A STATE-OF-THE-ART new premises plan for Chichester Free School has been revealed, but it is set to be built one year late.
Principal Guy Martyn has revealed plans to move pupils from the current location in Vinnetrow Business Park, Vinnetrow Road, Runcton, to the new site in Carmelite Convent, Hunston.
But he said he was disappointed the school will be moving in 2016 as opposed to 2015, as was originally planned.
He has the control designs for what he described as a ‘state-of-the-art’ teaching facility. Unfortunately the plans cannot be published yet as they are still at a very early stage, but he has been showing them to parents.
The school has grown from 210 pupils last year to 360 this year and it is expected to be 540-strong in its third year.
The current site will not be able to accommodate that number so Mr Martyn said he hoped the Education Funding Agency (EFA) would fund extra portacabins.
“It will see the derelict former Carmelite convent resurrected and made into a state-of-the-art teaching facility,” he said,
“The whole idea was to be here two years then move there. It’s disappointing to say the least, but there’s no point rushing into something that isn’t right.”
Much of the new site is planned to sit within the walled garden of the original convent and any new build will be in keeping with the historic landmark site.
The first plan for the new site was rejected by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) in November 2013.
The EFA’s own design team carried out a feasibility study before creating the new plans.
Stephen King, chair of governors, said the school had an unprecedented 600 parents attend its first open evening at the start of October for entry into Year 7 in September 2015.
He said: “This has given us a real boost and we are very excited that the school is already proving to be a real choice for parents even before we move to the Convent site.
“The school and the EFA are currently working hard to ensure any temporary solution either at the school’s current site in Vinnetrow Road or at the Convent site provides excellent specialist teaching facilities.
“The current school site, although not where we want to be, is an exceptional interim solution with excellent learning facilities and outside spaces.”
A phased construction will be needed.
The refurbishment and remodelling of the existing buildings and the construction of the new primary school should be complete by December 2015, followed by the construction of all the rest of the new buildings by September 2016.
For more information about the school, visit www.chichesterfreeschool.org.uk