A cabinet meeting at Wigan Town Hall saw the approval of recommendations to allow Golborne High to admit 230 pupils in Year 7 as of September this year.
The budget release will be £1.2m for the construction required to accommodate this many students. It was said at the meeting that housing developments in the area as well as the increasing success of the school is the cause for soaring demand for places.
This action was taken to avoid the risk of insufficient secondary school places in the area of Lowton and Golborne.
The Lowton school will also open a new block in September 2023 in order to accommodate the extra students.
“If no action is taken there will be insufficient secondary school places in the Golborne/Lowton school places planning area to meet demand,” a report said. “The expansion of Golborne High School will create more good school places.
“Golborne High School has recently begun a consultation to convert to an academy. Given Government policy, this is open to all schools at any stage.
“A change to academy status will bear no risk to this proposal because our modelling demonstrates that we need additional school places in this area and the expansion of Golborne High School will allow us to provide those additional good school places.
"While Golborne High School is currently not an academy, it is not unusual for us to negotiate for an increase in school places with academies, and for us to make capital investment in those academies to meet our statutory obligation to ensure sufficient school places.”
The report went on to showcase that this was the most cost effective option with the Department for Education policy stating only good or improving schools should be expanded. This rules out an expansion of Lowton CE high School which ‘requires improvement’ and has seen a drop in intake from 230 to 170 over the last decade.
Other options included: doing nothing (contrary to council policy), installing mobile accommodation at the school (too expensive), and building another school site. None of these options were preferred by Wigan Council.
Golborne High School has been described as a high performing school that is consistently oversubscribed.
The school was last inspected by education body Ofsted in December 2019.
That inspection found that the school continues to be “good” – a status the school has held for more than a decade – and that “there is enough evidence of improved performance to suggest that the school could be judged outstanding by an inspection now.”
Tomeet parental preference for the school better, expansion took place to increase the number of children the school could admit, increasing capacity from 180 to 230.
The previous increase in the size of the buildings has allowed it to admit over its published admission number for a three-year period.
Improvements in GCSE performance at Golborne High have taken it in the borough league table from the middle to near the top.