Time is up to have your say on school expansion plans

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A consultation to expand a Wigan primary school has closed.

Residents affected by the plan to build an extra classroom at Marsh Green Primary School had until Friday to submit their thoughts to Wigan Council. The council launched the consultation in September after cabinet approved the plan to expand the school by 30 places due to an increase in demand in the area.

Parents are encouraged to name three schools when it is time to apply for school places so we can ensure as far as possible they are offered a place at one of their preferred schools

The consultation document outlined how in 2017, 302 children are expected to start school in Wigan West, 32 more than the 270 places currently on offer.

The surplus rises to 44 in 2018 before dropping to 17 in 2019. Alan Lindsay, assistant director for education at Wigan Council said: “Whilst the projected pupil numbers may possibly be above the places available at Marsh Green, we have some additional capacity in neighbouring schools to meet this possible demand.

“Parents are encouraged to name three schools when it is time to apply for school places so we can ensure as far as possible they are offered a place at one of their preferred schools.”

Up until now, the demand for places has been dealt with by creating bulge classes in some year groups at schools in Wigan West. These schools are Orrell Lamberhead Green Community, Westfield Community and Marsh Green Primary schools. In addition, a few years ago, St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School increased its admission number by 10 from 50 to 60.

But the demand for places is expected to continue to rise.

The results of the consultation will be put to cabinet on November 24 when members will decide whether it wishes to move to a formal consultation. If this goes ahead, statutory notices will be published on the proposal in newspapers, at the entrances to the school and in other public places, such as libraries.

The formal consultation will run from December 8 until January 19 before a final decision is made in February.

Changes to the school will hopefully be completed by September 1, 2017.

The council has assured parents that, if the plan goes ahead, where possible, work will be carried out in the summer holidays. Disruption to pupils will be minimised if work does have to be undertaken during term time.

The document states: “The amount of funding schools received depends mainly on how many children there are on roll. Therefore, a larger school can employ more staff and class sizes can remain the same as they currently are.

“More staff also means that the school can use its staffing more flexibly and that it can employ more specialist teachers. If the proposal is approved, the additional 30 places will be offered in reception class for September 2017 and every reception intake thereafter. Therefore the pupil numbers at the school are expected to grow slowly. The head teacher and governors will decide on how the classes will be organised. Although an admission number of 60 is expected to give two classes of up to 30 children per year group.”

The consultation closed just days after council officers recommended the closure of a Shevington Community Primary School due to a surplus of places in the village.

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