Two Leyland primary schools are set for expansion to make room for more children, as 53 extra places are needed in the town next year.
As previously reported in the Guardian, Lancashire County Council has admitted there is an urgent need to find more school places by September 2015, because of an influx in new houses and birth rates.
Following a consultation process with all primary schools in Leyland, two have been chosen for expansion to accommodate extra youngsters – although there are still some places unaccounted for.
Lever House Primary School in Bristol Avenue, Farington, and Leyland St James’s CE Primary School in Slater Lane are both benefitting from the scheme.
Lever House is even set to get an increased intake for subsequent years following next year’s influx.
The council’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools, Coun Matthew Tomlinson, said: “We went round schools asking which ones could take on extra pupils for one year, and also on a more permanent basis.
“We looked at which ones had room, which ones were interested and which ones wanted more children, and they came to us with some ideas.”
“We’ve been really lucky and I’m pleased that we have good primary schools in Leyland which have agreed to take on extra pupils.
“It’s a good example of the council working positively with schools, and we’ve managed to resolve the issue in plenty of time.”
Headteacher of Lever House Primary School, John Hurst, added: “We’re a good school and there are lots of exciting things that we want to do, so we want to increase the school family and have a bigger positive impact on even more children.
“We’ve been talking about increasing the overall size for a while now. We think we’ve got a lot to offer, so we’re really pleased we will be able to offer more.”
It is proposed that 16 of the additional places required in Leyland for 2015 be provided by increasing the number of children admitted to reception year at Lever House, from 37 to 53 for one year.
After that, the school’s admission number will settle at 45 for subsequent years, providing additional places to assist with demand expected to be generated from future housing developments.
More accommodation will be needed at the school, and Mr Hurst says building work will start around spring and be complete by next September. “We need to look at how best to modify and expand the building,” he explained. “We’re going to be splitting the year groups across three classes, so we’re creating an extra class, meaning the overall class sizes will decrease.
“We need to build three new classrooms.”
A further 30 places will be provided in Leyland by increasing the number of children admitted to reception year at St James’s CE Primary School from 30 to 60 places in September, for one year only.
This will be enabled by minor extension of an existing room to provide an additional class base.
Council officers are still in discussion with another school in the Leyland area with a view to securing the additional seven temporary places required.
If an agreement is not reached, the authority proposes to over-admit any additional pupils across the area next year.