The new John Taylor Free School

It is always a delight when a long-planned project comes to fruition, and this is particularly so when it has taken a lot of effort and involved a lot of people.  This week sees the opening of the John Taylor Free School in Burton, the first all-new secondary school in Staffordshire in the past 25 years – we’ve refurbished many and rebuilt some more, but this is the first all new school for a long time.  It fills a well-established need in Burton where there has been a significant uplift in the building of new houses, and therefore a notable increase in the birth rate.  The build phase has lasted 2 years, and incorporates such innovations as a leisure hall that is built alongside the school that can be used by the wider community in evenings and weekends as well as the students.

The project was large in every respect, costing £30M from the County Council and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and with a capacity for 1550 pupils.   It was designed by Entrust, our education support services joint venture company with Capita, and constructed by Seddon.  Although the construction ran pretty much to plan, the whole project took a long time to come to fruition, with a wide variety of opinions on where the school should be, and what form it should take.  We are delighted that the location is close to one of the larger developments to the west of Burton, and that the John Taylor Multi Academy Trust has taken the leadership of the school, with Sue Plant as the Head Teacher.  Given their strong reputation for running other schools in Staffordshire, we are sure that this sets the school on the right track for success.

Having got back into the stride of secondary school construction, our Cabinet will be shortly considering a paper which proposes a number of new school construction projects to support Staffordshire’s growing population.

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2 Responses to “The new John Taylor Free School”

  1. Julian Cragg says:

    I drove past this new school yesterday en route to a careers event in Burton Town Hall.

    It is most impressive sitting where it does just a few hundred yards from one of the busiest intersections of the A38. Will there be any traffic management measure implemented on this section during the drop off and collection school periods?

    Can you explain the significance of the White Rose, as a long time resident of York it gives me great pleasure to see such a symbol taking pride of place in Staffordshire.

  2. Communications says:

    Hi Julian,

    There is a specific pick-up and drop-off area opposite the school, and the realigned road should help with traffic flow.

    In terms of the White Rose, it’s apparently heraldic. John Taylor was one of triplets born in 1480 who all survived to adulthood. The John Taylor High School in Barton has three white roses as its emblem, representing each of the triplets. As the John Taylor Free School is a ‘sister’ school to the high school, they have one white rose.