A ‘much-needed’ new secondary school is due to open in temporary accommodation next year.
Outline planning permission to build the Edgar Wood Academy at a site in Bowlee, Middleton, was granted last month, and an autumn 2022 opening date was penciled in.
But the Altus Education Partnership – which will run the school – has announced that it will open earlier than expected at Hopwood Hall’s Middleton Campus next September.
Rochdale council is forecasting a shortage of 114 secondary places in Middleton in 2021 and 138 the following year, despite all the town’s schools having been expanded.
The news that the new school is now accepting applications has come as a huge boost to education chiefs.
It will open with an initial intake of 120 Year 7 pupils – four classes of 30 children.
The headteacher will be Marcin Kojder, who has been closely involved in the development of academy.
He said: “I am committed to the principle of outstanding, comprehensive education.
“Having worked for 12 years in a high performing comprehensive school in Rochdale I understand how successful educational provision can be achieved in Middleton and Heywood.
“At Edgar Wood Academy, we believe in strong pastoral support with high expectations and pledge to provide each student with the knowledge and skills to progress to an aspirational career, a fulfilling life and make a positive contribution to their local community.”
Mr Kojder added: “I am incredibly excited and privileged to be taking on the role of Headteacher at Edgar Wood Academy and will work hard to ensure we deliver a world-class education to the students and community we are proud to serve.”
Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for education, said he was delighted with the news.
He added that, with other schools in the area now ‘at capacity’, being able to offer 120 new places in September 2021 was a ‘much-needed’ boost.
He said: “It’s very good news for families. If I was living there I would just be relieved we had a new school coming on board.
“We have vacancies in Rochdale, but it would mean travelling. This means if you live in Middleton you can go to school in Middleton. We are expecting the majority of pupils to come from the Langley area.”
Edgar Wood Academy will process applications outside the normal local authority process for its opening year. Applicants may be offered two places in March 2021: one from Edgar Wood Academy and one through Rochdale council.
Parents can make their final choice once offers are made.
Applications for a year 7 place for 2021 can be made directly to the school via www.edgarwood.org/apply
Altus Education Partnership is now consulting on its proposals to open Edgar Wood Academy in September 2021. Further information can be found on the school’s website: www.edgarwood.org/consultation.