Suffolk County Council’s cabinet has approved plans to expand seven of its primary schools to meet an increased demand for pupil places - with Clements Primary School in Haverhill one of those set to benefit.
Councillors gave the nod to the proposal to increase the classroom provision at seven West Suffolk schools at its meeting on Tuesday (September 10).
The council decided to act to meet the demand at each of the schools for extra pupil places,using forecasts based on a combination of birth and housing data in their respective areas while taking into account the impact of parental preference.
At Clements Primary, the early years area will be remodelled and three new classrooms built to accommodate the rising number of children there.
Eventually the school will see each of its year groups, from reception to year six, rise from 30 to 45 pupils.
This will see the current roll (including the nursery, whose numbers will not change) rise from its current 259 pupils to 341.
For the school’s head teacher, Lesley Farrow, the expansion has come as very welcome news.
She said: “Certainly over the last few years we’ve had situations where we’ve had children with us for a year in nursery and there’s not been enough places for them to come to us in reception which has been heartbreaking for them and parent.
“So to have enough places for them to come to us will be great.”
Building work is anticipating to start early in 2014 with reception becoming the first class to increase in pupil number the following September.
Overall the project is costing the county council £4m, which is equivalent to about £6,000 per extra pupil place.
The expansion of Clements Primary will therefore cost in the region of £630,000.
Having invited parents and members of the local community in over the summer as part of the consultation process to see the plans and offer their thoughts on the expansion, the idea has been generally very well received.
Mrs Farrow added: “Certainly, two years ago for the children who are in year one, when we would normally have 30 we were asked to take 60, so that’s double.
“There obviously has been a need before.
“I think some children have been offered places at primary schools out of the town and obviously for young children and obviously parents who may not drive that’s a huge issue so it’s fabulous news.”
The only concern expressed by local residents related to the increased risk of inconsiderate parking near the school.
The school will review its travel plan to address those concerns.