Mixed response to plans to expand Wollaston school

The school is currently full or over capacity in every year group bar Year Six, and was extended as recently as 2014.
The school is currently full or over capacity in every year group bar Year Six, and was extended as recently as 2014.
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Plans to increase the capacity of Wollaston Community Primary School by more than 30 per cent have been met with a mixed response.

The plans, set to be discussed at a Northants County Council meeting on Thursday (June 2), would see the school’s capacity expand from 315 to a maximum of 420 pupils.

The school is currently full or over capacity in every year group bar Year Six, and was extended as recently as 2014.

But a number of people have raised concerns over space available on the school’s site and a lack of available parking.

One consultation response read: “I am not at all comfortable with any further expansion at the school as there has only recently been a large new building and subsequent rise in numbers.

“There is simply not enough space on the current school site without compromising significantly on the outside space.”

Another read: “There is already a bit of a problem with parking and traffic flow around the school.

“There is no obvious solution to either of these problems without moving the site.”

Other primary schools in the area are also under significant pressure, with schools in Grendon, Great Doddington, Irchester and Bozeat all full, over capacity or with limited availability.

Under the Wollaston Neighbourhood Plan, the village must provide 160 more homes by 2031.

The plans would also see the school have 60 pupils per year group and single year classes, rather than mixed age groups.

Those backing the plans say the expansion is vital to ensuring children in the village can attend school without having to travel.

One consultation response reads: “The village is growing and the school needs to grow alongside this.

“The school currently has a large field, an outdoor class area and large playground for the use of the children and this build will not impact on any of these.”

The plans have been backed by Wellingborough Council and Wollaston Parish Council.

If approved, the new 420-strong intake would start in September 2018.

A Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: “We are looking to increase the number of pupil places from 315 to 420 pupils to enable more children to attend their local school.

“The proposed expansion has been strongly supported by the school and the parish council.

“The expansion would see an increase from 45 to 60 places per year group from September 2018, creating single year group classes rather than mixed-age classes as they do currently, and would involve a two-storey extension to the school building to provide three new classrooms.

“Cllr Matthew Golby, Cabinet Member for Learning, Skills and Education, will take into account all comments received during the consultation before making a cabinet member decision on the proposal next Thursday (June 2).”