Popular school set to expand
Published on Tuesday, 13th December 2016 in Schools and education news
Additional classrooms are to be added to a popular Rotherham school as part of plans to help reduce the number of pupils on the waiting list in the future.
Over the past few years Wath Church of England Primary School, in Wath upon Dearne, has been full or oversubscribed in all year groups and as a result year after year disappointed parents have been turned away from highly sought after places.
Annually it has an extensive Reception/Foundation Stage waiting list for places following the entry to primary school National Offer Day.
Now Rotherham Council has agreed to increase capacity at the school to accommodate current and future demand for places.
Cabinet members approved plans at a meeting on Monday (December 12) at Rotherham Town Hall.
As a result, three additional classrooms are to be built at the school to accommodate current and future pupil numbers, subject to a successful planning application. The building work will be funded by the Department of Education through the basic needs funding and will be included in the Council's Children and Young People's 2018/19 Capital Programme.
The move has already been welcomed by local parents, the school and governors, who have taken part in initial consultation over the plans.
Cllr Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader of Rotherham Council and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People's Services said: "Once again this is a case of a popular Rotherham school being regularly oversubscribed, which sadly means we have to turn pupils away year on year, which isn't ideal. We have a statutory responsibility to make sure local parents are able to send their children to local schools
"We pride ourselves as a Council for getting a very high satisfaction rate of parents and carers getting their first preference of schools and we want to make sure this is the same across all schools. Expanding capacity at Wath Church of England Primary School will mean local places for local children and this will increase parental satisfaction in this area of Rotherham."
Rotherham, like many places across the country, has seen extra demand for primary school places, largely driven by an increase in the birth rate and house building. This increase has had an effect on primary schools right across the town.
To combat this, Rotherham Council has invested £13.5m over the last 5 years in an expansion and building programme, permanently adding an additional 1,130 primary school places. This has meant that the borough is able to continue to satisfy a high percentage of parental preferences enabling children to attend a school of their parents' choice.
On top of this the Council is still actively looking ahead to areas where there is still a need for more places with the goal of enabling all families to continue to get a school place in their local area.
The move comes just months after Cabinet members agreed a similar expansion plan at Laughton Junior and Infant school.
Executive Headteacher David Silvester added: "Increasing the capacity at the school I'm sure will be welcomed by parents and carers. Because of where this school is situated it is popular with parents from not just Rotherham, but neighbouring areas like Barnsley and Doncaster, putting even more demand on our waiting list. This coupled with new housing developments in the area has had a significant effect for us. Having the chance to increase our intake will go a long way to reducing this issue for local parents."
The school has already expanded to accommodate an extra 15 pupils in reception two years ago, but this has not been enough to offset its popularity.