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Schools to expand to cope with pupil demand
8:30am Thursday 1st November 2012 in News
PROJECTS to expand two primary schools to cope with growing demand for reception places were set to be approved by Swindon Council last night.
The plans in both cases would involve seven extra classrooms being built on to the existing school and improvements to existing central facilities to cater for the extra pupils and teachers.
A cabinet panel on school organisation, made up of five cabinet members, was set to approve the projects last night, with the aim of taking the detailed plans through the formal planning process by July next year.
Coun David Renard, cabinet member for children’s services, who is also a governor at Haydonleigh, said: “We’re expanding both of them by one form of entry with a permanent build in both cases.
“Around Even Swindon last year, there was a number of cases where we couldn’t get children who lived in Even Swindon into Even Swindon school. Ward councillors were very keen we worked to expand it, which is what we’re hoping to do.
“And Haydonleigh is about meeting the increasing demand for pupil places in the northern sector. So it’s about the increasing number of nought to four-year-olds either being born or moving into the area.”
Haydonleigh, in Haydon Court Drive, was opened in 1996 as a one-form of entry school – meaning it could take 30 pupils per year – but mobile classrooms were added to increase its capacity. Even Swindon, in Pasture Close, is currently a permanent two-form of entry school.
Coun Renard said Haydonleigh, as it was originally smaller, would require more work to affect a permanent expansion, with an expansion of the existing main hall and an additional hall in the new extension, as well as a bigger staff room and other facilities.
Coun Renard said: “We need additional space for the teachers, we need space for the children to eat their lunch so it’s not just about the seven extra classrooms, it’s about the extra infrastructure required to support the additional staff and pupils in the schools.”
Swindon Council held public consultations from May to July on the plans for both schools, with a drop-in session and questionnaires sent to parents, staff and governors. The council says 71 per cent of the responses backed the plans for Haydonleigh and 67 per cent of the responses backed the plans for Even Swindon.