Call for compromise use of Brentwood school site

Two county councillors have called for a compromise to be reached over the future of the Sawyers Hall Lane College site.

Liberal Democrats Cllr David Kendall and Cllr Barry Aspinell have said they believe that two of the three proposed new schools should share the Brentwood site.

They attended a meeting at Larchwood Primary School in Pilgrims Hatch on Thursday of last week (May 26), at which parents discussed the available options.

Presentations were made in favour of the three proposals – a Church of England faith school, a University Technical College and a Studio School.

Cllr Kendall asked if it would be possible to accommodate both the Church school – called Becket Keys - and the University Technical College (UTC) on the site, and was told that it would be.

A University Technical College a specialist college sponsored by a university with a heavy focus on vocational training.

After the meeting Cllr Kendall said: “The site offers a unique opportunity to shape the educational choice of Brentwood for generations to come.

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“In our view the joint use of the site must be seriously explored because it would meet the hopes and aspirations of many young people.”

He said that the councillors believed the UTC would provide skills for the borough, and that there was a big demand for a faith school.

He added: “This is such a great opportunity for Brentwood and it shouldn’t be an issue which is divisive, it should be something that brings the community together.”

Andy Scott-Evans, headteacher of St Thomas of Canterbury primary school and one of the team behind the Church school bid, said he didn’t know enough about the other two proposals to comment on the idea fully.

He added: “Our bid recommends that Becket Keys Church School works in partnership with the family of schools in Brentwood, especially secondary schools.”

Stephen Capper, the current head of Sawyers Hall College who is working on the UTC bid, said: “There is no proposal to share the site at the moment though nothing can be ruled out.

“The commitment from Sawyers Hall is to ensure that there is high quality vocational provision on the site post 2012 and that the South Essex University Technical College (SEUTC) is the best way to achieve this aim.”

The Department for Education will rule on the future of the site later this year.