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Why this Campaign?

The problem
Benefits of a local school
Difficulties with no local school
Current schools


Our community deserves a high-performing, well-run new non-selective secondary school to deliver an excellent education to the 70% of our children who do not qualify for a grammar school.


Request for your support

Please write to:


Write your personal concerns about the lack of a non-selective secondary school in Burnham.


There is a post box in Burnham Park Hall for your letters on paper and postcards which will be delivered for you.

The problem
Benefits of a local school

Difficulties with no local school
Current schools
Demand for school places
Opendale site
Campaign Objective
Council responsibility
Buckinghamshire Council response to the campaign
Department for Education response

Online access

Facebook group Burnham needs a secondary school



The problem

  • Burnham and the surrounding area have a population of over 20,000 and NO secondary school to complement Burnham Grammar school.

  • Every other location in Buckinghamshire with a grammar school also has a non-selective school for the other 70% of pupils.

  • This discriminates against the 70% who do not pass the 11+. They have a more tiring, stressful and costly journey. They are separated from siblings and friends and miss out on social activities.

  • The community as a whole suffers from lack of facilities normally provided by a school.

  • Families move away to get a local school affecting house prices.

  • Every day a ‘full school worth’ of children leave from 7am onwards to attend their secondary school out of the area.

  • So many school coaches and cars pollute the environment and block the roads.



Benefits of a local school

  • A local school has many other advantages for pupils.

    • Walking or cycling to school

    • Joining in after school activities

    • Sharing village events and clubs with school friends

    • Saving hours of travel on bus or rail journeys

  • With a local school, children can travel independently, and parents avoid work interruptions when travel arrangements fail.

  • Neighbours are more likely to have children at the same school and can help each other.

  • The children have local friends and clubs which they can visit independently.

  • Siblings are more likely to be at the same school.

  • There is a significant saving of up to £1400 pa on travel costs for many parents.

  • For the community, a reduction in pollution and traffic jams.

  • The school facilities can be used for sports, performance acts and other educational offerings.

  • There are more activities to engage young people and prevent boredom and avoid potential for antisocial behaviour.

  • Young people gain civic pride and ownership of their home and school being in the same area.



Difficulties with no local school

  • Long school days, often starting at 7am due to the need for extended transport.

  • Parents report problems with getting children ready before 7.30 am and how children are tired and stressed from the travel.

  • Poor behaviour on the coaches causes difficulties especially for children still recovering from Covid lockdowns.

  • About 25% of pupils are driven by parents; 50% use coaches and 25% the train. Less than 5% are able to walk or cycle (to Slough schools).

  • Parents report having to leave work when trains are cancelled or through other disruption to schedules.

  • 40 or so coaches and hundreds of cars pollute the environment and block the roads, when there should be a local school within walking distance for most children.

  • Local clubs report that children drop out after starting secondary school, due to tiredness and cost caused by the travel. Over half say that they cannot attend after school activities as there is no transport available, so they miss out on both school and local activities.



Current schools

  • Maidenhead comprehensive schools currently accept about 130 Burnham pupils each year.

  • Maidenhead is developing rapidly, and schools are oversubscribed.

  • There is a proposal for a new 7-form entry secondary school on the far side of Maidenhead to meet the demand of new housing developments. This is too far to benefit Burnham pupils.

  • The nearest Slough schools are oversubscribed with places only available to the east of Slough. Even Slough pupils have difficulty getting into a school within a comfortable walking distance.

  • Historically, half the pupils at the Burnham school lived in Slough.

  • In 2023, just 2 Burnham pupils accepted/were offered places at Bourne End Academy, which is now oversubscribed for the second year running and taking fewer local pupils.

More houses are planned in Bourne End and Wycombe increasing demand and disadvantaging Burnham. The school is on a restricted site and could never take all Burnham pupils.

  • 12 pupils (similar to last year) are expected to go Pioneer Secondary Academy which is the closest school for the south and east of the village.

  • The Department of Education issued a Termination Notice for previous Khalsa secondary school. Sikh Academies Trust took over in May 2022. It also runs Khalsa Primary School in Slough. The secondary school was put in special measures due to safeguarding concerns and was investigated for financial mismanagement. It is housed in a converted office block in Stoke Poges. Most pupils at Pioneer school are bused from Slough, although in future only half the places will be reserved for Sikh children and a normal curriculum is promised. Parents are choosing to transfer children to Pioneer from Chalfont Community College.


Demand for school places











Heat map showing demand for school places


There are 7 local primary schools: (* Year 6 students in January 2022)

  • Priory (82)

  • Our Lady of Peace (68)

  • St Peters (25)

  • Lent Rise (58)

  • St Nicolas (26)

  • Dorney (27)

  • Farnham Royal (41).

  • 70% of these (230) need a non-selective secondary school.

  • In addition, historically, Cippenham and Lynch Hill pupils also came to Burnham secondary school.

  • Buckinghamshire Council officials under-report the demand for secondary school places, because the school site is on the border with Slough and traditionally, often half the pupils have come from across the border.

  • In 2019, they said the demand (for a failed school) was less than 20 per year.



Opendale site

  • There are school buildings at the Opendale site in Burnham, with a relatively new sports hall and all-weather pitches.

  • Those extra facilities were funded by a local charity and the community but have been unused since 2019.

  • There are covenants on the site for educational purposes.

These could be overcome.

  • The playing fields are registered with Sports England, but Bucks Council are preventing their use.

  • The site has already been moved from the Education portfolio at Buckinghamshire Council, to the Assets portfolio.

  • It is being used for filming, to generate income for the council.

  • Summer school activities were cancelled again in 2022 after Buckinghamshire Council took 6 months to respond to an enquiry.

  • Currently (May 2023), the site is only used as a pickup point for coaches and for filming.




  • The Burnham school was closed in 2019 at the request of E-Act, the academy group that had been running the school for 7 years.

  • They had closed the sixth form a few years earlier.

  • The reputation was poor, staff were leaving and there was no investment.

  • School numbers had dropped to about 20 a year and the school was no longer viable as it was.  

  • Existing pupils were transferred to Bourne End which has been turned around in the last 3 years, with strong management and investment.



Campaign Objective

  • The current campaign is to open a new non-selective school for pupils aged 11 to 18.

  • Bourne End Academy and Great Marlow school are demonstrating that non-selective secondary schools can provide a nurturing environment for pupils who choose not to attend grammar schools.

  • We want a non-selective school, to complement the grammar school, offering a broad curriculum, with the ethos and culture for success, with extracurricular activities locally to productively engage children in the evenings and at weekends.

  • The site can provide a centre for Adult Education, with skills-based training and sport amenities that are available to hire for the local clubs.



Council responsibility

  • The local council has a responsibility for providing adequate school places for local children.

  • For decades, Buckinghamshire has been dependent on other authorities in Maidenhead and Slough to provide places for our children.

  • Those authorities have plans to develop many more houses which will fill their existing and planned school places.

  • The government guidelines are that travel up to 90 minutes each way is acceptable.

  • That is unacceptable when there is sufficient demand for a successful school almost within walking distance.

  • For comparison, Burnham Grammar (taking just 30% of pupils) has a catchment area of only 2.1 miles.

  • The management of the school site on Opendale Road has been moved from the Education Department to the Planning Department at Bucks Council.

  • 52 dwellings were built on the police station site.

  • The school site would have room for hundreds more. This would create the need for a new secondary school, but with nowhere to build it.



Buckinghamshire Council response to the campaign

  • “Ultimately any decision to re-open a school sits with the DfE, and current population projections are unlikely to support the need for a new school”.

  • “ The closure of the school was the decision of the Secretary of State for Education”.

  • That decision was based on pupil numbers provided by Bucks Council who only considered half of the catchment area and did not take account of the lack of investment by E-Act in management and teachers.

  • Bucks Council say there has been a “trend for parents to attend a comprehensive secondary schools in Maidenhead”. BUT this trend has developed under duress as there is no well-run school in the area.


Department for Education response

  • Department for Education depends on data provided by Bucks Council to determine the needs for a new school.

  •  It is accepting statements we would refute, such as

“At point of closure (2019) there was insufficient demand” (for a failed school).

  • “If anything, demand is expected to fall.”

Not the current status! - Bourne End and Great Marlow school are both oversubscribed with strong management and parental support. Parents are having to look even further afield to find available places.

  • “Maidenhead projection suggest no significant change in demand”.

And yet, we know there is a proposal for a 7-form entry secondary school.

  • “The demand for secondary school places in Slough is projected to fall resulting in surplus places”.

Note the fact that the 3 schools nearest to Burnham are all oversubscribed and accepting very few Buckinghamshire pupils.




Burnham needs a secondary school.

Screenshot 2023-05-31 144147.png
Demand for school places
Screenshot 2023-05-31 145501.png
Opendale site
Screenshot 2023-05-31 150000.png
Campaign Objective
Council responsibility
Buckinghamshire Council response to the campaign
Department for Education response
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