New primary school places for Nottinghamshire children

Heatherley Primary School, Heatherley Drive, Forest Town.
Heatherley Primary School, Heatherley Drive, Forest Town.

More than 700 new places have opened up in primary schools across Nottinghamshire after a number of unhappy parents have been unable to get their children into their preferred schools.

Work carried out by the county council, which cost £5.5 million, has made 720 extra places in eleven primary schools across the region, which it says is to “meet growing demand across certain areas of the county”.

Expansions at Heatherley Primary in Forest Town, Mansfield has secured places for 105 more children, whilst Butlers Hill Infant and Nursery in Hucknall can now accept 45 more pupils.

Sir Edmund Hillary Primary School, Worksop, can also now accommodate for 30 more children.

Most of the places were ready as the schools re-opened their doors after summer, but some of them were completed in the remainder of September.

Councillor John Peck, children and young people’s committee chairman at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “When expanding the permanent capacity of primary schools, we provide additional places throughout all year groups, rather than just first admission places.

“This is necessary as the increase in demand for primary places has been, and is likely to remain, sustained for some years.”

Chad reported on this issue in June when frustrated parents got in touch to say their appeals were “pointless” and their children had been left without school places.

Mum-of-three Claire King attended three unsuccessful appeals to get her daughter Emma into a preferred primary school.

She said: “They didn’t even take our information into consideration, it’s just a waste of our time.

“If there is nowhere to put the children then why are they bothering with the appeals?

“We have followed their procedures. But through all this they are forgetting the children that are actually behind it.”

Many of the problems with schools becoming too full were down to new laws which only allows a certain amount of children in a class.

But following this higher demand for places and a 1.5 per cent drop in children getting their preferred schools since last year, the council has set to work to extend schools to allow more pupils.

Coun Peck added: “We’re also committed to expanding the junior schools linked with these infant schools and will starting building work for an additional 480 places at the related linked junior schools this autumn so that sufficient places are available once the larger class sizes move into Key Stage 2 in 2018.”

Expansions which have been taking place since 2013 have now created 3,200 more primary school places - a total investment of almost £48 million.

And Coun Peck added that discussions have already begun for potential expansions for next year and the council also received funding last year to replace twelve schools across the county.

Fountaindale Special School in Mansfield, opened its doors for the first time last November.

The re-build of Ladybrook’s Flying High Academy is due to be completed in November, and Newark Academy is set to be finished in January.

Coun Peck said: “By the end of 2015, we also expect to have completed the vast majority of our Schools Capital Refurbishment Programme at all of our 260 maintained schools at a total investment of £86 million including Pinewood where work was also carried out over the summer to upgrade the fire alarm system and electric and replace the school hall ceiling.”