Over-subscribed Wolverhampton primary school to get extension

A Wolverhampton primary school rated "outstanding" will be able to extend to meet a growing demand for places.

St Bartholomew\'s CE Primary in Wolverhampton
St Bartholomew\'s CE Primary in Wolverhampton

Members of Wolverhampton Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the proposal for St Bartholomew’s CE Primary in Sedgley Road, Penn.

Work will include creating a new early years building with three classrooms and an extension of its main hall to enable it to swell pupil numbers by 105 incrementally over the next seven years.

The current capacity of the school is 393 children and this will start to be increased by 15 per year from September.

In the application, representatives for the school – given the highest grade of ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted following the last inspection – said huge demand was outnumbering the places currently available.

A report to committee said the plans had raised concerns around issues including an increase in traffic, existing enforcement not tackling “thoughtless parking” as parents come to pick up and drop off their children and the playground not being big enough to cater for the extra pupils.

At the meeting, Councillor Olivia Birch said: “My main issue around this is my own children went to that school so I’m very familiar with the picking up and dropping off times being inconsiderate.

“I know there are some traffic calming measures but something more robust needs to be put in place and it’s about enforcement.

“You can put speed reductions and additional things in place but it is about enforcement because it does get ignored by inconsiderate parents.”

But highways officers said the incremental increase in pupils was small and not considered significant. They added a safety scheme is also proposed while they can look at increased enforcement of dangerous or inconsiderate parking.

In a ‘statement of need’, the St Bartholomew’s said: “We are a heavily oversubscribed, Ofsted outstanding primary school, predominantly serving families within a one-mile radius of the school.

“Each year many families who have selected St Bart’s as their first-place primary school for their child are disappointed, despite it being their closest

school, as there are not enough places to cater for demand.

“As a result, Wolverhampton Local Authority have requested that we increase our Pupil Allocation Number (PAN) by 105 over a seven year period.

“In order to for this to take place, the school require additional accommodation, comprising three additional classrooms, an extension of the current hall and a refurbishment of 2 current classrooms.”

Agents Seymour Harris Architecture added: “The location for the new block is to the south of the existing school site.

“This location has been chosen following analysis of the site and discussions with the school and local planning authority.

“This location minimises disruption and replaces poor quality, built accommodation in this area of the site as well as a dilapidated and unused external ‘trim trail’.

“Access to the school’s Forest School will also be improved by the works.”

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