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Schools to grow to meet demand

PLANS are moving forward for St Andrew’s C of E Primary School in Shottery to more than double in size to accommodate children from families moving into the 800-home development scheduled for the village.

Ettington Primary School is also set to get a new classroom to cope with demand for places following a series of small housing sites in the village.

An entirely new building will be built in Shottery that can take up to 210 pupils while the existing school — which currently houses 88 children — will be retained for other purposes including the provision of nursery facilities.

St Andrew's head teacher, Sarah Marshall, told the Herald: “We consider it to be really good news. Both buildings will be in use and somewhere there will be a nursery. It will also enable us to do before-and-after-school care.

“Ever since I’ve been here — which was 2002 — we’ve been looking forward to moving to new premises. Having a new building and retaining the old building will be the best solution all round.”

Mrs Marshall added: “The staff are very positive and are looking forward to moving to purpose-built premises while retaining the present building, which is full of character and much loved by the community. “We want the message out there that we are not closing!”

The go-ahead for the project was signalled at a meeting of Warwickshire County Council’s ruling cabinet earlier this month.

Papers prepared for the meeting stated that the new building was planned because the current school site was too small for expansion. However, the school site was subject to a covenant which required that it be used for educational purposes.

The papers added: “The current school building would be retained for early years’ provision, accommodating nursery and reception pupils.

“The school are also reviewing the possibility of accommodating before-and-after-school clubs (wraparound care) on this site.”

Councillors were told that the new building would be paid for by developer contributions collected as a result of the local housing developments.

A county council spokeswoman said that the costs were still being worked out. She also said there was no date yet for when building work would start.

It is intended to carry out consultations on the school expansion in due course.

The county council’s cabinet has also given the go-ahead to a consultation on the refurbishment of a temporary building at Ettington Primary School, creating a seventh classroom.

It will enable Ettington to bring an end mixed year group classes, which it currently has due to a shortage of space, and increase the number of pupils it admits from 25 per year to 30.

Work will cost around £90,000 with £50,000 expected from housing developers that are currently building in the village.

It will also be subjected to a consultation.

Headteacher, David Johnson, said: "The staff and governors are delighted to be given the opportunity to enable further growth of the school.

"We are a popular school and welcome the chance to increase pupil numbers in each year group to 30 to cater for the growing demand on places.

"Furthermore we hope to provide an additional classroom which will enable us to teach all classes within straight year groups.

"We anticipate support with the project from the local community and trust the parents and children will see this as a positive step.

"Obviously the consultation will be an essential part of the process and we welcome feedback all our stakeholders."

A report to the cabinet about the Ettington expansion said: “There is currently a pressure on primary places at Ettington Primary School with little to no capacity at other local schools in some year groups.

“There have been several developments permitted in Ettington in the last year mounting to approximately 70 dwellings which is likely to yield around 20 additional pupils.”

The council has also taken the first steps to building a primary school on the Meon Vale development by seeking a sponsor, as under government guidelines all new schools must be academies.

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