Class sizes at village school to be expanded

Published Wednesday, 28th September 2016
School children
School children

A Rotherham school has proved so popular with parents that it now needs to expand its intake.

Laughton Junior and Infant school has been oversubscribed for years with long waiting lists as pupil numbers quickly fill up.

Now Rotherham Council is considering expanding the school as part of a £1.2m plan.

The Department of Education funds would be used to not only expand existing classes, but also to carry out long overdue remedial work, including the removal of a prefab building which is currently housing the Reception class. This would be replaced with a new foundation stage unit.

The plans have already met with majority approval from parents, carers, staff, governors and pupils at the school.

Now the Council's Cabinet is expected to back a recommendation to increase capacity at its next meeting on October 10.

Headteacher Emma Gill said: "Increasing the capacity at the school I'm sure will be welcomed by parents and carers. We have a small school but one which could increase without it having a detrimental effect on the high standard of education delivered at this school. We also welcome the plans to do remedial work at the school, which we are very much in support of, as this will help with the delivery of teaching and learning at the school. Our children deserve the very best learning environment to support their learning."

Cllr Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People's Services at Rotherham Council added: "The reality is this school is regularly oversubscribed and this means we have to turn pupils away year on year, which isn't ideal. As a Council we have 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 Laughton Junior and Infant school will mean local places for local children and this will increase parental satisfaction in this area of Rotherham.

"Our corporate commitment is to make Rotherham a child-centred borough and this means giving the best start in life to all children."

The Council has already agreed the repairs, replacement and remedial work at the school as part of a capital programme for Children and Young People's Services for the next two years. The Cabinet is now recommended to increase floor space in order to allow the increase in pupil numbers at the same time as the remedial work in order to minimise disruption to pupils and staff.

If agreed, the move would see pupil numbers increase year on year in Foundation Stage from 24 to 30 for the next seven years. This would increase pupil numbers from 168 to 210 in total.

Further consultation would be done with pupils, parents and carers, governors and staff if the plans were agreed in order to set out plans and timeframes.

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