'Colleton Primary expansion will ease school places problem'By Victoria Smith
March 14, 2012
A Twyford school headteacher is thrilled councillors have given the green light to plans to add extra classrooms to cater for growing pupil numbers in the north of the borough.
Caroline Norris, headteacher at The Colleton Primary School in Colleton Drive, said the decision by Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee was welcome news for the school.
She said: “The most important thing for us is that we wanted this expansion to happen because of the problem with school places in Twyford.
“The most important thing for the school is the education of the children in Twyford and for us this had to happen.”
The proposal will increase the intake at the school from 35 pupils to 60 a year.
Plans to add additional classrooms went before the council’s planning committee last Wednesday, March 7, and won approval from councillors.
During a consultation on the planned expansion, parents raised concerns about the impact on traffic around the school, particularly regarding safety of pedestrians and congestion.
Mrs Norris said: “We will be working really hard to overcome all the problems that have been highlighted.”
The council received comments from 15 residents on the proposal, with one letter supporting the plans.
The others raised concerns about problems with double parking, additional noise and loss of privacy for neighbours.
The plans will bring the total number of pupils on site up from 265 to 420.
The borough’s primary schools have reached capacity, but Twyford is a particular problem for pupil demand.
Plans to expand Hawkedon Primary School in Earley also won approval at Wednesday’s meeting, with the pupil intake to increase from 70 to 90.
Councillor Rob Stanton, executive member for education services at the council, said: “These plans were very necessary to address our rising school numbers, so it would have been extremely difficult if they had not been approved.
“Colleton is very, very key. We have a serious problem with numbers going forward over the next three to four years for the four to five-year-olds.
“While that’s true of the whole of the Wokingham borough, it is extreme in Twyford.
“Colleton is very oversubscribed and we have dozens of appeals for places because it is an outstanding school that attracts people and because of where it is, in a growing area.
“Without the expansion we would have been in trouble.”
The expansion of Colleton and Hawkedon, as well as plans to add more places at Winnersh Primary School, will be funded by £7 million from central Government.
The plans for Winnersh Primary are expected to go before the planning committee at a later date.