Five schools hope to expand to cope with baby boom in county

Cllr Andrew Grant
Cllr Andrew Grant

Five primary schools in the north of the county will have to double in size in two years to accommodate a baby boom.

Greenfields Primary School in Kettering, Exeter Primary School in Corby, Ruskin Infant School in Wellingborough, St Mary’s CofE Primary School in Burton Latimer and Loatlands Primary School in Desborough, are all set to get new classroooms to drive up the number of available places from 1,230 to 2,160 by 2014.

County council cabinet member for children, learning and skills Andrew Grant said: “A combination of inward migration, housing growth and a rising birth rate is leading to a steady increase in the population of Northamptonshire.

“A direct impact of that is additional pressure on school places so we’re taking steps now to ensure that our schools will be ready to accommodate those numbers of children.”

Exeter and St Mary’s, which has eight new pupils joining this term as new housing developments fill up, are being asked to double their normal intake from September.

The county council plans to spend about £2.5 million on a new 10-classroom block for St Mary’s and bring the former Exeter Junior School back into use by the following year.

Ruskin will have to squeeze in 50 per cent more pupils in its reception class from September, but an extension should boost classes from six to nine by 2013.

The council is also planning to re-organise existing buildings and external areas and build an extension to double Loatlands capacity from 210 to 420 by September 2014.

St Mary’s headteacher Tony Collins said: “What’s really important to our school community is that we don’t lose the warm friendly ethos that we currently enjoy.

“Although we become bigger we are hoping to continue to build on our success of coming out of special measures and improving standards further but that will be a challenge as new staff, pupils and families join us.

“The first step is making sure that the new building is fit for purpose and will enable us to develop our creative curriculum.”