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Church of England Free School: South Birmingham

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th May 2018.

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Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak 12:00 am, 14th May 2018

What progress has been made on plans for a new Church of England free school in south Birmingham.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

As the hon. Gentleman will know, it is planned that Christ Church Church of England Secondary Academy will open in September 2021. Feasibility studies have been completed on the proposed site on School Road in Yardley Wood and will be shared with local residents at ward meetings in advance of the formal planning application in the late autumn.

Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

I am grateful for that information. About this time last year, Ministers and officials told us that they could afford to close Baverstock school in Druids Heath because they had more than sufficient places in south Birmingham. Now it transpires that around that time they were planning to build another school a mile and a half down the road on playing fields used by local residents, including Maypole Juniors FC, for a variety of recreational activities. Can the Minister talk us through the economics of his decision?

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The decision to locate and build the new school in Yardley Wood rather than on the Baverstock site is supported by Birmingham City Council, as that location will help address the need for new secondary school places not only in the Selly Oak area but in the neighbouring Hall Green area. The feasibility study shows that the site can accommodate a school and make greater use of the playing fields, and will significantly improve sporting facilities for both pupils and the local community.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

No, no. Gainsborough in Lincolnshire is a splendid place, but it is a considerable distance from south Birmingham. I know that I can rely on the ingenuity of the hon. Gentleman to give us his thoughts on another matter at a later point in our proceedings, but not much later, I am sure.