More than 120 parents and children visited a public consultation evening on 20 July to discuss the new Great Western Academy (GWA) and see the design, in advance of a formal planning application to Swindon Council in August.
To be built on a 14.5 acre site in the north east sector of Tadpole Garden Village, on land previously allocated for employment, the school will provide teaching and learning space for 1,250 students at secondary level, and also post-16 study.
There will be five forms of entry, 150 places a year. At present the school will be fill one year at a time.
The academy is sponsored by New College Swindon and if the three storey building is approved by Swindon Council’s planning committee, BAM Construction Ltd. which has been commissioned by the Education Funding Agency (EFA), will deliver the £21 million facility to open in September 2018.
Graham Taylor, principal of New College and project lead for the GWA bid, said: “This is an exciting community project which will provide a much-needed, new school for Swindon; the third fastest growing town in the country.
“We aim to prepare learners for further study and the world of work, business and enterprise with a big focus on using IT and digital technologies to do this.
“BAM has a great record in the education sector and I believe that they will deliver a fantastic building with the best facilities in the area.”
BAM were the lead contractors in the conversion of former Swindon railway works in the town centre to create the town’s University Technical College, UTC Swindon.
The design has been developed by award-winning international design practice Scott Brownrigg. It will include state-of-the-art facilities for IT, Science and Maths, Design and Technology and the Creative Arts (Music, Drama and Dance).
At the consultation event, parent Carla Barker said: “The designs look impressive and the New College vision for education in the future is very interesting. I just hope the school opens in time and that Millie will be chosen as one the first 150 students.
Ali Dickinson from Redhouse said commented: “It sounds really positive though I’m wondering what it will be like for the first children without older students. Mr Taylor explained that New College students would act as buddies to support the pupils which will be a good experience.
“We would like to know more as details become available as my 9 year old Nathan enters secondary school in 2018 and Mae will be leaving primary school two years later.”
There will be no catchment area under free school admission rules. GWA will publish its admission criteria in 2017.