Three rural schools will massively increase in size to help cope with the expected influx of children from new housing developments.
In a public consultation which ended last week, detailed proposals were outlined, showing plans for significant expansions to Tarvin Primary, Barrow Primary and Bishop Heber High Schools.
The changes, which would see Tarvin’s admission numbers increase 50% by September 2019, would be based on planned housing developments, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s birth rate analysis as well as parent preferences.
The Tarvin school has proposed to ultimately increase its roll from 210 pupils to 315 by 2019.
Described in CWaC’s consultation documents as a ‘smaller than average sized’ primary school, pupils are currently taught in single age groups.
The school wants to increase its reception intake from 30 to 45 in September 2015, with this class cohort moving through the school until the final number reaches 315.
When full, the 315 places would consist of two reception classes of 22-23 pupils, three classes of 30 Year 1 and 2 pupils, three Years 3 and 4 classes of 30 and 3 Year 5 and 6 classes, also of 30 pupils.
All year groups would be mixed and if proposals are agreed, construction work could start next year with a view to completing works in time for the new reception class admission in September 2015.
Bishop Heber High School in Malpas has proposed to increase its planned admission number to 1,300 and if proposals go ahead, it will receive national funding of approximately £2.5m from the Targeted Needs Fund.
A condition of this funding will be that the school has to generate additional capacity for the 200 extra students by September 2015.
There are currently 1,215 students at the school, which was rated ‘Outstanding’ in its last Ofsted inspection, therefore the plans would enlarge the physical capacity of the school to provide room for the extra pupils.
Construction would begin next year, during holidays to avoid disruption to school life.
Barrow Primary School plans to enlarge its physical capacity to increase the number of pupils from 63 to 98 through the construction of a school hall.
The planned expansion is said to meet the demand for places created by nearby specialist residential provision Save the Family at Cotton Fields.
An additional member of staff would also be recruited as a result, and as numbers rise, there would be future need for pupils to be educated across two separate mixed age group classes to comply with infant class size regulations.
Mark Stocks, the executive member for children and young people’s services, will now decide whether the proposals should progress, or do so in an amended form.
The plans have generally been met with approval from members of the community.
Phil Miles, a Tarvin resident, said: “As Tarvin has large housing developments under construction by Taylor Wimpey, and others, it is essential there is expansion of Tarvin Primary School to ensure it can accommodate the increase in school numbers' More classrooms must be built to coincide with the completion of the new houses.
“I support sustainable development in the parish, provided there is investment in the infrastructure to maintain residents' village lifestyle.
He added: “It’s always been felt all children should be able to go to the local school if they wish and the planned expansion would seem to offer a solution.”
David Curry, headteacher of Bishop Heber High School, added: “If we get approval I would hope this funding would generate around nine additional classrooms or science laboratories that are desperately needed.
“The borough have been instrumental in the school seeking and gaining this additional funding and I look forward to working with them creatively to ensure every pound gets our students the best value possible and the new classrooms ensure that every student at Heber continues to make excellent progress.”
A CWaC spokesperson added: “The formal consultations for each of the proposals ended on October 18 and we are now considering and evaluating responses in order to seek permission to publish notices.
“We hope to reach the next stage by the end of November.”