Concerns raised over need for extra school to be built
PUBLISHED: 15:21 17 July 2019
Fears have been raised there will not be enough demand for a new school which is due to open next year.
Clevedon Learning Trust (CLT) won the right earlier this year to run a new primary at North End, but concerns were raised at Monday's Yatton Parish Council meeting about the viability of two infants schools in the village.
The new school's construction was precipitated by an influx of house-building projects, with Bloor Homes' three-phase estate at Arnolds Way the biggest example.
Planning permission for approximately 170 homes has also been granted off the eastern side of the Arnolds Way roundabout and also dozens of homes on the former Titan Ladders factory site.
Persimmon Homes' plan to build about 60 homes off Moor Road was rebuffed by North Somerset Council last month but were due to be debated again this afternoon (Wednesday).
Cllr Jill Iles said the infant school did not have a full intake at the most recent round of parental applications, adding fears a 'sparkling' new primary at North End may exacerbate the problem of a slowing birth rate.
Cllr Rachel Batchelor though argued whether parents would want to send their children to a new school with low pupil numbers, with only a reception class and maybe one other likely to open in September 2020.
John Wells, CLF's chief executive, said it will not 'market' school places to try to entice pupils to leave the infants school.
He said: "If there are too few (applications next year) and it's not viable then there will have to be a question about opening."
But Mr Wells added there had been several expressions of interest in nursery and reception places from people living on the new estate already.
He said the new primary's ethos will be one of working with the infants and junior schools, as well as other trust members in North Somerset.
Mr Wells said: "It's not a competition. It's a collaboration for people in the community."
North Somerset Council promised £4million to the project last year and controls the design and planning stage.
The school's prospective look, and the agricultural barn-style hall, has been criticised by the parish councils and neighbours living at North End.
CLT will decide on the school's name, logo and uniform.