By Elliot Furniss
Saturday, February 23, 2013
PLANS are being put forward for the expansion of four Ipswich schools to meet the growing demand for primary age admissions in the town.
The first proposals to be released are for Rushmere Hall Primary School, in the north of the town.
The school is looking to add more than 200 places over the next four years, with the capacity set to go from 420 places to 630 by 2017.
Rushmere Hall has already offered extra spaces in reception for pupils starting in September 2011 and 2012 and Suffolk County Council anticipates a need to continue the arrangements in the 2013 autumn intake.
A public information event was held at the school this week and a consultation process has been launched.
Parents have until March 8 to submit their responses.
In the consultation booklet, the council says the 10 schools in the Northgate and Copleston pyramids had space to accommodate just under 4,500 children.
The report adds: “All 10 schools have been experiencing increasing demand for places, because of the rising birth rate and extensive housing development across the area.
“We are forecasting a need for an additional 90 places in reception year groups between 2013 and 2017.
“This takes into account increases in pupils arriving from new housing and an allowance for parental preference. Very few of the schools in the area have the capacity to expand further.
“In some cases, the schools are already operating at maximum pupil levels. In other cases, the sites are not large enough to expand accommodation.
“For September 2013 onwards, and on the basis of initial feasibility studies, we believe it is possible to provide 60 of the 90 places needed. We are investigating further options to provide the remaining 30 places from 2014 onwards.”
Rushmere Hall is located on a large site that would be able to accommodate extra classrooms and support buildings to accommodate additional pupils and governors are in favour of the proposal.
The consultation runs until March 8 and to submit a response visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/consultations.
The council’s cabinet will make a final decision in July and if the proposals are approved, work will begin on building the new accommodation needed by the school for September 2014.