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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Carlisle primary school launches plan for expansion

The latest phase of a £12 million scheme increasing the number of primary school places across Carlisle and Penrith has been launched.

Graham Frost photo
Graham Frost

Schools in the programme have already had their intakes increased, but now work has started to remodel or extend those accepting growing numbers of pupils.

The latest is a planning application to extend Robert Ferguson School in Denton Holme, Carlisle.

Proposals are for a new nursery classroom with a dedicated outdoor playing area and two new classrooms for reception age children.

Robert Ferguson School is just one of 12 schools in Carlisle and Penrith poised to get new classrooms in Cumbria County Council’s Transforming Learning scheme.

Graham Frost, headteacher at Robert Ferguson School, said: “It is still going through the proper planning procedure but if consent is given and work begins at the end of the school year, it is hoped it will be completed by mid-November.

“Last September our intake went up from 45 to 60 pupils so now this is to accommodate our new pupils.

“As well as the new rooms, there will also be some internal work needed in our existing kitchen. We serve 150 cooked meals a day in a very small space at the moment.”

Mr Frost added that the new nursery extension is expected to help ease congestion around the school in the morning and afternoon.

“It should hopefully improve access, particularly on a morning. At the moment the only access on a morning is via the school near East Dale Street. That can lead to a concentration of vehicles.

“This [extension] should allow us to open up the nursery entrance too via Denton Street.”

The proposals, which will be considered by the county council’s planners in due course, are out to consultation until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, building works have already been completed in some schools.

Internal work was needed to remodel parts of Brook Street and Inglewood junior schools in Carlisle. St Cuthbert’s Catholic Community School in Botcherby, Carlisle, has also had £275,000 spent on providing extra classroom space for its extra children.

St Catherine’s in Penrith has also enjoyed a £120,000 investment to improve facilities. Its intake has increased from 15 to 20.

Elsewhere, in Carlisle, Newtown Community Primary School on Raffles Avenue is having around £500,000 spent on it while a further £450,000 is being invested at Petteril Bank School in Harraby.

Upperby School will have £950,000 spent on an extension and £750,000 is being invested at Yewdale School too.

The centre piece of the £12m scheme is the relocation of Pennine Way Primary School in Harraby.

Plans are to move it across the road from its current site, taking over the former secondary school on Edgehill Road.

Parts of th site are currently being demolished ahead of any formal plans to create a new £11m-plus community hub, including a primary school, there.

Plans to provide new classrooms at the Kingmoor schools in Lowry Hill were scrapped recently following concerns about traffic.

Instead, alterations will be made to the inside of Kingmoor Nursery and Infant School this summer to remodel classrooms and provide enough space for children.

Primary schools’ formal pupil admission numbers have already been increased by Cumbria County Council following an extensive consultation and amid predictions of a rising birth rate in the next few years.

The Transforming Learning project will eventually provide more than 1,200 extra places.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: “Good progress is being made in shaping the future provision of primary education in Carlisle and Penrith.”

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