Nov 28 2012

Primary School Expansion Programme – £26.2m to be spent

Harrow Council is embarking upon an ambitious £26.2m expansion programme that will bring hundreds of new reception year places to our children over the next five years.

According to census data, 15,916 children aged under five were recorded in the 2011 Census for Harrow, compared to 12,015 in the 2001 Census – a rise of 32 per cent. Unlike many other Local Authorities across London, Harrow Council has successfully planned for this increase and has been able to offer places to all children whose parents applied this year. Forecasts show that the increase in demand for primary school places will continue into the future. This programme will allow us to keep our strong track record of excellent schools and
sufficient places for children.

Since 2009 Harrow Council has been opening additional temporary reception classes in primary schools to plug the gap for the additional demand for places in the reception year. A schools’ expansion building programme will require an investment of £26.2m of Government money over the next five years with a contribution from the Council budget of £6m. The building works will provide opportunities for local employment and will see both new build and extension works.

The Council recognises that expanding schools is likely to have an impact on local residents. However all children have the right to attend school and expanding our popular and successful schools is the best and most realistic solution.

The Council is now drawing up plans to implement the building programme with individual plans for each school in report phase, developed in partnership with the headteachers and governors.

The schools identified in the first phase were:

  • Camrose Primary School with Nursery
  • Cedars Manor School
  • Glebe Primary School
  • Marlborough Primary School
  • Pinner Park Infant and Nursery School/Pinner Park Junior School
  • Stanburn First School/Stanburn Junior School
  • Vaughan Primary School

The schools to be expanded in phase two have not yet been identified.

Whilst Harrow Council understands local residents concerns about school expansion, the growing local population, especially children aged between 0 and 5, means there is very little else that we are able to do. The Council has and will continue to engage with residents during the development of these proposals.

Portfolio Holder for Children, Schools and Families Cllr. Mitzi Green, said:

“We have excellent schools in Harrow which will continue to provide an excellent education to children in the borough. There is a pressure on primary school places. We need to accommodate the unprecedented increase in children needing primary school places and try and ensure that children don’t have to travel excessive distances to school. This £26 million project will provide hundreds of extra primary school places in the areas they are most needed, much needed local employment and will improve our educational facilities ahead of the 2013 school year.”

Cllr. Janet Mote, shadow portfolio holder for Schools, said: “As Harrow’s population grows, it is imperative that our school system grows accordingly – ensuring that our children can continue to receive an excellent education in appropriate and comfortable settings. We are concerned, however, that officers have informed us of a gap in the funding of around £3.8 million, which the Council will have to cover if additional sources cannot be found. Also, with Cllr. Green showing unease at answering questions about the financing of the scheme at Council and Overview and Scrutiny, it’s vital that Labour ensure they are on top of the funding situation. Additionally, we are aware of the inevitable extra demand more primary school admissions will eventually put on the our Academies and High Schools, as well as the Avanti House Free School, but anticipate they will be able to rise to the challenge.”

She went on: “It is also worrying that the Council issued a press release on this scheme last week containing an inaccurate list of the schools involved, which already caused some confusion by appearing on the website. If Labour can’t get the press release right, how much faith can Harrow residents have in them to get the money right?”

Source: Harrow Council

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