Hereford Council News - Bright Sparks 

Bright Sparks Pre-school, rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, to relocate to convenient new site.

Herefordshire Council has been successful in its bid to create a new free school. Barrs Court Academy Trust have been appointed to lead this new school, for 16 to 19 year olds with Special Needs, which will be located on the former site of Broadlands Primary School.


Bright Sparks Early Years, which is rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, has been running for nearly 39 years on its current site, alongside Broadlands Primary School. In September 2015 Broadlands Primary School relocated to a new site, and over the last few months the council has been actively working with Bright Sparks to find them a suitable new home.


Following discussions with Simon Robertson, the Head of the adjacent Aylestone School, accommodation for Bright Sparks has been secured on the site, which is only 30m from their current location. This will enable the pre-school to remain in the local area of Tupsley.


The council will fund the full refurbishment of the area to make it fit for use as a pre-school. Planning will be applied for in the next few weeks with the move scheduled to take place by early September 2018.


Herefordshire Council is one of only 19 councils across the country to be successful in its bid to create a new special free school. The school is planned to open by 2020.


Councillor Elissa Swinglehurst, Herefordshire Council Cabinet Member for Young People and Children’s Wellbeing, said: “Herefordshire Council is delighted to be able to announce the opening of a new Free School for those aged 16 to 19 years old with Special Needs. The school is scheduled to open in 2020 and will help ensure provision and education for young people with Special Needs in the county continues to be of the best possible standard.


“We are also pleased with the successful collaborative effort to relocate the valued Bright Sparks Pre-school onto the site of nearby Aylestone School, and Herefordshire Council would like to thank Kate Shepherd, Simon Robertson, and all involved for helping to keep such a high-performing Pre-school open in the local community.


“It is one of our main priorities to give children the best start in life, and this new Free School, along with the continued operation of the ‘Outstanding’ Bright Sparks Pre-School, will go a long way to helping us achieve that.”


Bright Sparks Manager Kate Shepherd, who has also been nominated and shortlisted to receive an award from the Pre-School Learning Alliance in the category of ‘Outstanding Early Years Individual of the Year’, said: “It is fantastic news for Bright Sparks and we thank Simon and his governors in welcoming us on site. After three years working hard to try and find somewhere in the area, we can now settle again and stay in the Tupsley community which we love.


“We are all very excited to see our new home and share our new learning environment with our children and their families and welcome our new little ones who will be starting with us in September.


“For further information about Bright Sparks please do give us a call on 01432 278249 or email us at


Simon Robertson, Head of Aylestone School, said: “We are delighted to welcome Bright Sparks to our campus and support their continued success.”

Published: Friday, 25th May 2018 on Hereford Council website.