PLANS for a £600,000 expansion at Fernhurst Primary School have been announced to cope with a growing demand for pupil places.
In a letter to all parents, headteacher Gary Parkes said it had been his aim for some time to extend the school to a ‘one form entry’ primary school.
“Predictions for the forthcoming years indicate that between 24-28 children living in the village would like to join our reception class each year.
“Single form entry would mean each year group would have their own class, with no mixed year group teaching. This would allow us to organise pupils into groups with a far narrower span of ability than at present.
“It would also allow for smaller class size and enhanced facilities for all children throughout the school.”
The plan is to build two more classrooms at the school. If the proposals get the go-ahead, building work would begin next spring, with a view to having six classes from the start of the next academic year and seven classes from September 2014.
There are currently 143 pupils at the school with the new intake limited to 20 children every year.
The extra classrooms would mean the school could take 30 new pupils every year.
Due to the size of the changes, a compulsory public consultation exercise is being carried out by West Sussex County Council and the final decision will be taken by the cabinet member for schools, Peter Griffiths.
The Fernhurst plans are part of a £8m scheme to expand three schools in West Sussex in answer to the growing need for more places.
More than £4m is set to be spent at Edward Bryant Primary School and a further £3m at Downview Primary School, both in Bognor Regis.
Fernhurst Primary School underwent extension work three years ago to cope with the extra year group after the reorganisation of education in the Rother Valley meant all primary schools took the extra year six classes.
Cllr Griffiths said: “People’s views will be important to us and I would encourage communities to respond.”
Details of the consultations are on the ‘Have Your Say’ pages of www.westsussex.gov.uk