Garden Fields School expansion: decision on plans to expand school delayed

Garden Fields School expansion: decision on plans to expand school delayed

Garden Fields School expansion: decision on plans to expand school delayed

First published in News St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

The decision to turn Garden Fields JMI School into St Albans’ biggest primary school has been delayed.

Following a seven week public consultation discussions for the Townsend Drive school to take another 30 reception children from September 2015 and in each subsequent year thereafter, making it a three-form entry school have been deferred until June.

The decision, made at a Hertfordshire County Council cabinet meeting yesterday, is to allow further discussion with the school.

Justin Donovan, director of education and early intervention, said: "It remains the council’s duty to ensure that there is a school place for every child who wants one and we take this duty seriously.

"We are aware of local concern about this proposal, however, and I think it is appropriate to allow a little more time for the discussions with the governing body to continue before reaching a decision."

This comes after 173 people responded to a public consultation, with 81.5 per cent objecting to the expansion plans. 

The £2.7 million proposal has been drawn up in response to a projected shortfall of primary places in schools in other parts of the city.

Garden Fields has been chosen because "it is located close to the area of demand and the site is capable of accommodating an enlargement".

Reception places would grow from 60 to 90, which could mean the current capacity of 420 pupils would increase to 630, excluding nursery children.

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