A primary school is buzzing with excitement after submitting plans to build a high school, transforming it to an all through.
If Harrow Council approve the application, it means Whitefriars Primary School, in Whitefriars Avenue, Wealdstone, would cater for pupils from the age of five to 18.
The school, which is in a federation with Heathland School in Eastcote Lane, Harrow, would embark on a project which would involve the construction of a two and three-storey building to cater for expansion.
Executive head teacher Chris Spruce said “We are looking forward to these amazing developments for the school that the children and families of Whitefriars will be able to benefit from for many years to come.
“It will be a fantastic boost to facilities in the local area, as well as continuing to offer an outstanding education for all our current and future students.”
Associate head teacher Karen Matthews said: “Parents and the local community have had the opportunity to see what we hope will be the finished building design at the recent stakeholder meetings hosted at the school and the feedback that we received from everyone was was extremely positive.
“We have agreed with the contractors that the new school will have state of the art facilities that will be available for community use once the school is fully open.
“This will mean access to our sports halls, canteen areas, youth club and learning resource centre for the children, their families and local residents throughout the year. We want to ensure Whitefriars remains at the heart of Wealdstone and that everyone benefits from this exciting project.”
The school is set to provide regular updates and time lapse photography on its website from October to showcase the transformation.
Mrs Matthews added: "With a moving in date for our new Year 7s of September 2015, next year will be a busy one where we will see the building grow and come to life.”
Many other schools in the borough have already embarked on their own expansion as a part of a Harrow-wide, government-funded programme to increase the amount of school places available to combat demographic growth.
Councillor Simon Brown, Labour’s cabinet member for children, schools and young people, said: “The new Whitefriars School will offer an outstanding education for local children of all ages, a place for young people to go and facilities for the whole community – such as youth clubs and adult learning classes.
“Wealdstone is changing, with developments set for the ColArt and Kodak site, so there is a pressing need for these school places – and for a community hub at the heart of the town.
“The school will offer that – and I am delighted that the head teacher and everyone connected with the project is so committed to delivering it.”
However concerns were raised in a Westminster Hall debate earlier this month by Conservative MP for Harrow East Bob Blackman regarding how the project is being funded.
He said: “The funding gap between what it [the expansion project] has been allocated and what it requires is £800,000 in the first year of expansion, reducing to £400,000 in the second year, and to £200,000 in Year 3.
“The only way in which currently that can be funded is by taking money away from other schools and other expansion programmes.”
A council spokesman described the concerns as “a live issue” but confirmed that all council funding for schools in the borough for both general education and expansion projects are not at risk as the authority liaises with the Department for Education over the shortfall.
Councillors are set to vote on the application in August at the next planning committee meeting.