PUPILS’ places would have reached crisis point if a new primary school had not been given the go-ahead in Burton, the town’s MP has said.
Andrew Griffiths spoke out after it was announced yesterday that a £20 million school would be built to cope with Burton’s growing population.
Michael Rodgers, Burton councillor for East Staffordshire Borough Council and governor at Christchurch Infant’s School, also welcomed the news that the school, in Dale Street, would be expanded, saying it was desperately needed.
Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet gave both plans the go-ahead following an extensive six-week public consultation which included a series of proposals for a major investment in education in the town.
It will ensure the 1,000 extra places needed from September 2013, after the town’s birth rate increased by 15 per cent.
The county council is still considering potential sites for the new primary school.
Mr Griffiths suggested the former Belvedere Club site could be a possibility, saying: “It was very sad to see Belvedere Club demolished but it is surrounded by sports fields and is in an ideal location. It is an interesting site for the county council to explore.
It is encouraging that Burton is a growing and thriving town that needs a new school and the fact it is able to offer a new school is a very positive thing. The county council really has no choice but to build a new school. Had it not taken this bold decision, school places would have reached crisis point.“It is encouraging that Burton is a growing and thriving town that needs a new school and the fact it is able to offer a new school is a very positive thing. The county council really has no choice but to build a new school. Had it not taken this bold decision, school places would have reached crisis point.
“The decision by the previous council to close a number of schools now seems very short-sighted. It is frustrating that it happened but the prospect of another school will help raise standards in education.”
Councillor Rodgers said the new school would be situated where the biggest need was, but added that the former community hall, in Uxbridge Street, and next door to Christchurch Infants’ looked a likely possibility for its expansion.
He said: “I am not sure whether they will demolish the old community hall and create a modern build for the school, as they are next door.
“This is excellent for the school, it is desperately needed, and the staff and head teacher are looking forward to it happening.
The school is getting to capacity.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that everything will turn out well.”
Outwoods Primary School, in Harehedge Lane, Outwoods, and Victoria Primary School, in Victoria Road, Burton, have already agreed to increase their capacities by 60 when the new school year begins this September.
Discussions with Violet Way Academy, Edge Hill Junior and River View primary schools are continuing.
Officers will also seek agreement from trustees and the governing body of St Modwen’s RC Primary School, in Belvoir Road, so it can be expanded.