Major build projects planned at local secondaries

Photo of the main entrance to Patchway Community School.
Patchway Community School.

The new year has seen progress being made on plans for major investment at two Olympus Academy Trust secondary schools in north Bristol.

As previously reported, it was announced in July 2021 that a proposed scheme to rebuild Patchway Community School had been selected to receive funding through the government’s School Rebuilding Programme.

The final amount of funding that will be made available for the Patchway school is still to be confirmed. According to a government press release, “funding for individual projects in the programme will be determined when the scope and delivery plans at each school are developed.”

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Patchway rebuild

The Trust’s intention is to replace the main school buildings with a completely new school, although it is currently anticipated that the existing sports hall and floodlit sport pitches will be retained. It is working towards an opening in 2024 and recently reported that surveyors have been on site for several weeks gathering information. Details of rooming and facilities within the new building are currently being worked through.

Depending on how plans for new housing developments in the Bristol North Fringe evolve, there may be a demand to increase the intake at Patchway or add a primary phase. However, the government will only pay for a ‘straight replacement’, so any such expansion would require local authority funding. The Trust is therefore looking towards a design that has the capacity to expand at a future date.

Abbeywood expansion

Photo of three students walking in front of a school building.
Abbeywood Community School, Stoke Gifford.

Another Olympus secondary, Abbeywood Community School in Stoke Gifford, could also see building work in the next couple of years after South Gloucestershire Council confirmed an allocation of £4.5 million to permanently increase the school’s Year 7 intake from 180 to 240 students.

The expansion is intended to meet an increased demand arising from new housing in the immediate area, an effect which can be expected to continue as 2,000 homes are built at East of Harry Stoke in the coming years.

Olympus trustees agreed to a temporary ‘breech’ to 210 students in 2021, rising to 240 this year, but are insistent that an intake of this magnitude is unsustainable without the provision of new accommodation.


Discussions with South Gloucestershire Council are said to be ongoing, with a view to having the building work completed in time for the 2023/24 academic year.

Architects are currently examining several options, including adding a new ‘spoke’ to the existing building, raising the height of part of the existing building or adding a satellite building.

Olympus CEO, Dave Baker, said:

“This is a great opportunity for our local communities to have high quality school facilities and sufficient school places where they need them. In the case of Patchway, this is long overdue. We are committed to making sure the best possible educational provision is available in all our local communities – this has to start with buildings that are modern and fit for purpose.”

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 13). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Patchway plans progress

UPDATE added 13th January 2023.

Statement in the Olympus Trust Parent/Carer Update published on 13th January 2023:

Senior Trust and school leaders are currently attending regular weekly meetings to discuss the forthcoming rebuild of Patchway Community School. There is a real sense of momentum. 

We hope to have a clear proposal for the shape and location of the new building and plans for room design and layouts within the next few weeks prior to the planning application process. Discussions will then start about temporary accommodation for the school while the new permanent building is constructed and completed and about plans for when the current buildings will be demolished.

Abbeywood funding confirmed

UPDATE added 15th September 2023.

The tentative target of September 2023 for building works to be completed at Abbeywood Community School has been missed.

However, Olympus Trust CEO Dave Baker has reported some progress in this week’s parent & carer update. He writes:

“We are working with the local authority on expansion plans which should begin late spring 2024, following confirmation of the additional funding needed to complete the new 10-classroom block and expansion of other facilities.”

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Cabinet report

Update added 4th January 2024.

Extract from South Gloucestershire Council’s  Commissioning of Places Strategy 2023-2028, approved at a Cabinet meeting on 11th December 2023:

“We are progressing the permanent expansion of Abbeywood Community School which will provide an additional 300 secondary school places across the age range. Abbeywood Community School is currently accommodating breach classes in Years 7-9 in advance of significant investment to increase capacity of the school.”

“Working with Olympus Academy Trust we have been successful in the bid to re-develop Patchway Community School as part of the school rebuilding programme. The current programme shows handover by Easter 2025.”