THE LATEST stage of the borough’s primary school expansion programme can progress, with five major projects being confirmed.
The extensive work at the five schools will provide new buildings, play areas, and crucially extra space to accommodate more pupils as the borough’s school estate undergoes unprecedented growth to meet the anticipated demand for places in the next three years and onwards.
This latest phase comes as the government’s National Audit Office (NAO) announces that 250,000 primary school places are needed nationwide by autumn 2014.
The expansion programme, which is costing the borough somewhere in the region of £126million, began in 2010 and is now midway through to completion, with an estimated 26 extra forms of entry, or 780 places, in time for the 2014/15 school year.
The bulk of the places are needed in the south of the borough.
The council can now proceed with revamping the following batch of schools, plans were approved at last Wednesday’s central and south planning committee meeting at the Civic Centre, Uxbridge.
n Rabbsfarm Primary School, in Falling Lane, Yiewsley, will be rebuilt, with the existing buildings demolished for a new-look school, with capacity rising from two to three forms of entry to accommodate an extra class in each year group.
Despite the extensive works planned, teaching will continue, with construction phased to minimise disruption.
Rabbsfarm headteacher Michael Cassidy said: “We are naturally delighted. We currently have a disparate bunch of mobiles [classrooms], so we are looking forward to having an integrated building that will serve our needs in the long term and provide an excellent setting for our future pupils’ learning.
“We started as a single form school in the 1970s and have had mini extensions over the years, but it is now past its sell-by date so this is welcome.”
n Wood End Park Primary School, in Judge Heath Lane, Hayes, which will be getting rid of its temporary classrooms in favour of permanent builds to provide 13 learning spaces, along with a dining hall extension and a new games area.
n Rosedale College, in Wood End Green Road, Hayes, is to demolish its sports hall to make space for a two form entry primary with nursery.
n In Hillingdon, Ryfield Primary School, in Ryefield Avenue, is to have additional teaching blocks built, as will Hillingdon Primary School, in Uxbridge Road, which will be part demolished.
Stephen Denbigh, finance manager at Hillingdon Primary, said the school’s future was bright.
“It is fantastic news for us. It’s taken about 18 months to get to this point, and now we can go ahead and look for contractors. It should be finished by summer 2014.
“We became an outstanding school last year, and we have had more families put us as first choice for their children, so a bigger school will help us satisfy that demand.”
n Key role for Bishop Ramsey – see page 30