’t affect existing schools in Baldock and its surrounding villages.
What could happen to the existing Knights Templar site if the school moves?
The County Council (which owns the school site) would work with North Herts Council to agree the redevelopment of the existing school site, most likely for new homes and open space, although we don’t know the details at this early stage. New secondary school buildings would include sports facilities, and we are discussing with North Herts Council what might happen to the existing Knights Templar Sports Centre.
We are working with the local education authority (Hertfordshire County Council), the planning authority (North Herts Council) and Knights Templar school to find the best solution for secondary education in Baldock and its priority catchment area which includes some of the surrounding villages.
All the partners believe that one expanded secondary school will serve local families better than two smaller secondary schools competing within the town.
The school would need to grow considerably and so three potential locations are being considered for the expanded school:
- Expansion of the existing Knights Templar site, to provide more spaces for the new pupils. This would result in the school expanding from its current 7 Forms of Entry (7FE). This would be phased, meaning the school would grow with Baldock’s population and additional demand over time;
- Knights Templar School relocated north of the railway line (BA1);
- and Knights Templar School relocated between Clothall Common and the A505 (BA3).
We appreciate that the three secondary school location options may change how people and vehicles move around Baldock. For all options, we expect the number of pupils walking, cycling and using public transport to get to school to increase as a result of the measures we will put in place to make Baldock an easier place to get around on foot or by bike:
1 Expansion of Knights Templar on current site:
- no change to routes to school for existing Baldock residents and walking and cycling on these routes will improve;
- increase in number of pupils arriving and departing at the existing Knights Templar site;
- pupils from new development can use choice of routes to travel to school including North Road, the new pedestrian / cyclist crossing of the railway and improved pedestrian connections from BA2 via the town centre.
2 Relocation of Knights Templar to BA1:
- changes to routes to school for existing communities who will need to travel north to the new school;
- congestion around the existing Knights Templar will reduce; increased movements through town for communities west of Station Road / Clothall Road;
- residents of Clothall Common and new homes in BA2/BA3 (to east of Baldock) will access school via new pedestrian / cyclist crossing of the railway.
3 Relocation of Knights Templar to BA3:
- changes to routes to school for the existing communities;
- congestion around the existing Knights Templar will reduce;
- increase movements through town for communities west of Station Road / Clothall Road and through Clothall Common;
- residents of BA1 can access school via new pedestrian / cyclist crossing of the railway.
Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
Hertfordshire County Council would like to use part of the site for a SEND school to meet needs in this part of the County. This is being explored with U&C and North Herts Council and we believe this school, if delivered here, should be co-located with the secondary school.