'Not practical' for mixed-gendered upper school in Windsor, cabinet told

James Bagley, Local Democracy Reporter

'Not practical' for mixed-gendered upper school in Windsor, cabinet told

It is 'not practical' for Windsor to have a mixed-gendered upper school as there is ‘no need or funds’, council bosses have heard.

Cabinet councillors were urged to consider adding a third, co-educational high school in the area by Windsor resident and former Conservative candidate Lars Swann, who accused them of 'failing the children of Windsor' for not implementing one.

He believed a mixed-gendered class environment should be an option for pupils as well as transgender children rather than single-sexed as it would be a 'better option' for them, and they will be 'better prepared' for a diverse workplace when they leave school.

Mr Swann also submitted a petition, which gained 98 signatures in total.

Windsor has a three-tiered school system in place, compromising of infant or junior, middle, and upper schools rather than a two-tier, primary and secondary.

The only upper schools in the area are the Windsor Boys’ School and the Windsor Girls’ School – both of which are both part of the Windsor Learning Partnership multi-academy trust.

This was triggered following a consultation for the council to support Windsor Girls’ School by adding more placements from 208 to 230, as well as including more classrooms, and extending their pitches and car parking.

This is because they 'expect' a shortage of Year 9 places from September 2023.

As the consultation was received largely positively, senior councillors agreed to set aside an undisclosable sum for this work to commence at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, June 24.

Mr Swann, who was not at the meeting but submitted a video that was transcribed, argued rather than investing money in extending the girls’ school, the council should build a mixed-gendered school in Windsor.

He also pointed out the next nearest upper school is Churchmead School in Datchet, which is far away for pupils to commute to.

Speaking at the meeting, Kevin McDaniel, executive director of children’s services, explained 'it is not practical' to build a third upper school for all genders.

He said: “To build another school that is co-educational, we would have to be adding another 200 places a year, 10 times the number.

“We don’t have the need, we don’t have the capital funding to build it, and even if we did build it, the schools would not receive the revenue because the revenue they receive every year to run the school is generated from the number of pupils who attend.”

Mr McDaniel added he was 'very confident' from talks with the chief executive of the Windsor Learning Partnership the schools make 'good provision' for transgender pupils.

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