Public to have say on school expansion

Marsh Green Primary School (Google Streetview)
Marsh Green Primary School (Google Streetview)

Parents and residents will be given the chance to have their say on a plan to expand a Wigan primary school.

An informal consultation on a plan to spend £2.5m to increase the number of places at Marsh Green Primary School is set to be held following approval from Wigan Council’s cabinet on Thursday.

The plan, if approved, would see an extension built on the school to provide an extra 30 places for pupils to meet an increasing demand for places in the area.

The rise in demand has been caused by a hike in the birth rate in the area surrounding the school as well as from more parents wanting to send their children to a nearby school. The council predicts that the rise in demand is set to continue over the next few years.

So far the demand for places has been met by temporarily providing bulge classes at Orrell Lamberhead, Westfield and Marsh Green and extra places at St Cuthbert’s.

Under the proposals Marsh Green would be expanded by a form to provide permanent spaces to meet the needs of the community and the predicted increase in children living close to the school.

Marsh Green Primary School has been chosen as it is easily accessible for parents in the area, falling into the two mile walking distance radius of home which needs the extra capacity, has a good Ofsted rating and space available to expand the building.

Councillor Joanne Platt, portfolio holder for children and young people, said: “This consultation will give people in the Wigan West community the chance to have their say on the plans to provide much needed permanent school places close to home for children.”

A report prepared for the cabinet meeting outlined that if the council failed to act on the rising demand, it would fail it its obligation to provide a school place fro all children within a two mile walking distance.

The report also explains that Marsh Green has been chosen because to expand other schools would mean buying extra land and, therefore, increasing the cost of the plan.

Wigan Council’s cabinet also approved plans to increase the number of Key Stage 3 places at Newbridge Learning Community from 80 to 88 to meet the need for additional places following an earlier consultation.

The plan comes as parents in Shevington anxiously wait to see one of three schools in the village will be closed down next year.

A consultation was launched earlier this year to gauge public opinion on whether Shevington Val, Community Primary or Millbrook should be closed to deal with a surplus of places in that area of the borough.

There was huge opposition to the plan, with parents, teachers, residents and councillors organising campaigns to save all three schools.

The campaigners said they are aware of the Marsh Green plan and will be discussing it at upcoming meetings.

Details of the Marsh Green Primary School consultation will be available in the coming weeks.