New secondary school on Rugby mast site will open in 2021 and be run by Ashlawn School trust

A historic image of the C Station building on the former radio mast site, now the Houlton urban extension.
A historic image of the C Station building on the former radio mast site, now the Houlton urban extension.

The Grade II listed C Station on Rugby’s Houlton expansion looks set to be transformed into a secondary school to be managed by the trust which runs Ashlawn School.

The developers behind the 6,200-home Houlton estate, Urban&Civic, this week announced that Department for Education (DfE) funding approval has been given – with the school expected to open in September 2021.

Stewart Jardine, chair of the Transforming Lives Educational Trust (which runs Ashlawn School - rated Outstanding by Ofsted) said: “Over the coming months we will be working with all our stakeholders to put in place plans for the new school.

“This will be such an aspirational place to learn, and we will be building on all the good practice across the Trust to ensure that the education on offer is of the highest standard.

“It is important, however, that we also allow this school to develop its own identity and ethos.”

The announcement comes after Warwickshire County Council warned Rugby council that the borough could face a shortage of 690 secondary school places by 2020 if current trends continue.

Rugby council responded to residents' concerns by stating shortage will decrease as the proposed new school opens at the Houlton site and the secondary school in the South West Rugby development opens in 2025.

Rugby council previously expected the Houlton school to open in 2022.

But Richard Coppell, development director at Urban&Civic, said the developer had worked with the DfE, Warwickshire County Council and the trust which runs Ashlawn over the past year – culminating in an agreement that means the creation of the school can be accelerated so it can open in 2021.

A planning application for Reserved Matters permission will now be created, alongside an application for Listed Building Consent to refurbish and reuse the Grade II Listed C Station as a school.

More information about the new school will be shared over the coming months.

The first primary school at Houlton, St Gabriel’s CofE Academy, is already built has opened after some delay, with two more primary schools planned for Houlton in addition to the secondary school.