A PROPOSAL to expand the capacity of The Heights Primary School to allow it to continue to operate from its temporary site for a further two years, will be considered at a meeting of the Council’s Policy Committee next month.
The Heights Primary School has been teaching children at its temporary Gosbrook Road location in Caversham since 2014, while it waits for the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to find it a permanent site. The school is currently at full capacity and a further expansion is now needed to enable it to accommodate its latest intake of 100 new children over the next two years.
The proposal is to locate a temporary modular building on the far part of the playing field at St Anne’s school, which sits immediately adjacent to the current Heights Primary School boundary. The building would house 75 Heights pupils from its Year 4 and 5 classes, freeing up space in the original building for the new reception intake. To ensure there is enough outside space for The Heights pupils at break and outdoor learning times, a section of Westfield Park would be used. It would remain fully open to the public outside of school hours.
Both The Heights School and St Anne’s are fully supportive of the plans. The temporary modular building would be jointly funded by Reading Borough Council and the ESFA. Once in operation the building would then be leased by the Council to the ESFA.
A meeting of the Council’s Policy Committee will consider the proposals on Monday April 9. Planning approval for the new temporary modular building, and for the use of a section of Westfield Park during school hours, would also be required. Under the plans there will also be full restoration of the park when the school moves to its permanent site.
Councillor Tony Jones, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Education, said:
“This is a practical solution which would enable The Heights Primary School to accommodate 50 new reception children in each of the following two years, starting in September 2018, while The Heights wait for a permanent site to be found.
“The proposal is supported by both the head teachers and Governing Bodies of both The Heights School and St Anne’s School. I know Karen Edwards, head teacher of The Heights, is enormously grateful for the support St Anne’s has shown staff, parents and children at The Heights since it moved onto the temporary site in 2014. I would join her in thanking everyone at St Anne’s for their continued support.”
Reading Borough Council’s primary school expansion programme has developed over 3,000 new primary school places in Reading over the last few years. The Heights School has played an important role, currently providing 225 places. The school is currently at full capacity and unless further accommodation is provided, it will be unable to accept a planned intake of 50 pupils in September 2018. The Council does not have sufficient surplus accommodation local to The Heights to help provide sufficient additional places.
The ESFA is continuing to seek to develop a permanent site for the Heights School on part of Mapledurham Playing Fields.
Notes To Editor:
The full April 9 Policy Committee report can be found at: http://www.reading.gov.uk/media/8681/item08-heights/pdf/item08-heights.pdf