Posted by: iangilbert | October 31, 2011

Primary School Places

My colleagues and I have been concerned for a number of years about the lack of primary schools in the central area of the borough. For quite some time we’ve been saying that the extra development taking place in the centre of town means that the council should seriously consider building a new primary school. Last year we had a real fight over Porters Grange School. The council’s administration were telling the school that they were going to have to take another class of pupils, but teachers, parents and governors of the school were resisting saying that the site could not cope with more pupils on such a cramped site.

Following pressure from myself and other opposition councillors, we went on a site visit. I think councillors of all parties were shocked at the ideas being but forward by council officers as to how the school was supposed to accommodate more pupils, including using ‘loft space’ as a classroom. It was an absolute joke. Fortunately we persuaded officers to think again.

However, it looks like we could be faced with similar problems again this year, because the underlying issue of insufficient school places has not been tackled. Now we’re seeing proposals to expand Milton Hall, St Mary’s, Porters, Temple Sutton and Hamstel. Some of these schools do have room to expand of course, but I worry that we will be left with the situation of children being taught in hastily erected, unsatisfactory, classrooms.

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