Lancs school plans lodged

Plans by Preston-based architects, Cassidy + Ashton, have been submitted for a new primary school in St Anne's on behalf of Lancashire County Council and Blackburn Diocese.

The new enlarged Heyhouses Endowed CE Primary School would replace the existing two-form junior school in Clarenden Road North and will be sited on playing fields 200 yards from the infants' base.

The school will contain 12 classrooms as well as three rooms for reception children, enough to accommodate three forms in each year. There will also be a hall and a kitchen, meaning children will no longer have to walk to the other building for lunch.

Subject to planning approval, Conlon Construction plans to begin on site in July on a 12-month build programme.

Once the building is complete, the existing junior school will be demolished and new playing fields created with upgraded drainage facilities. Long-term, there are also plans to relocate the nursery.

Head teacher Elizabeth Hodgson said: "It's a very exciting time for us. The new building will be a fantastic resource for the school and a massive improvement on what we have at the moment; the present junior school is no longer fit for purpose.

Hodgson, who has been head since 2009, said the new accommodation would mean smaller class sizes, reducing from the current 38 children to just 30.

She said: "This area is a birth rate hotspot so this is all part of a wider strategy to prepare for the additional pupils we know will be coming through in 2015.

"This school was chosen for expansion because it's always oversubscribed. We are supposed to offer 70 places each year, but recently we've been taking 75 or 76 children after appeals. Once we have the new building we will be able to take 90 and have three forms."

The school's infant building, which is still in use, dates back to 1873, although the school began life in a nearby cottage. It now has 512 pupils and this will eventually rise to 630.

Lawrence McBurney, associate at Cassidy + Ashton, said: "The new building will offer the children modern, spacious facilities to replace their present outdated school, as well as upgraded playing fields."

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