School’s expansion is ‘a step forward’


- Credit: Archant

PROPOSALS to extend a school in Backwell to cater for more pupils have been given the green light.

North Somerset Council’s children and young people’s services policy and scrutiny panel agreed to accept the recommendation to expand West Leigh Infant School at a meeting on November 15.

From September 2014, the school in Westfield Drive will be able to take 180 pupils instead of 135.

Councillor Jeremy Blatchford, executive member for children and young people’s services, said: “I’m very pleased. It should be a step forward.”

The expansion was suggested due to a growing demand for primary school places in Backwell and the surrounding area.

This year, demand for places exceeded supply and there were fears Backwell children might soon have to travel to other towns to attend school if West Leigh was not extended.

A consultation was held in September and October and 85 per cent of respondents were in favour of the changes.

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The school’s governing body also voted unanimously in favour of the proposals.

North Somerset Council’s executive committee has allocated £185,000 to make changes to update the buildings and infrastructure at the school to accommodate the extra pupils.

A planning application for the extension has now been submitted to North Somerset Council and a decision is expected next month.

The school’s library will be reverted back to a classroom, a new learning resource area will be developed to incorporate the library and IT centre and the staff room will be extended.

The extra pupil numbers at the infant school will bring it in line with the junior school. It currently takes 60 pupils each year, while the infants can only take 45.

North Somerset Council officers are currently working with the school to review its travel plans to prevent traffic congestion when pupil numbers increase.