Chiltern Academy: Free school proposal ‘would solve’ Luton place shortage

Chiltern Learning Trust chief executive Adrian Rogers
Chiltern Learning Trust chief executive Adrian Rogers

A new academy proposal would ease Luton’s shortage of secondary school places and is not the start of an ‘empire build’, according to its backer.

This morning the Chiltern Learning Trust–which runs Denbigh High School, Challney High School for Boys and Dallow Primary School– will hand in its Department for Education application to set up a new free school in Luton.

Chiltern Learning Trust chief executive Adrian Rogers

Chiltern Learning Trust chief executive Adrian Rogers

The bid, which was first revealed by our Luton Today website on Friday, would see the creation of a mixed-sex school for 1,200 students between the ages of 11 and 16.

If CLT’s plans go through the school, which would be named the Chiltern Academy, will take 240 students for a September 2018 opening.

The trust has identified the central part of Luton as the ideal location for the academy, as it is the area of the town where additional school places are most needed.

Speaking to the Luton News, CLT chief executive Adrian Rogers said that the bid is a “positive step” for the town.

He said: “Around 2,800 students go from primary to secondary schools each year and that is set to climb to 3,400.

“We see this as meeting local demand, this is not a takeover or an empire build.

“Children have got to go to a school, if we don’t provide these places someone else has got to.

“We think that as we have two outstanding secondary schools we are in a place to meet that demand.”

“We see ourselves as the solution and not the problem.”

One of the central elements to CLT’s proposal is that the academy will focus on sport, engineering and business– specialisms which could see the formation of close links between the school and local employers.

Mr Rogers said: “Although it is a new school we want to make it very traditional to Luton and things that it is known for – so that is sport, engineering and business.

“We hope we can get closer links with business so that we are providing the next workforce for them.

“Many of the children will (want to go to university) and many of them won’t and we want them to have something productive to do in Luton in terms of sport, engineering and business.

“The logo for the academy reflects all of those things.”