Herts county council agrees to expand St Albans primary school

The Parent action group for permanent expansion in St Albans (L-R) Sophie Ashcroft and Xander, 4, Th

The Parent action group for permanent expansion in St Albans (L-R) Sophie Ashcroft and Xander, 4, Thea MacLeod-Hall, Christina Blake and Liza Macintyre. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Herts county council has agreed to expand St Peter’s Primary School in St Albans into a two-form entry to tackle the lack of places in the area.

St Peter's School and Nursery. Picture: DANNY LOO

St Peter's School and Nursery. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

The council’s cabinet agreed on Tuesday to expand the number of pupils the school can take in each year and build an extension on the Cottonmill Lane site to help accommodate the additional children.

Portfolio holder for education Terry Douris said: “We are very aware of the concern that parents who lived locally had in that area, where they are struggling to get into the school of their preference because of the pressure on schools in the city of St Albans and this additional entry will relieve this pressure, which I described as a vortex.”

The school will become two-form from September 2020 and will admit an additional 30 pupils at a cost of £4.6m, according to council documents.

Over the past year, The Herts Advertiser has spoken to parents who live in St Albans city centre and whose children have been allocated schools miles from where they live.

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One of the affected parents, Christina Blake, said: “It’s fantastic news and, as I said last time, it goes to show if a group of people come together to affect change, it can happen.

“Originally it did not go through, so I think it’s fantastic and a step in the right direction, but there is still work to be done with building works and development.”

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Parents like Christina are concerned new housing developments in St Albans city centre could eliminate the advantage of St Peter’s new school places.

They also want schools which had a feasibility study done, which they say delayed the expansion of St Peter’s, to be redone.

The planning application for the building extension will be submitted after Herts county council shares designs with the public in order to get feedback.

The council is currently consulting with the school and bodies such as the flood authority, Sport England and the Highway Authority.

According to the cabinet meeting documents, the chair of governors had written to the council expressing concern the school will lose access to facilities and so could not support expansion.

Cllr Douris acknowledged the governors’ concerns, but said: “They were pleased to support the extension”.

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