The Trinity School Consultation

Trinity Crest clear background

We are delighted to announce that The Trinity School will open in September 2021. Residents will welcome the news of 120 additional secondary school places to serve the needs of the community in North Colchester. This exciting development will initially open on the site of The Gilberd School before it moves to its newly built school on Cordelia Drive in the Chesterwell Development.

The Trinity School will be opening in September 2021 and will provide the highest possible level of education for children of secondary age in North Colchester. The Trinity School will be part of The Alpha Trust; a multi-academy trust which knows this community well. Alpha comprises of four local, high performing schools:  The Gilberd School, Colchester County High School for Girls, Manningtree High School and Home Farm Primary School. Mrs Exley, Headteacher of The Gilberd School, will also be the Executive Headteacher of The Trinity School and will ensure that this new school benefits from the experience and established heritage of its parent schools.

With millions of pounds of public money at stake, the process of The Department for Education providing a new school that best fits the community’s needs is a painstaking one and the delivery of the new site has been delayed. The Trinity School will initially share The Gilberd School’s site until it moves to its new home.

It will be a “school within a school” in many respects. Students will be wearing The Trinity School uniform, have their lessons together and be supported by their own key staff, especially in terms of pastoral care. They will be able to take advantage of The Gilberd’s outstanding facilities and take part in the full range of extracurricular activities, such as the widely renowned school production, sports teams and student leadership opportunities. New schools often find that their students miss being with older peers; Trinity students however, will be mentored by The Gilberd School’s outstanding Prefects and Student Mentors. This first year will be a fantastic opportunity to draw on the heritage of The Gilberd as Trinity’s students and staff begin to form their own school’s identity.

We are pleased to announce that from Monday 13th July 2020, The Alpha Trust is opening its public consultation as part of the pre-opening process for The Trinity School Colchester. This consultation is necessary as part of the legal requirement set out in section 10 of the Academies Act 2010 and is often known as a ‘Section 10 Consultation’. The consultation period will run until Sunday 18th October.  Aside from the statutory element of the consultation, it is also important to us that the local community have a voice in developing the character and nature of their community’s new school.

There will be a series of public meetings, held virtually via Microsoft Teams and we would encourage anybody interested in the new school to read and view the information available on the school’s website: Then, if you would like to take part in one of the meetings, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If social distancing restrictions allow for public meetings in September, we will arrange these then.

Mrs Linda Exley
The Gilberd School

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. When will the school open?

The school will open to its first cohort of 120 Year 7 students in September 2021, as planned. Due to the site not being ready in time however, The Trinity School will share The Gilberd School’s site for the first year.

  1. How will this contingency plan work?

The Trinity School will have its own classrooms in a specified area of The Gilberd’s site, along with its own Headteacher and staff. Students will be wearing The Trinity School uniform and have their lessons together. It will be a school within a school.

  1. Why have the Pupil Admission Number (PAN) dropped from 180 to 120?

The Gilberd School is already heavily over-subscribed and as such, is a very full school. Analysis of the site’s capacity to host extra students, combined with analysis of the likely demand for secondary school places in the area resulted in 120, which will be 4 forms of entry, being the highest manageable number of students we can open to.

  1. Will this stay the same for future years?

No. The school will ultimately have a PAN of 180 in each successive year group, once we are located on the new school site.

  1. Why won’t the site be ready?

The Alpha Trust have done everything possible to work with both Essex County Council and The Department for Education in order to get the school open for 2021. With millions of pounds of public money at stake it is however, a painstaking process that results in over 50% of new schools opening late. Clearly, the pandemic has also played a further part in delaying the construction. The Trinity School will not open late, as detailed earlier, but we are having to be patient in our wait for the keys to the new site to be handed over.

  1. Can I apply for other schools as well as The Trinity School?

Yes you can. As a new Free School, Trinity will stand outside of the county admissions procedure for its first year only. This means you should complete and return the Essex County Council’s  ‘Common Application Form’ by the October deadline, detailing the other schools you wish to apply for.

  1. How do I apply for a place for my child at The Trinity School?

You should complete a separate application form for the school which is available on both The Trinity School and The Gilberd Schools’ websites or directly from The Gilberd School. The completed form should then be returned to the applications officer for The Trinity School either electronically to via email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by post to: The Admissions Officer, The Trinity School, c/o The Gilberd School, Brinkley Lane, Colchester, C049PU

  1. What is the application deadline?

The deadline for applications to The Trinity School is  February  1st 2021.

  1. When do I need to decide if I want to take up my offered place at The Trinity School?

On National Offer day in March 2021, your child will be offered a school by Essex County Council and we will also inform you if we are able to offer your child a place at The Trinity School. We will be asking for a decision regarding which offer you wish to accept by the end of April 2021.

  1. What if I decided I wanted my child to join the school once the 2021 school year has started?

Mid-Year admissions will follow the same process as other schools. A mid-year admissions form, available via The Gilberd School or The Trinity School’s website should be completed and returned. You will be informed if there are spaces available and if not, you can ask to be placed onto the school’s waiting list.

  1. What is the link with the Alpha trust?

The Alpha Trust is a small multi-academy trust (MAT) comprising of 4 high performing, local schools. Colchester County High School for Girls, The Gilberd School, Manningtree High School and Home Farm Primary School. Whilst The Trinity School will become the fifth school in the MAT, its name is derived from the collaboration of the three secondary schools who combined to found The Trinity School.

  1. What is the school’s link with The Gilberd School?

Once it became clear that there was a need to open a new Free School to serve the ever-expanding north of Colchester, The Alpha Trust were keen to take responsibility for this school. The Gilberd School is a very successful, heavily over-subscribed school based in Highwoods, Colchester . Mrs Exley, the Headteacher of The Gilberd, will be the Executive Headteacher of The Trinity School also and will ensure that this new school benefits from the experience and established heritage of its parent school.

  1. Will The Trinity School have its own character?

Yes, absolutely. The students, staff, parents and governors will all help shape the character of the new school. To carry on the parent/child analogy, Trinity will, like any child, learn from its parent schools but will also develop its own personality and ways of working. The first cohort to join the school will have an exciting opportunity as trailblazers!

  1. What will the school look like?

The secondary building will be based to the East of the site, with access from Cordelia Drive. It will have specialist classrooms, including a theatre space and a large sports hall. It will have good access for cyclists and pedestrians as we are hoping to ensure it is a very ‘green’ school.

  1. When is the Primary school opening?

The Primary School is not being built yet. When completed, it will be built to the south-west of the secondary site and will be completely separate building. This school is due to open in September 2024 and will be 2 forms of entry.

  1. What are the admission criteria for the school?

The admissions criteria are available on the school’s website. One of the key criteria to be used if the school is over-subscribed, is straight-line distance from the school

  1. Will the straight-line distance criteria be measured from The Trinity School site or The Gilberd School site in the first year?

Although the school will be based on The Gilberd site in its first year, distance to determine admissions will be measured from The Trinity School site, using the FreeMapTools online geographical information system. From 2022 (when the school will be operating as part of the Essex co-ordinated admissions process) the distances will be determined by the Local Authority, using the Council GIS system and routines that are already embedded as part of the co-ordinated admission process.

  1. Why does the school not have a ‘catchment area’?

We believe that a straight-line distance is the fairest and most transparent system to use. If a catchment, or ‘priority admissions area’ is set, The Gilberd School’s experience has been that parents feel they are assured a place as they are “within catchment” whilst in fact, the straight-line criteria would still have to be applied when the school become over-subscribed from within its priority admissions area.

  1. What will the uniform be like?

Graphics showing the school uniform are available to view on the school’s website. It will be a smart, formal uniform that is in keeping with the unashamedly high expectations and aspirations that will be set for Trinity students.

  1. Will the school’s facilities be open for public use?

Yes. Part of the design process is to ensure that, outside of school hours, areas or the school’s facilities, such as pitches, the sports hall and drama studio can be made available for use by the local community.

  1. How can I have a say on the development of The Trinity School?

We were planning on having a series of public meetings this term as part of the public consultation process. The lockdown has obviously made this impossible but we are still keen to hear your views and to answer any questions.

Please do watch the consultation presentation, available on The Trinity School’s website, look at the other information on the website and then contact us via email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) if you have any comments or questions. There will also be a series of public meetings via Microsoft Teams. Please see the website for details.

  1. What is a Section 10 Consultation?

As part of the consultation process for opening the new school (known as the “Section 10 Consultation” as this consultation is required under Section 10 of the Academies Act 2010) all stakeholders, be they parents, local schools, local residents or community groups are required to be given the opportunity to voice their opinions on how the school should develop.

  1. How long is the consultation process?

The normal length of the consultation process is 6 to 8 weeks. Due to the pandemic, we have delayed the consultation as long as possible in the hope that we might be able to host some public meetings. This however is clearly not possible and instead we are running meeting via Microsoft Teams and using the website and social media to publish information. The consultation period will open on Monday 13th July and will run through until Sunday 4th October.

  1. What is the funding agreement?

As a Free School, which is a form of academy, The Trinity School will be publicly funded. The Secretary of State will therefore need to be satisfied that The Trinity School and by extension, The Alpha Trust, is both capable and willing to provide the level of education required for the local community.

  1. Do I need to complete the questionnaire?

Yes please. The Section 10 consultation process is an important element in forming the Secretary of State’s decision to enter into a funding agreement with the Alpha Trust and so fund the school and your responses help in forming this decision. The questionnaire responses will also help guide our plans to ensure The Trinity School provides what is required by its stakeholders in the community.

If you have any further questions, do please contact us by telephone at The Gilberd School on 01206 842211 or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.