Bid to expand two lower schools given the green light

PROPOSALS to expand two lower schools were approved by councillors at a meeting of Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive on Tuesday.

The final decision on Fairfield Park Lower and Shefford Lower comes after extensive consultation with the schools, parents and the wider community showed widespread support for the plans.

Both schools will be permanently extended to provide 150 extra places each. This will mean a total of 450 places at Shefford Lower School and 300 places at Fairfield Park Lower School. A phased project of building work will commence immediately, with the schools welcoming new pupils from September 2013.

Speaking after the decision, executive member for children’s services, Cllr Mark Versallion said: “This is excellent news. There’s a growing population in the catchment areas of both these schools, so the extra places really are needed.

“We’ve worked closely with both the schools throughout this process and I am confident that they will both build on their success in supporting local children to reach their potential.

“The consultations showed strong support for the plans. But some concerns were raised about potential increased traffic congestion and possible disruption to teaching and learning.

“I would like to reassure local residents and parents that we will be working with the schools to minimise any negative transport issues and the impact on current pupils.”

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Tracey Callender, headteacher at Shefford Lower School, said: “For a number of years the lower school has operated at above its actual capacity and it has been able to accommodate additional pupils by delivering a number of minor extensions.

“With recent and planned housing development in Shefford, this expansion will enable us to continue to provide places for local children at their local school. We are really looking forward to growing further within our community.

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