The Balcarras Trust
The Balcarras Trust is a new Trust which has been established by the Trustees of Balcarras School, Cheltenham. Balcarras is a highly successful 11-18 school situated in the heart of the Charlton Kings area of east Cheltenham. Consistently rated outstanding by Ofsted, it has also been recognised by The Sunday Times as the highest achieving comprehensive school in the South West. Its highly regarded Headteacher, Mr. Dominic Burke, has recently assumed a dual role as he is now also Chief Executive of the Balcarras Trust.
There are currently no other schools in the Trust, so when The High School Leckhampton opens the Trustees and Chief Executive will be well positioned to offer guidance and advice in the early years of its development. Eventually, future expansion of the trust is likely, to include other schools. Balcarras has a very strong ethos, a commitment to inclusivity and is always striving for improvement. The Trust will seek to promote these values in all its schools.
The High School Leckhampton
The new school is being funded by Gloucestershire County Council, although it will be run and managed by the Balacarras Trust. The school is being provided to meet a shortfall in pupil places at secondary level particularly in the south of the town. The £30 million facility has been years in development and was granted planning consent earlier this year. Designed by architects, AHR with oversight at every stage form the experienced leadership team at Balcarras, the school will be state of the art with excellent accommodation and facilities. These outstanding facilities will mean that the children will have the best possible environment in which to learn and, rather like Balcarras, the school will have the wonderful backdrop of the Cotswold escarpment—it will truly be a lovely place to go to school.
We believe that school should be a golden time in a young person’s life. We want our children to succeed academically and to achieve the best possible educational outcomes so that dorrs open beyond school. Few schools nationally can claim to have higher progress figures than Balcarras. Our children make superb progress academically regardless of their starting point and we will set out to create exactly the same expectations at the High School Leckhampton.
We believe that school should be enjoyable and we want children to actively look forward to coming in every day. Lively and engaging teaching is the best way to achieve this but it is also vital that there is a broad and extensive range of extra curricular opportunities and there will be.
Right from the start we want to stress that The High School Leckhampton will be a separate school to Balcarras with its own leadership team and uniform etc. Of course the two schools will work closely together as ‘sister’ schools, sharing expertise and supporting one another. The Balcarras Trust will appoint a headteacher in the autumn of 202 with the successful candidate taking up post in January 2021.
Although planning consent has now been given for the new school building at Farm Lane delays earlier in the process mean that the school will now not be ready until 2022. In the first year the school will exist on the Balcarras site operating out of a purpose built brand new building which itself is a very attractive facility. More details to follow.