Subject to Council Cabinet approval on Wednesday 18th July, bids to open the new school will be invited from Thursday 26th July. An Invitation to Bid document will be published on the Council’s website for those interested in developing a proposal.

Derby City Council is to launch a bidding process to run a new city primary Free School being built in the Mickleover area of the City, subject to Council Cabinet approval on Wednesday 18th July.

A new housing development has been approved at Hackwood Farm, Mickleover, for up to 700 dwellings. A development which crosses the city and county boundary, with around 410 dwellings proposed in the City and 290 in the County.

Due to the limited surplus capacity and following careful consideration, a 210 place (one form of entry) primary school has been proposed, including a 26 place nursery to ensure sufficient early years provision.

The building of the new school will be funded by the Hackwood Farm developer through Section 106 funding and will serve pupils from both the City and County element of the new housing. The proposal is for the school’s catchment area to align directly with the new housing.

The changes laid out in the Education Act 2011 mean that any Local Authority planning to build a new school in the area must seek proposals from potential sponsors to establish a free school and so the Council will now begin the process of inviting bids.

This will be the first time this has been carried out by Derby City Council and, as such, is likely to set a precedent for future new primary schools. A number of future housing developments are proposed within Derby, for example, at Rykneld Road, Littleover and Castleward in Arboretum Ward.

At the end of the process the Council will be in a position to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State on its preferred sponsor, following an evaluation of proposals. The decision on which sponsor is appointed to open the new school is then taken by the Secretary of State. It should be noted that the Secretary of State will take the LA’s preferred sponsor into consideration, but has the option to decide to appoint an alternative sponsor.

In order to submit a proposal to run a new school, an organisation must be a Department for Education (DfE) approved sponsor or will need to be assessed by the DfE through their sponsor approval process. Schools that are interested in submitting a proposal to run a new school will need to have or acquire both academy status and sponsor approval.

Cllr Evonne Williams, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said:

“This is the first time we have been through this process so it is vital that we do it right. We hope there will be great interest in running the new school and we look forward to reviewing the proposals in the months ahead.”

An Invitation to Bid document will be published on the Council’s website for those interested in developing a proposal from Thursday 26th July and will remain open for six weeks until Thursday 6th September. The assessment panel will meet bidders and give a final recommendation by the end of October. It is anticipated the Secretary of State will appoint a sponsor in December.  The school is due to open in September 2019.