A Hove primary school is holding a public meeting this week to discuss a proposal to expand the school.
Under the proposal St Andrew’s CE Primary School would take three Reception classes each year instead of the current two – up to an extra 30 pupils a year.
And in a £2.5 million project the school would build an extension and remodel the current building.
The proposal will be discussed at the meeting at the school, in Belfast Street, Hove, at 7pm on Wednesday (21 May).
The school has 466 pupils at present. Over seven years the number of pupils would rise to more than 600, starting from September next year.
Brighton and Hove City Council said: “St Andrew’s CE Primary School is a successful and popular Church of England voluntary aided school.
“It caters for children primarily living in the BN3 2, BN3 3, BN3 4 and BN3 5 postcode areas of the city.
“Over the last few years there has been year-on-year growth in the number of pre-school age children registered with general practice (GP) surgeries in the city.
“This increase is particularly acute in the area of the city served by St Andrew’s.
“It is anticipated that although this growth in children entering reception classes of primary schools may be reaching a peak, the number of children exceeding the number of school places available in this part of the city is going to continue for the foreseeable future.
“The proposal is to expand St Andrew’s to a three-form entry school with a yearly intake of 90 children into Reception, an increase of 30 places per year.
“The school will retain the flexibility to admit up to 32 pupils per class in years 3 to 6.
“To support the expansion of the school there will be an extension of the school premises that will be funded by using capital provided to the local authority for providing additional school places.
“Where possible and appropriate we will also use other funding streams such as funding secured under section 106 agreements with housing developers.
“The extension will provide additional classrooms, hall space and hard play space to accommodate the extra pupils.
“There may also be some internal remodelling and refurbishment to meet the requirements of the latest school premises regulations and guidance and the school’s own preferences.”
Christine Bartley, the chair of governors, wrote to parents this week. She said: “We have agreed to a request from the council to publicly consult on a proposal to expand the school to three forms of entry from September 2015.
“This is a consultation process and no decisions have been made at this stage.
“You will no doubt be aware of the critical shortage of primary school places for the increasing number of children in our local Central Hove community.
“The council approached us in December 2013 with a proposal to carry out a feasibility study for the expansion of the school to three forms of entry.
“We have fully discussed the feasibility study with the senior management of the school, the council and Diocese of Chichester over a number of months and considered all the relevant issues.
“Our initial view is that we have a responsibility to explore ways of helping to address the shortage of school places in our local community, as previously demonstrated by our decision in 2012 to accept an additional ‘bulge’ reception class.
“As a Church of England school, the diocese also actively supports this view.
“However, we are also aware that our primary responsibility as the governing body of St Andrew’s is to safeguard the school’s ethos and high standards for existing and future pupils.
“Based on our considerations to date, we are confident that this could be achieved if the school was expanded to three forms of entry, subject to a number of conditions, which have been agreed with the council.
“On that basis we have agreed to the request for consultation on this proposal.”
Anyone wanting to respond to the consultation has until Monday 30 June.
They should write to Michael Nix, Head of Education Planning and Contracts, Grand Avenue, Hove, BN23 2LS.
Complete a form online on the consultation portal of the council’s website.
Email Roz Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The council’s Children and Young People Committee will discuss the responses at a meeting on 21 July and decide whether to push ahead with the proposal.
The committee will make its final decision on 13 October.