HUNDREDS of new primary school places are to be created to cope with Plymouth’s baby boom.
A new school is set to be built in the north of the city, and three others will be expanded at a cost of about £9million.
And an ageing school which was due to be refurbished will instead be rebuilt at a cost of nearly £2.5million.
The investment has been approved by Plymouth City Council’s Cabinet and must be rubber-stamped by the full council.
Consultation will begin to push ahead with the expansion which could see an extra 135 places by September 2015.
The new school in Derriford – sponsored by the Church of England but funded by the council – will open with 60 places, growing to 420.
As reported in The Herald, the new school is to be built on Brest Road at a cost of £4.4million.
It is part of a Government funding package of £8.99million, which will also see three other schools expanded.
Woodford Primary and Widewell Primary Academy will get £1.9million to create an extra 30 places each. Holy Cross RC Primary will get £805,547, growing by 15.
Another £2.475million could also be spent to build a new school at Knowle Primary. Knowle had been earmarked for extensive renovation including new heating, water and electrical systems, with an estimated cost of £2.52million.
The council has now decided that it would be cheaper, more efficient and better for pupils and staff to demolish the existing 1950s building and replace it with a purpose-built school, which would include a nursery.
The Cabinet has agreed to move the cash from the schools maintenance budget to the capital budget. The full council will also need to give its approval.
The existing Knowle Primary would stay open while the new school is being built. When it is completed in September 2015 the old school buildings would be demolished to make way for new sports and recreational areas. The new school would be a two- form entry (two classes per year) with a capacity of 360 pupils, plus early years childcare for under fives.
Judy Milford, headteacher at Knowle, said: “Having a new school will give us the facilities to inspire our children, their families and our local community to engage in lifelong learning opportunities.
“We are fully committed to providing our children with the best education and life chances and believe that the new school will help us to raise their aspirations and help them to achieve a better future.”
Cllr Nicky Williams, the Cabinet member for children and young people, said: “It’s a no brainer – we can either spend money to bring the existing building, which is no longer fit for purpose, up to scratch, or spend less to create a fantastic new building for pupils, staff and the surrounding community.”
The council will also begin consultation on plans to expand Woodfield, Pennycross and St Peter’s CE Primary School. In addition, Laira Green, Victoria Road and Woodfield primaries will be consulted on whether they could provide “bulge classes” if required.