Sixth Form Extension Proposal

Sixth Form Extension Proposal

Balcarras is proposing an increase to admissions in the sixth form.  By 2024 Balcarras will admit an additional 50 pupils into Year 12.

Balcarras Sixth Form is an outstanding Post 16 provider.  Balcarras was designated a “World Class” school on 5th November 2018.  In the last OFSTED inspection (2014) it was judged, once again, outstanding against every criteria, with the sixth form highlighted for particular praise. 

“The sixth form is outstanding. The quality of teaching, leadership and what the school provides is exceptional. Students gain a very high standard in examinations.”  OFSTED

The ALPS score is the highest in the county and this is reflected in the ever-increasing number of pupils applying for a place at Balcarras Sixth Form.

In 2018 “The Times” newspaper recognised Balcarras as the highest performing comprehensive school at A Level in the Southwest Region.

Pupil Increase

The additional pupils will all come from the local area (within a radius of 2.4 miles of the school)*.  Balcarras is very keen that Sixth Form pupils walk or cycle to school.  The increase should have negligible effect on traffic congestion in Charlton Kings.

* In September 2018 admissions into Year 7 live a maximum distance of 0.94 miles from the school

The figures from Gloucestershire show that there is a significant increase in numbers of school age pupils resident in the county.  The “Strategic Review of Secondary Planning for Cheltenham, November 2017” gives the following information about increasing pupil numbers in Cheltenham:

  • There has been pressure on local primary school places in Cheltenham since 2011.  This is the result of an increase in the birth rate locally and naturally changing demographics, coupled with additional pupil yield from new housing. This growth has been significant and resulted in the need to provide substantial additional temporary and permanent school places at existing primary schools.
  • It is anticipated that between 2018 and 2023 the overall basic need growth across all years 7 to 11 will be in the region of 750 pupils. In 2018 there will be a need for additional places to meet localised demand in the south of Cheltenham. This will be managed by Pittville School increasing their PAN to 175. At the same time, Cheltenham Bournside School will also increase their PAN from 270 to 300, funded in part through a S106 agreement – providing 999 Y7 places across the Cheltenham Education Planning Area.
  • In addition to the overall basic need growth outlined, there will also be a further pupil yield of 276 (years 7 – 11) emerging in this locality as a result of the proposed new housing. These additional pupils equate to around two additional permanent forms of entry by 2021. This overall pupil yield is expected to increase to a total of 321 by 2023.

The strategic review demonstrates that the proposed increase in sixth form numbers at Balcarras will not negatively impact on other Post 16 providers in Cheltenham.


Building Extension

Balcarras has applied for funding from the DfE for an extension to the sixth form block to accommodate the increase in pupil numbers.  The building will be located on the school site and be designed to fit in aesthetically with the current school buildings.

Planning permission is supported in principle from the local planning officer (ref: 18/00623/PREAPP).


“The principle of extending the existing sixth form centre is considered to be acceptable. Additionally, the proposed continuation of the existing design of the building is considered to be an appropriate design approach. It is suggested that a landscaping plan be submitted with any future application to overcome the loss of the trees and green space. It is considered that there are public benefits as a result of the proposal therefore if an application is to be submitted officers would be supportive, subject to the final design.”

Planning Officer for Cheltenham Borough Council

Consultation Phase

 A consultation about the sixth form extension is now open.

If you would like to give your opinion about this proposal then please complete the questionnaire below and return it to Balcarras School, alternatively if you have access to the school VLE then you can complete this questionnaire online.