VIDEO: School expansion plan cause for celebration

A jubilant primary school in Pulborough is getting ready to make way for more pupils after permission was granted by the council to develop a large extension.

St Mary’s C of E Primary School will be expanding its premises to accommodate an additional 105 placements to satisfy the growing demand in the village.

JPCT 240413 St Mary's School, Pulborough - expansion. Headteacher Alyson Heath and some of the pupils. Photo by Derek Martin

JPCT 240413 St Mary's School, Pulborough - expansion. Headteacher Alyson Heath and some of the pupils. Photo by Derek Martin

A proposal document from the Cabinet Member for Education and Schools, Peter Griffiths, states that ‘the number of pupils in the Pulborough area, which is served by the voluntary aided school, St Mary’s C of E Primary, has been growing and has been higher than the places available.’

A consultation letter was sent to parents, staff, governors and other local authorities detailing the proposal to gradually expand the 315 place school (1.5 form) to 420 (2 form).

In response 43 letters were received, 35 of which expressed approval.

Headteacher Alyson Heath said she is pleased to be receiving the £1.5 million to expand the school.

“It will meet the needs of the parents who are moving to Pulborough.”

The construction, which is expected to take one year, will have minimal disruption to current students.

“We’ll be expanding to create another three classes, which will eventually create three more teaching jobs.

“Hopefully it will be complete by next year.”

Some of the concerns members of the community raised included parking and drop off and pick up points and a potential loss of playing fields, which will all be addressed.

“During the consultation period we received a lot of support from the community,” Mrs Heath said.

Also as part of the consultation the removal of the necessity for mixed aged teaching was welcomed as was the likelihood that siblings could attend the same school.