Herts: More Primary School Places Planned

Hertfordshire County Council has agreed to fund the expansion of five primary schools as the demand for more pupil places is set to increase over the next four years.

At at meeting yesterday (Mon 26th November), Hertfordshire County Council looked at the rise in demand for pupil places across the county - and gave the go-ahead for plans to proceed to expand five existing primary schools.

Frances Button, Cabinet member for Education at Hertfordshire County Council told Heart: "Over the past four years, we've had to cater for an extra 2,400 pupils into the county - so we've agreed to press ahead with the expansion of the five primaries most in need of extra capacity. Subject to the normal planning submissions, we'll see extra place by September 2014 for PARKSIDE in Borehamwood, ST MICHAEL'S ON THE GREEN in Welwyn, SANDRIDGE in St Albans, THE GROVE JUNIOR in Harpenden and ICKNIELD INFANTS & JUNIOR in Letchworth Garden City."

Meanwhile in Berkhamstead, there's been a consultation over the possible change from a 3-tier to a 2-tier education system - which - according to Ms Button has been widely supported by the public, parents and schools.

It would mean changing two existing primary schools to allow them to cater for 3 to 11 year-olds, from the present 3 to 9 year-olds.

ST MARY'S CHURCH OF ENGLAND FIRST SCHOOL in Berkhamstead had no objections to the change but a couple of objections were lodged at the POTTEN END VOLUNTARY CONTROLLED FIRST SCHOOL.

Mrs Button explained that: "When there are no objections, normally the Director of Education can put a tick to the box giving the immediate go-ahead.  In the case of Potten End, we considered there was such over-riding support of the change that we'll be going ahead with both schools' expansion plans.

Across Hertfordshire we are seeing an 18% increase in demand for new pupil places with hotpots being St Albans, Harpenden and Watford. In Watford especially there's the need for two completely new primary schools - with an extra capacity of 180 new places in the next 2 to 3 years. We are working with Watford Borough Council to find locations for these new schools."

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