Saffron Walden primary school to expand from September – and two more could follow suit

11:15 08 May 2014

Essex County Council

Essex County Council

Archant

A Saffron Walden primary school is to expand from September – while two more have agreed to look into following suit.

Essex County Council (ECC) ­officials have admitted schools in the town are “virtually full” and steps are being taken to alleviate the pressure.

St Mary’s Primary, in Castle Street, will offer an extra 30 places from the beginning of the next school year, while expansion talks have also been held between ECC and two unnamed Walden primary schools.

Feasibility studies will now be carried out to look into the possibility, with the outcome expected in June.

Additional places at St Mary’s will allow the school to operate seven classes instead of six, giving it a total capacity of 210. Up to now, age groups have been mixed because classes were not full.

The current capacity of primary school places in Saffron Walden is 1,325. In January, 1,321 were on roll.

With just over 1,000 extra homes earmarked for the east side of town by 2031, of which planning ­permission for 367 was granted last week, demand for school places is expected to rise.

On top of the expansion of existing schools, another primary school is set to be built as part of a 200-home scheme, between Thaxted Road and Radwinter Road, which was approved by Uttlesford District Council’s ­planning committee.

Speaking at the meeting, Neil Keylock, ECC’s pupil place planning manager, said the authority had requested funding and a site to accommodate the additional pupils new housing would generate.

Places at secondary schools are also a controversial issue. Saffron Walden County High is operating above its capacity of 1,972, with the last roll count placing the number of pupils at 2,062. Mr Keylock said County High had agreed to expand to a capacity of 2,100, but no more.

He said: “We have had discussions with headteachers of all four Uttlesford secondary schools, ­considering the impact new housing will have on school places.

“We are looking at the expansion of Saffron Walden County High School and possibly Newport Free Grammar School.”

Nearly one in five pupils in Years 7-11 at the County High live outside the school’s priority admission area, according to ECC. At Newport, the figure rises to almost two-thirds.

“A large portion of children move from the admissions area for Forest Hall School [in Stansted] and Dunmow [Helena Romanes School],” said Mr Keylock.

He said: “Children moving into Saffron Walden [because of new housing] will displace those children and move them back to other areas.”

Forest Hall School is operating at half capacity. Although Helena Romanes is also under capacity, the building of up to 1,350 homes in Dunmow by 2031 means pupil numbers are expected to rise.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Saffron Walden Reporter visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Saffron Walden Reporter staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Saffron Walden Reporter account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Helen Craig with some of her sculptures

The illustrator of the Angelina Ballerina children’s books, Helen Craig, has returned to her true love of sculpture to produce a collection which is on show at The Saffron Walden Gallery until August 7.

Yesterday, 12:00
Dunmow Sounding Board Group

A new group in Uttlesford means that residents will have their say on NHS health and care issues in the area.

Fri, 15:54
Boy - The new show from HyperFusion Theatre Company

Saffron Walden based theatre company HyperFusion are set to go on a national tour of junior and secondary schools later this year with their new show - Boy.

Fri, 08:47
Mark Pivac, with guide dog Hero and Alan Ambrose holding some of the broken glass found on the street

A Saffron Walden guide dog owner has urged residents in the town to be watchful of street debris after broken glass was found strewn along the pavement in Station Road last week.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Saffron Walden Reporter e-edition today E-edition

Most read stories