Why did our school have to close?

PORTISHEAD parents are once again questioning a decision to close a popular town primary school after it was revealed that three others will be expanded this year.

The closure of St Barnabas Primary School in 2009, because of a falling roll, caused outrage in the town. Pupils were transferred to the new Trinity Primary School in the Village Quarter, which was scheduled for further expansion in 2011, to cope with the forecast demand for reception places.

But that expansion has proved insufficient for the September intake and both St Peter’s and Portishead primary schools have been forced to increase their admission figures from 60 to 90.

Both schools will install temporary classrooms in their grounds to cope with the extra numbers, a move which will stop four year olds having to travel out of the town to receive education.

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While St Peter’s will use its temporary classroom to accommodate pupils, Portishead Primary will turn its small hall into a classroom and use the temporary building for the hall activities, including a breakfast club and after school club.

Donna Addy, whose three sons attended St Barnabas, campaigned to keep the school open. She thinks the news is outrageous.

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The mum-of-four said: “Many children thrived at St Barnabas, including my boys who had to change from a two -minute walk to get to school, to a 40- minute walk.

“Now, two years later, Portishead is already short of 60 reception places. Why don’t they just admit they made a mistake and re-open the old school?”

Mum-of-two Helen Green, who lives in Avon Way, agrees. She said: “Why can’t they admit they underestimated demand and re-open St Barnabas? It’s ridiculous to stick temporary classrooms in schools that obviously weren’t designed to cope with the numbers now being forced upon them.”

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “The additional school places required in primary schools in Portishead are for reception children only and are expected to be only for 2011.

“It would not be practical to open a whole school for one year group.”