Primary school will be allowed to expand and double pupil numbers
PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 December 2017
A primary school has been given permission to expand, after concerns were raised children would have to travel ‘some distance’ if extra places were not made available.
North Somerset Council’s executive members met on Tuesday and decided to approve plans to extend Flax Bourton Primary School.
The number of places at the school are likely to double from 105 to 210, with some of the new intake starting in September 2019.
The school, which was judged by Ofsted to be outstanding in 2015, has been over-subscribed for some time. Projections suggest there will not be enough school places in and around Flax Bourton between 2018 and 2021 if the extension does not go ahead.
In a report for the executive, Cllr Jan Barber, who is responsible for children’s services, said if nothing is done ‘it is likely some children living in the villages supported by Flax Bourton School would need to be offered school places at schools some distance from their homes’.
She added: “Such allocations could lead to an increase in the council’s home to school transport budget as there could be no local school available for these pupils.”
In a consultation, all school staff said they were in favour of expanding, and felt it would give them greater career opportunities.
The plans also have support from the Diocese of Bath and Wells, and Flax Bourton Parish Council.
The parish council has some concerns about road safety, and traffic calming measures could be installed outside the school site, along with a 20mph speed limit.
The district council has already approved £1million being made available to build two classrooms, move the reception and expand the school hall.
However, a third classroom, new kitchen and larger car park will be needed so the school can have 210 places.
An extra £1million is therefore needed for the scheme, but all the money will come from the Government’s basic needs grant, which funds school places.
The next step will be securing planning permission.
The extension could be complete by September 2019, and the school would admit a new cohort of 30 pupils a year for the next few years.