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Thomas Cowley High School, Donington, reveals plans for new classroom block after new student intake numbers rise




Donington’s Thomas Cowley High School is preparing to take in future generations of students after confirming plans for expansion in its 300th year.

The school has applied to build a new, two classroom block off School Lane, replacing a derelict building known as Mrs Abbott’s Cottage.

Nearly 130 Year 7 students spent their first day at the non-selective secondary school yesterday, compared to a planned number of 120 students for the academic year 2019-20.

Thomas Cowley High School, Donington, wants to replace a derelict cottage with a new, two classroom block.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG171017-105TW.
Thomas Cowley High School, Donington, wants to replace a derelict cottage with a new, two classroom block.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG171017-105TW.

Head teacher Ian Dawson said: "There is an increasing need for secondary school places in South Holland, with large cohorts of pupils already coming through the primary phase of their education.

"The local area has also seen an increase in new housing developments which will further raise demand for secondary school places over the next few years.

"In order to meet local demand, we have agreed to expand the school after having taken in 128 students this September, rather than our published admission number of 120.

EXCITING PLANS: Head Ian Dawson with guests Graham and Maria Sharples, Lorna Webb and Wendy Cardillo at Thomas Cowley High School’s 300th anniversary celebrations in July.Photo: SG-170719-066TW
EXCITING PLANS: Head Ian Dawson with guests Graham and Maria Sharples, Lorna Webb and Wendy Cardillo at Thomas Cowley High School’s 300th anniversary celebrations in July.Photo: SG-170719-066TW

"Planning further ahead, we have recently held a public consultation on the removal of Mrs Abbott’s Cottage, located at the front of the school, and its replacement with a new block which will house two classrooms."

If approved, the plans will mark the first expansion of the school since 1990, adding new classrooms to a site which dates back to 1719.

Mr Dawson said: "Thomas Cowley High School is liaising with Lincolnshire County Council regarding the need for more places.

"We are still at the planning stage but this is an exciting period of change for the school and I hope that we will be able then to fully meet the demand for school places from the local community."

Thomas Cowley High School's 300th anniversary visitors book, made by site manager Dave Cox and monitored by support staff members Julie Taylor, Nicola Arnold and Caroline Kirk.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-170719-078TW
Thomas Cowley High School's 300th anniversary visitors book, made by site manager Dave Cox and monitored by support staff members Julie Taylor, Nicola Arnold and Caroline Kirk.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-170719-078TW

Matt Clayton, the county council's admissions and education provision manager, said: "We are expecting demand to increase at Thomas Cowley High School so that its Year 7 intake will go up to at least 140 young people over the next few years.

"This extra capacity will help the school to take extra pupils over their current published intake of 120.

"However, if numbers remain high we will look to complete a further phase of expansion work in the future, if necessary, subject to funding and planning permissions."

Linda Hibbitt, Jonathon Baldwin, Carol Holt, Paul Edwards and Sarah Thornton at Thomas Cowley High School's 300th anniversary celebration event in July.
Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-170719-065TW
Linda Hibbitt, Jonathon Baldwin, Carol Holt, Paul Edwards and Sarah Thornton at Thomas Cowley High School's 300th anniversary celebration event in July. Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-170719-065TW

. More than 500 guests attended a community event in July to mark Thomas Cowley High School's 300th anniversary.

Ex-students and staff were given a tour of the school as it is now and there was also a display of archives, photographs and a statue of its most famous student, Captain Matthew Flinders.

Speaking about the school's expansion, Donington district councillor Jane King said: "I think it's a brilliant idea as the proposals for more housing in Donington means that extra space at the school will be needed."

Donington district councillor Jane King.Photo supplied.
Donington district councillor Jane King.Photo supplied.

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