School will get room to breathe
PLANS have been submitted for the extension of Orchid Vale Primary School in Haydon End.
The proposal will see an extra eight classrooms added to the school over two floors.
When at full capacity the school will be able to hold an extra 200 pupils, bringing the total to 420.
“The design of the extension will give us some much needed space,” said Debbie Kalynka, the headteacher.
“There is quite a tight fit at the moment so it will be lovely to move into the new rooms as we fill up.”
It is hoped the extension will be built in time to open next September but the school will not start taking extra pupils on immediately.
The plan is to gradually fill up the school as children move up from reception.
Currently Orchid Vale’s catchment area covers Haydon End and there are no plans to extend this.
Each year the school takes in 60 pupils but this is still putting pressure on the school, especially if there are a higher than average number of brothers or sisters of current students in the year group.
“Myself and the govenors have been kept up to date with the plans so we have been able to make sure they provide everything we need,” said Debbie.
“We wanted to keep the school as one building so it will be connected. Because of this, the extension will include a brand new nursery and the current one will become a new staff room.”
The extra classrooms will not reduce the number of sports fields or playing area as there are two temporary classrooms on the site.
The school has received planning permission to erect three temporary classrooms on the grounds to replace them.
The proposals are being considered by council planning officers and the possibility of including a dropping-off bay to ease parking problems.
Debbie said: “We have not had many problems in the past with parking but we want to minimise any disruption to parking.”
Swindon Council approved the expansion at a special meeting in May with the aim of tackling the lack of primary school places in north Swindon.
Almost £3.2 million in borrowing has been provisionally put aside for the works.
Orchid Vale is the last school in the area to be expanded and many other primary schools are currently at capacity.
Lack of primary school places in north Swindon have been an issue and there are concerns large-scale housing developments will exacerbate the problem.
Local councillors expressed concerns no school was included in a housing development at Abbey Farm and plans are being considered to build a new school near Tadpole Farm.
Concerns were expressed yesterday by the Local Government Association which claimed the country’s primary schools were reaching crisis point with the possibility of two pupils fighting for a place in some areas of the country.
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