Preston primary school to expand for one year only - for now

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A primary school in Preston will double the number of pupils it admits this year to accommodate growing demand.

Lea Community Primary will boost its reception intake to 60 children in September, after an increased birth rate and rapid housing expansion caused a projected shortfall in primary school places in the area.

The expansion is currently expected to be for one year only - although there is the potential for it to become a permanent arrangement.

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Lancashire County Council’s cabinet gave the go ahead to the plans, which will see the additional children housed within the existing school building on Greaves Town Lane following some internal alterations to make it suitable for the increased numbers.

Lea Community Primary SchoolLea Community Primary School
Lea Community Primary School | other

The demand for primary places in Preston is expected to grow from 875 children last September to 941 at the start of the next academic year. But current projections show a decrease from the September 2020 figure - potentially by more than 100 - over the next two years.

“The position for 2021 and 2022 is less clear and in that context - and given the fact that several schools in the vicinity are currently carrying spare places - it’s proposed that the additional places we need for 2020 be provided on a temporary basis,” explained Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for schools.

“Pupil numbers in the area don’t indicate that permanent expansion is required, but it will be kept under very close review - and the position could change.

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“The proposed alterations for the temporary expansion are going to be designed in such a way that it could become permanent in future if needed.”

Lea Community Primary was selected for the expansion after expressions of interest were invited from all schools in the area by education bosses at County Hall.

The decision was based on criteria including the strength of attainment levels and leadership at the school, its existing size and layout and parental preference.

Cabinet members heard that the school’s headteacher and governing body had been “very supportive” of the plans.

The Lancashire Post approached the school for further comment.