School expansion plans to meet high demand

THREE schools in Comet country may be expanded to meet increasing demand for places.

Pressure on primary school places in the area could be eased if proposals to create new buildings at Martins Wood and Fairlands schools in Stevenage and Highover School in Hitchin get the go-ahead.

The plans would mean Martins Wood could accommodate an extra 30 reception pupils from the start of the next school year, while Fairlands and Highover could take an extra 30 each the following year.

Richard Thake, executive member for education and skills at Herts County Council, the authority responsible for schooling in the area, said the move was necessary to deal with a growing trend in demand.

“In line with recent national trends we are now seeing a significant increase in the demand for reception class places in parts of Hertfordshire and this is forecast to increase further,” he said.

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“There is a real demand from parents for more local school places for their children and we consider it vital to ensure that there are sufficient places available for very young children as near as possible to their homes.”

If the proposals go ahead the authority will work closely with schools to provide the additional accommodation needed and minimise the impact of any building works, a council spokesman said.

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A six week public consultation begins on Monday. To have your say go to and fill in the online form by February 21, or call 01438 737350 to request a hard copy of the response form.

All comments received will be considered in a report to the council’s education panel in March before a decision is taken by the authority a week later.

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