Bath Voice News: Culverhay School to be demolished to create two new schools on Rush Hill with work starting next year

By John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporter: Two new schools could soon be built on the site of the former Culverhay School in Bath. Culverhay School on Rush Hill — which became Bath Community Academy for its final years — closed six years ago. But now a new special school and an alternative provision school for vulnerable pupils at risk of permanent exclusion could be built on the site.

The Department for Education will be funding and building the new schools following a successful bid from Bath and North East Somerset Council — but it is up to the council to find a site. Now the council’s cabinet are set to approve the use of the Culverhay site at their meeting on Thursday June 6.

The school land has been held for educational use since the school closed in 2018, which a report set to go before the cabinet said had cost the council a net £158,000 last year. The report added that parts of the site which were not needed for the new schools could be released from the site to be used for future housing.

Construction of the two new schools is planned to begin in 2025. The council will need to demolish the buildings — including the sports hall — and hand over the site by early 2025. Construction of the two new schools would begin later that year. The report stated that a new sports hall should form a part of the new school “as a dual use community sports facility run by the education provider.”

The council’s cabinet member for children’s services Paul May said: “It’s excellent news that funding for both these schools has been confirmed and we can now take the next step to progress a suitable site.

“Having a new free special school in our area will provide a specialist and specific learning environment for children with SEND. The alternative provision school will offer high quality educational and vocational opportunities for young people who have been excluded or are at risk of being excluded.

“The former site of Culverhay School has long been identified as a possible location for both schools and we will now consider in more detail whether it ticks all the boxes.”

Note from Harry Mottram: Culverhay School was built in 1956 as Westhill Boys’ school which evolved from the former West Twerton School as a Secondary Modern School and changed its name to Culverhay School in 1971 after the City of Bath changed the system from grammar schools and secondary modern schools from the age of 11 based on academic tests such as the 11+ exam to the comprehensive system. It became a mixed sex school in 2012 when it was rebranded as the Bath Community Academy which closed in 2018. Since then a number of ideas have been put forward including an adult education college – but now it appears the classic 1950s buildings with various additions will be flattened to make way for a school fit for the 21st century. Thousands of Bathonians will have mixed feelings about the plan as they will have many memories of their time at the school.

Bath Voice and Local Democracy Reporters

The journalists are funded by the BBC as part of its latest Charter commitment, but are employed by regional news organisations. A total of 165 reporters are allocated to news organisations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland including Bath Voice. These organisations range from television and radio stations to online media companies and established regional newspaper groups. Local Democracy Reporters cover top-tier local authorities, second-tier local authorities and other public service organisations.

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