Initial plans have been announced for a new school on land at Haslam Park as part of Wave 14 of the Department of Education’s free schools programme.
The proposed new secondary school would provide school places for the growing number of children in the area and give Bolton families greater choice over their children’s education.
Once completed, the school would be operated by the highly regarded Great Schools Trust, which already runs the King’s Leadership Academy in Great Lever.
The trust aims to deliver the same “aspirational, social and cultural advantages” of fee-paying independent schools for free and without academic selection.
As part of the proposed development, a new masterplan has been drawn up for the area which would see improvements to access and public space.
The development would be offset by tree planting and a greatly expanded nature reserve on land at Atkinsons Farm next to the park, which would attract wildlife and increase the area’s biodiversity.
Existing paths would also be improved, widened, and joined up with other nearby routes as part of a broader scheme to boost cycling and walking across the borough.
On October 19, the council will decide whether to conditionally approve transferring ownership of the land, on Haslam Park, to the Department for Education so plans can progress to the next stage.
That decision will be made following consultation with local ward members.
Proposals are still at a very early stage and any new school would only be built following further public consultation as part of a full planning process.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Anne Galloway, said:
“The proposed school is great news for Bolton parents, providing school places for a growing number of children in the area, and giving them even more choice by bringing another quality secondary school into the borough.
“It also brings advantages for nearby residents, with a masterplan which not only enhances local green space but makes it easier and more enjoyable to travel by cycle or on foot.
“As the council works to regenerate the borough and create new jobs, it is right we ensure there are enough school places to give every child in Bolton the best possible start in life.”
Shane Ierston, the CEO of The Great Schools Trust, said:
“Every parent deserves the right to send their child to an outstanding school.
“The prospect of having a new King’s Leadership Academy in Bolton means that we have the opportunity to give more families access to an education encouraging aspiration and achievement which has proved so successful at our academy in Great Lever.”