HP, Investing in our schools

Plans to create secondary school places to cope with rising demand

Plans have been approved to expand a Surrey secondary school as the impact of spiralling demand for primary places spreads through the school system.

Bishop David Brown School in Woking will be expanded from September 2016 under proposals signed off by Surrey County Council’s Cabinet.

The decision follows the expansion of several primary schools in the area to cope with rising birth rates, which have soared 37 per cent in the decade from 2002.

Cabinet also agreed further primary expansion plans in Woking – to create an extra 90 places at Westfield Primary by September.

It means Surrey County Council will have spent £14.8million in just three years creating 1,260 extra primary places in Woking.

This is the equivalent of 42 extra classrooms or three new whole primary schools.

Elsewhere in the county, plans were signed off to expand Hinchley Wood Primary in Esher and St Ann’s Heath Junior in Virginia Water.

Proposals were also approved to rebuild Cranleigh Church of England Primary on unused land in the grounds of nearby Glebelands Secondary, with the possibility of expanding the new building if needed in future.

Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Educational Achievement, said: ‘Rising demand for school places is beginning to be felt at secondary level and we need to act now to ensure all Surrey children wanting a secondary school place in future will have one.

‘We need to find 13,000 extra places across our school system over the next five years but we’re facing a funding shortfall to meet this unprecedented demand at a time when our budgets are also under strain from the rising number of older people needing care.’

Under the plans for Bishop David Brown, the existing school building will be remodelled and extended to create 150 extra places.

At Westfield, 90 places will be added by September, with a further proposal to add 120 at a later date. Under the proposals, an extension to the main school building will provide three classrooms.

Hinchley Wood Primary will be expanded by 210 places to meet demand in the Claygate area. It will gain some additional infant classrooms five new junior classrooms, a new kitchen and a dining room.

At St Ann’s Heath Junior, a new building will enlarge the school by 120 places.

In Cranleigh, the proposal is to rebuild Cranleigh Church of England Primary, which currently operates on two separate but nearby sites, to improve its facilities.

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