Multi-million pound school expansions approved

Multi-million pound plans for the expansion of three Comet country schools was granted this week to meet high demand for primary places.

New buildings at Highover School in Hitchin and Fairlands and Martins Wood schools in Stevenage were given the go-ahead by Herts County Council on Monday. The structures will allow 30 more pupils a year to enrol at each school.

At Fairlands and Highover, new classroom blocks will be built to add to the existing structures by September 2012, costing �3.3m and �2.5m respectively. Both designs follow the council’s proposals at 31 schools across the county for four separate but linked blocks, funded by the Department of Education.

Robert Staples, headteacher at Fairlands said criticism of the design, which will force the children to move outside from one block to another, was unfounded.

He said: “I think this will enhance the provision at Fairlands. Outside learning is really important to us, so our children are used to having a free-flow between the inside and outside. Children shouldn’t be cooped up inside all day – a bit of fresh air never hurt anybody.”

At Martins Wood, the standalone block proposal was rejected by governors who want a design under one roof. On Monday, cabinet members approved a �220,000 plan for temporary classrooms to be completed by September 2011.

Headteacher Tom Evans said discussions are ongoing with council planners to find an economically viable permanent solution for the expansion of the school.

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