Letchworth and Hitchin schools set for expansion

FOUR schools in North Herts are set for a permanent expansion in reception places next year, with another being considered for a temporary increase.

Hertfordshire County Council has put forward a proposal for admission numbers to rise by 29 across three Letchworth GC schools - Lordship Farm JMI, Icknield Infant and Nursery and Wilbury Junior - and by 30 at Samuel Lucas JMI in Hitchin from September 2013.

The plan would see numbers at Lordship Farm increase from 51 to 60, with an extra 10 places at Icknield Infant and Nursery which would then feed into Wilbury Junior. Temporary expansion is also being considered at Stonehill JMI in Letchworth GC.

Cabinet agreed the potential programme last week which would see 161 permanent places across the county with an investment of more than �20m.

Frances Button, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “Like many other local authorities, Hertfordshire is in a challenging position with a significant rise in the number of reception age children registered with GPs in some areas of the county than there were when the forecast was produced.

“We’ve been looking in detail at revised forecasts and it is clear that more primary places will be needed in 2013, in addition to the new places planned for 2012. This agreed programme will enable us to provide the right number of places in the right location whilst making sure that the expansions are feasible and affordable, whilst not undermining the quality of our schools.”

Cllr Gary Grindall, who represents the Wilbury ward, said he would be making a comment about the proposals during the consultation in June and July, once finer details emerge.

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He added: “Expansion is fine on the grounds that there is sufficient funding for proper permanent classrooms. There also needs to be the right number of teachers for the number of pupils and access for those taking up the places to get safely to and from school, as there has been some huge traffic problems outside Icknield School.”

The headteachers at the four schools set for expansion were unavailable for comment.

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