Blackburn school looks set for £700k expansion
A MAJOR £700,000 expansion of St Barnabas and St Paul’s School, in Wensley Fold, Blackburn, is set to be approved by senior councillors tomorrow.
The investment will increase pupil numbers at the Oakenhurst Road primary school by 50 per cent, from 280 to 420 by 2020.
Blackburn with Darwen Council’s cabinet is being recommended to authorise the spending, from reserves, to start work so the first larger intake of 60 pupils can be enrolled in September 2013.
This will enable the school to have two reception classes of children in the same year group, and slowly end the current mixed-age class structure used with the current 40 new pupils each September.
Executive board members will be told a review of school places across the borough, because of increasing birth rates, identified Wensley Fold as a major pressure point.
A report from officers said the lack of school places for primary children in the future means more provision is needed in the area. The report said: “St Barnabas and St Paul has been identified for enlargement as it is situated in the most advantageous location as it is in a central position in relation to key population growth areas over the next few years.
“As well as increasing the capacity of the school, this proposal will also improve the learning environment for pupils.”
The council hopes that approval will allow building work on four new classrooms to start in autumn this year, ready for September next year.
The move will also stop parents sending children out of Wensley Fold for their education, and keep school car travel in the area low.
Wensley Fold councillor and borough council leader Kate Hollern said: “This is good news.
“It is a popular school that is ready to expand, and has the young children ready for that expansion.”
Coun Tony Humphrys, executive member for schools, said: “The school was chosen for potential enlargement because of its location, and ability to allow for expansion.
“It is also a successful and popular school, inspected by Ofsted last year and judged to be a good school, with outstanding features.”