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HStM School Expansion

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The following letter has been published today, Thursday 10th November, by Karen Collett, Headteacher at Haddenham St Mary's CE School and Gaynor Bull, Chair of Governors.

Consultation on the proposed expansion of Haddenham St Mary's CE School
Wednesday 16th November to Friday 16th December 2016

Dear Haddenham Community Groups

You may recall that in November 2015, we wrote explaining that over the last few years there has been an increasing demand for new primary school places in Buckinghamshire. We were proposing to expand the school by half a form of entry from September 2017 to accommodate the need for additional places in the Haddenham area. Our letter explained that the design for the expansion was to be future proofed such that the school facilities could, if required, be extended to accommodate a further 15 children per year group.

Following a decision by the Secretary of State in June 2016 to allow the Haddenham Glebe development of 280 homes, we are working with Bucks County Council Admissions Team to bring that expansion proposal forward.

The proposal to expand, while originally planned as a two-phase building programme, is in line with the aims and mission of our school and is fully supported by the Governing Body. Most importantly the size of the proposed increase in pupil numbers will not compromise the school's ability to know and cater for pupils on an individual basis and retain our ethos of 'excellence, care and fun for all' on a daily basis.

BCC School Commissioning Team project that demand for school places in Haddenham will continue to rise and by September 2019 will exceed the current admission numbers at both infant schools. We are already seeing families moving into the village and, with the agreement of BCC, have been able to accommodate them as we have both the teaching and floor space capacity. Each additional child enables us to provide more adult support in classes and improved resources for children, without financially challenging the school even further.

The proposal to expand, while originally planned as a two-phase building programme, is in line with the aims and mission of our school and is fully supported by the Governing Body. Most importantly the size of the proposed increase in pupil numbers will not compromise the school's ability to know and cater for pupils on an individual basis and retain our ethos of 'excellence, care and fun for all' on a daily basis.

This expansion would be achieved by adding four additional classrooms and ancillary space at the gable end of the school hall rather than the original proposal to provide two classrooms for the half form entry increase. These are the same plans that were on show at the public evening last December. Improved access and parking on the school site are also being looked at in view of the school needing additional staff. The School Travel Plan will also be considering increases in traffic at dropping off and picking up times. All of this would allow the additional children to be successfully accommodated for the next few years.

The expansion of the school as a single building project will cause less disruption to the school than a two-phase build, and provide us with a number of benefits to ensure the continuity of the highest standards of education, including:

  •  improved buildings and learning environment
  •  improved facilities for key areas of the curriculum
  •  improved recruitment and staff development
  •  greater flexibility and efficiency in the deployment of staff and resources
  •  ensure that there are sufficient school places in the local planning area to meet forecast demand.

We are holding a public consultation on the proposals and we would be grateful if you would complete the attached response form and return it by 5pm on Friday 16th December 2016. You can bring the form into school, post it to the County Council at the address shown on the form or email it to: stmhconsult@buckscc.gov.uk.

The proposed increase in admission numbers will be effective from September 2019, which may seem quite a long way ahead, but BCC have to publish school admission numbers well in advance of the date of admission. Consultation on September 2018 admissions is already closed, hence the need to consult so far in advance.

We look forward to hearing from you and hope that you will respond to the consultation as everyone's views are important.

Yours sincerely

Karen Collett
Headteacher

Gaynor Bull
Chair of Governors

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