Saturday, 2 February 2013

School places squeeze: Hurst Park School could move to bigger site

Hurst Park School in West Molesey could be moving

SURREY County Council is thinking of moving Hurst Park School from it’s current home by the river to a disused site further up the Hurst Road.

It is working on draft proposals for a new building at the former John Nightingale School site, which is about 5-10 minutes walk from the current school, and one and a half times the size.

Details are still to be worked out, such as programme schedules and budgets, plus what would happen to the existing school. But Hurst Park School governors are looking at the proposals positively.

Chairman Chris Johnson said: “The view of the Governing Body is that the proposal has merit and the opportunities afforded by the proposal for the current and future children of Molesey should not be missed. The Governing Body will assist wherever possible in ensuring that the final proposal meets best practice and provides the best facilities available for the school’s pupils.”

Governors are to hold a meeting with parents to discuss the move.

Elmbridge shows the third highest increase in births in Surrey since 2002 - at 28.9%. And the number of pupils entering Reception at borough schools shot up from 1,209 in 2006 to 1,434 in 2011, by 7.5 additional forms.

The county has already created 60 new classroom places at The Orchard in East Molesey, and three new classrooms at Hurst Park in West Molesey.

The latest projections from Surrey County Council, seen by Molesey Conservatives, suggest 216 additional primary school places will be needed to accommodate Molesey children by 2021.

By 2020 the county council believes it will need to have created 1,406 new primary places in Elmbridge borough and 530 secondary places.

Steve Bax of the Molesey Conservative Residents, said: “The likelihood is that unless Molesey’s existing schools can be sufficiently enlarged to cope with the upward trend, more and more parents will be forced to commute further. This is hardly ideal at a time when we should be encouraging walking to school to improve the health of our children and reduce congestion on our roads.”

What is your view? Are you concerned about the rapid expansion of your school, or have you had to enroll your children outside of Molesey due to a lack of spaces? Please post a comment.

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