Primary schools expansion to be discussed

Proposals to expand places at two primary schools in Liverpool to deal with increasing demand are to be considered by councillors.

An Education and Children Service’s Select Committee meeting is being held on Tuesday 17 March to discuss:

• Enlarging the capacity of Dovedale Infant and Junior Schools in Church ward on their existing sites by creating an additional form of entry (30 pupils)

• Increasing the reception intake at Christ the King Catholic Primary in Wavertree from 45 to 60 pupils

The plans – which are backed by the heads and governing bodies of the schools – are part of an expansion programme to deal with a shortfall of up to 300 reception class places by September 2017 due to a growth in population and an increase in the birth rate.

By 2019, the total primary school population in Liverpool is expected to have risen by around 4,400 pupils.

The city council has received £15.4 million of funding from the Government to help address the issue and is bringing forward proposals for schools that meet the Government’s strict criteria for funding to expand by building new classrooms on the existing sites.

Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “This is about making sure that parents and carers have a good chance of getting their child into a nearby school of their choice.

“What we are doing here is using the funding to take action now to tackle the areas where we know there is the greatest demand to alleviate some of the pressure.

“The schools that we have identified meet the Government’s very strict criteria for this funding.

“We are committed to working with parents, carers, staff and the local community to address any concerns over the proposals if they are approved.”

At Dovedale it is being proposed that the reception class is increased from three to four forms of entry starting in September 2015, enabling numbers to grow slowly over the next seven years. Designs are being drawn up which will create more playground space for pupils by removing mobile classrooms and creating an additional outdoor area for reception pupils to improve their environment. To tackle concerns over increased traffic, options are being explored to provide off road parking nearby for staff as well as introducing double yellow lines. An application to amalgamate the infant and junior schools is currently being considered by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator.

At Christ the King, a second reception class would be introduced to grow numbers slowly over the next seven years. To mitigate the impact on the surrounding area, it is proposed to introduce a ‘walking bus’ and provide more space for cycles and cars.

Plans to expand St Anne’s Catholic Primary and Smithdown Primary in Picton; St Silas Church of England Primary in Princes Park and St Cleopas Church of England Primary in Riverside have already been approved.

The Select Committee’s recommendations will be considered by the council’s Cabinet on Friday 20 March when a final decision will be made.