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Primary school to double in size
8:00am Friday 25th October 2013 in News
ORCHID Vale Primary School is set to double in size to cope with the pressure of increasing numbers of children.
It is the last school in the area to expand after the council set out a plan to deal with a lack of primary school places last May.
Eight new classrooms have been approved in the school’s expansion which will allow capacity to rise from 210 pupils in 2010 to 420 by 2017.
The two-storey extension will be connected via a walkway and, as well as the classrooms will have three toilet blocks, four group areas, a nursery and an assembly room.
Headteacher Debbie Kalynka said: “The design of the extension will give us much needed space. There is quite a tight fit at the moment, so it will be lovely to move into the new rooms as we fill up.”
The influx of children who are entering reception and nursery school places in north Swindon has provoked concern that large-scale planned housing developments there would lead to an unsustainable pressure on the system.
Orchid Vale has had to reduce its catchment area significantly. It currently covers a large area of Haydon End, but there are no plans to extend it after the new classrooms are installed.
The school is also launching its new Travel Plan to encourage children who live further afield to seek alternative methods of transport. The new plans will allow an additional 11 car parking spaces and a new drop-off zone for parents will be introduced.
“We have not had many problems with parking in the past, but we want to minimise any disruption,” said Debbie.
As one of the last primary schools to expand Orchid Vale is building on the 676 school places created over the past six years.
A consultation on secondary school places is under way as the council predict a shortfall of 150 places over the next five years. That will rise to 810 places, or 27 forms of entry, by the 2020s.
Public consultation meetings will take place throughout November at secondary schools parents’ views.
A questionnaire is also available at www.swindon.gov.uk/secondaryplaces.
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