A new home for the borough’s first “free school”, the Burnley High School, is taking shape.
The school, being built on the site of the former Habergham High School in Byron Street, will eventually provide accommodation for 450 secondary and 200 sixth form students.
The emergence of a new educational institution on the Burnley landscape will, however, raise concerns for neighbouring Hameldon Community College, which has seen its pupil numbers dwindle in recent years.
Only 40 parents have applied to send their children to Hameldon as their first choice this September prompting fears it could be forced to close.
Fewer than a third of the 150 available Year 7 places look set to be filled at Hameldon in Coal Clough Lane.
In contrast, the Burnley High School, which opened in 2014, already has 86 applicants for its next Year 7.
Run by the Chapel Street Community Schools Trust, the school’s two year groups are currently based in the nearby Parkhill Business Centre.
New headteacher Miss Vicky Povey said: “Although we have faced some tough challenges in getting this project pulled together, we are delighted with the resulting design for our new school. Developer Eric Wright Construction has kept us informed at every step of the way and worked hard to ensure that our comments and preferences are reflected in the design for the new Burnley High School and Sixth Form.”
Miss Povey said in January that around 70% of pupils came from the local catchment area.
Burnley High School, independent of local authority control, is one of very few of its kind in the country and structures its lessons on an “expeditionary” model of project-based learning. The construction work follows the decision not to refurbish and extend the former Habergham school due to the discovery of shallow worked coal seams below the site. The developers will re-use crushed demolition materials to achieve savings on the new three-storey building, which is set to open in April, 2017.