Eight Poole Schools To Expand?

A decision to make eight schools in Poole bigger has been deferred by councillors.

The council need to find room for an extra 150 children by next summer after the number of births in Poole increased by 20% between 2001 and 2008.

One of the schools being considered for funding is Sylvan First. Headteacher Sarah Leigh says alot of planning is needed: "It's about thinking right across the board, not just about classroom space.

"Particularly with the early years foundation stage, making sure we have got sufficient outdoor learning space. Making sure we have got enough space in the hall for lunchtime and PE times.

"We are going to committed and determined to make sure that any changes do not impact on the high quality teaching and learning that happens at Sylvan."

The new plans will cost more than £14 million, and would mean the improvements to Hillbourne and Longspee school have been postponed until after 2013.

Anne Newton, Strategic Director for Children's Services at Poole Council, said: "Poole has witnessed a sharp increase in the birth rate in recent years which means the council now faces a tough choice within a limited budget to find more school places to accommodate the rising numbers of children entering the education system. Crucially, we need to ensure there are enough school places in those local communities where they are most needed.

"We are extremely disappointed that we cannot proceed with our original plans for Hillbourne and Longspee at this stage, but by putting plans in place now to provide additional places at our other schools we can avoid the need to transport children as young as four to schools outside the borough."

The decision on the plans was due be made on Tuesday April 6th but has now been deferred as councillors want to consult with parents and governors before a special committee will make a final decision.

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