Hopes for expansion of Sidmouth Primary

07:30 25 March 2014

Sidmouth primary head teacher Paul Walker with school children. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 9719-12-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Sidmouth primary head teacher Paul Walker with school children. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 9719-12-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

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Sidmouth Primary School has set its sights on land earmarked for housing as the pupil population will exceed capacity in a matter of years.

It currently has space to accommodate another 70 youngsters at its three locations, but demand shows no sign of letting up.

Plans for a replacement, enlarged classroom will create space for another 30 youngsters and alleviate pressure from next September, but the school could soon struggle to meet demand.

Headteacher Paul Walker said: “We are working with the local authority and the Diocese to consider options – the ideal being taking over the depot next to Manstone site, but this is unlikely as it has been mentioned to be a space for housing [in the Local Plan].”

He said that two of the four year groups at the Woolbrook Road site are now full, and across all locations, the school has been advised to expect up to 90 new pupils next year.

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce president Derek Parry highlighted the infrastructure issues at the town’s section of the Local Plan examination.

He added that while the fee-paying St John’s School and Sidmouth College have room to manoeuvre, there are physical limitations on the primary school’s expansion.

Sidmouth Primary School formed in the merger of St Nicholas Junior, All Saints Infants and Sidmouth Infants schools in 2011.

They joined up to safeguard youngsters’ education – as they faced budget cuts and a predicted drop in pupil numbers.

Jennie Stephens, Devon County Council’s strategic director for people, said at the time of the merger that the eventual vision is for the school to occupy a single site.

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