COLCHESTER'S new secondary school will open in September 2021 - but initially share facilities with The Gilberd School.

The Trinity School had been due to open later this year at the Chesterwell site, in Mile End.

However, that date was previously pushed back because of delays.

Now it has now been confirmed that, for the first year, the school will operate on the site of The Gilberd.

The first year seven cohort will be for 120 children and The Trinity School will have its own classrooms in a specified area of the Brinkley Lane site.

Linda Exley will be executive headteacher, while continuing as headteacher at The Gilberd.

Braintree and Witham Times:

  • Linda Exley, headteacher of The Gilberd

She said: "With millions of pounds of public money at stake, the process of providing a new school that best fits the community’s needs is a painstaking one and the delivery of the new site has been delayed.

"The Trinity School will initially share The Gilberd School’s site, until it moves to its new home.

"It will be a school within a school, in many respects.

"Students will be wearing The Trinity School uniform, have their lessons together and be supported by their own key staff, especially in terms of pastoral care.

"They will be able to take advantage of The Gilberd’s outstanding facilities and take part in the full range of extracurricular activities, such as the widely-renowned school production, sports teams and student leadership opportunities.

"This first year will be a fantastic opportunity to draw on the heritage of The Gilberd as Trinity’s students and staff begin to form their own school’s identity."

The first year seven cohort is a drop from the initial Pupil Admission Number (PAN) of 180.

"The Gilberd School is already heavily over-subscribed and, as such, a very full school," added Mrs Exley.

"Analysis of the site’s capacity to host extra students, combined with analysis of the likely demand for secondary school places in the area, resulted in 120.

"This will be four forms of entry, being the highest manageable number of students we can open to."

The school will ultimately have a PAN of 180 in each successive year group, when located on the new site in Cordelia Drive.

The Trinity School will be part of the multi-academy Alpha Trust, which currently comprises The Gilberd School, Colchester County High School for Girls, Manningtree High School and Home Farm Primary School.

The Alpha Trust is opening its public consultation on Monday, as part of the pre-opening process for The Trinity School.

It will run until Sunday, October 4.

"It's important that the community have a voice in developing the character and nature of the school," added Mrs Exley.

"We were planning on having a series of public meetings this term, as part of the public consultation process.

"The lockdown obviously made that impossible but we're still keen to hear people's views and answer questions.

"There is a consultation presentation on The Trinity School’s website.

"People can then contact us via email - - if they have any comments or questions.

"There will also be a series of public meetings via Microsoft Teams."