Council reacts to schools’ crisis

Stone laying ceremony for the new Beardall Street School, pictured are Jenna Slater, eight and Declan Roberts, eight at the site in their new school uniform
Stone laying ceremony for the new Beardall Street School, pictured are Jenna Slater, eight and Declan Roberts, eight at the site in their new school uniform

As news of the Hucknall schools’ crisis hit the headlines last week, councillors and officers at Nottinghamshire County Council werecalled to action.

During a Full Council meeting held on Thursday 26th June at County Hall, plans for the early development of a new £3m school on the Rolls-Royce site in Hucknall were given the go-ahead.

Councillors agreed to fund, design and build the new 210 place primary school from the council’s Capital Programme.

The original plan was for the developer to pay and build the school on completion of the 320th house on the site as part of a planning agreement.

But due to the lack of school places across the town, highlighted in last week’s Dispatch, the authority have agreed to fund and build the school in advance to meet the growing need.

This would mean a revision to the Section 106 Agreement and would see the housing developer paying back the full cost of the build to the authority following the occupation of the 320th house on the site.

Coun John Peck, chairman of the Children and Young People’s Committee, said the new school was fantastic news for Hucknall parents and children and was the latest in a long list of school expansions for the area.

“The decision to bring forward the build project for a new school on the Rolls-Royce site is a very sensible one and we are now working with the developer and the district council to get everything lined up to get construction underway.

“Like most local authorities across the country, we in Nottinghamshire have been aware for a number of years of the ever increasing pressures on first admission places.

“We are proud of the fact that every child in the county will have a school place in September 2014 with 91.3 per cent getting their first preference and almost 98 per cent getting one of the four preferences on their application.”

A number of other school building projects are either planned or underway in Hucknall including the amalgamation of Annie Holgate Infant and Junior schools.

This will mean a brand new 420-place building provided as one of 15 successful Nottinghamshire County Council bids to the central government’s Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP).

The council say they have also made moves to target the anticipated shortage of places across the town by expanding several other schools.

This includes the extra places created by building Beardall Fields Primary School to cope mainly with the additional children from the large Papplewick Lane housing development. There will be 105 extra places for September 2014 and a further 105 places in a couple of years’ time.

An extra classroom has also been built at Edgewood Primary School allowing for 30 extra pupils.

The same has been created and completed at Leen Mills Primary School in Hucknall and also at Hawthorn Primary School in Bestwood Village.

The authority are also discussing the possibility of expanding other schools in the town but it is not possible everywhere as there are limits due to government legislation.