Needham Market: Ofsted inspector gives support to parents critical of primary school plan

An Ofsted inspector has backed parents in a row with Suffolk County Council

An Ofsted inspector has backed parents in a row with Suffolk County Council

An Ofsted inspector has given his backing to parents and a town council which have criticised proposals to expand a primary school.

In its recent inspection, Bosmere Community Primary School, in Needham Market, received a ‘good’ grade with praise for its teachers, pupils and governors. Staff there are preparing to take on extra students from middle schools in the area which are due to close next year.

Suffolk County Council’s proposals to expand the primary school by providing two extra classrooms to accommodate the pupils have been criticised by parents and the town council.

In a public meeting, organised by the town council, parents expressed concern the classrooms would offer the “bare minimum” and would “cram” children in.

Chief inspector David Jones is reported to have similar misgivings over the county council’s proposals.

The school’s inspection report states: “Her Majesty’s Inspector expressed his concern to all parties that the proposed extension will not provide sufficient additional space for these older pupils in a school where classroom space is already constrained.”

Town clerk Kevin Hunter said it was a “key issue” as major housing developments would bring an increase in the population. “We will still continue to push for the county council to take into account all the issues raised, even with the extension of the classrooms to meet pupils’ needs in the future,” Mr Hunter said.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “We have discussed the Ofsted inspector’s comments with the school and the head teacher and governors remain in support of the proposed extension.

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“The type of new accommodation being provided for Year 5 and Year 6 is proving very successful at other schools such as Ixworth Primary where pupils and teachers are saying the facilities are working well.

“The inspector’s comments appear to relate to the existing arrangement of classrooms, but do not take into account that the school has larger facilities which are not usually found in schools of this size.”