Plans for phased closure of lower school in Stewartby agreed

Stewartby's Broadmead Lower School will close in 2026/27
Broadmead Lower SchoolBroadmead Lower School
Broadmead Lower School

Plans for the phased closure of Stewartby’s Broadmead Lower School have been approved.

Bedford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for families, education and children’s services, councillor Jane Walker, told the Executive last night (March 6) that the majority of Bedford borough schools moved to a two-tier primary/secondary school system in 2015 to 2019.

“The Wootton and Stewartby cluster of schools chose to remain in a three-tier structure because of their cross-bord relationship with Central Bedfordshire,” the Conservative councillor for Clapham & Oakley said.

“Central Bedfordshire are now progressing their proposal to move to a two-tier system in their linked Cranfield pyramid of schools.

“So this recommended change is part of a wider programme of changes moving all the schools in the Wootton and Stewartby area in Bedford and the adjacent Cranfield area.

“This will align better with the national curriculum and is by far the most common arrangement across England,” she said.

The Executive was told the changes are being coordinated to minimise disruption to individual pupils as well as schools.

“It has been noted that Central Bedfordshire is currently delaying their proposals to 2026, but this will not adversely affect the proposals relating to Broadmead Lower School,” councillor Walker said.

“The statutory consultation on changes to Broadmead Lower School with effect from September 26 was supported by the majority of respondents,” she said.

Councillor Martin Towler (Conservative, Riseley) asked: “Broadmead is a rural school, isn’t there a government presumption against closure of rural schools?”

Councillor Walker replied: “Yes there is, but that doesn’t mean that rural schools can never close.

“We had to make the case for closure very strong and clear, and in the best interests of educational provision.

“And in this case most of the respondents, who were local people, felt that Marston Vale was a better option because it’s much bigger, there’s much more facilities there.

“Broadmead is a lower school and hasn’t got the room to expand and include those facilities.

“And it’s actually only 10 minutes down the road, so it won’t mean walking very much further for the people who live there.

“So we think the educational case has been made,” she said.

The Executive agreed to the phased discontinuance of Broadmead Lower School, during the 2026/27 academic year.

Pupils attending Broadmead Lower school will, on a phased basis, transfer to a newly established Stewartby Primary (on the Marston Vale Middle School site), and the school will have no Reception intake from September 2027.

The formal closure of the school will take place at the end of the 2026/27 academic year.