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Brentwood Academies Trust

Larchwood Primary Expansion.

Expansion being planned to double size of primary.

A NEED for extra primary school places in Brentwood has meant plans have been unveiled for a new block at Larchwood Primary that will eventually double the size of the school.

If given the go-ahead, the four-classroom building would increase the school's capacity from 210 to 420.

Plans show how the development would also provide a new group room for pupils, a library resource area, two toilet areas and a disabled toilet.

It is hoped the new-build, at the school in Larchwood Gardens, could be ready for use by reception children starting in September this year.

Head teacher Ryan Duff said: "The expansion is to meet the extra demand for school places in the area. Projected pupil numbers show a sharp rise over the next few years.

"Starting in September, Larchwood is becoming a two-form entry school and will be admitting 60 children per year. Extra classrooms are needed to accommodate this expansion.

"At the present time our maximum capacity is 210 children and the expansion will take this up to 420 children.

"This will not be an overnight process though and we will only be taking an extra 30 children per year until we reach our full capacity in 2021/22."

A traffic survey conducted by the school in January showed 62 per cent of pupil's travelled to and from school by car, with 28 per cent walking.

The survey explained how the school intends to reduce the number of students travelling by car by five per cent by the end of the year.

Cycle training for Year 6 pupils in the summer term and Walk to School weeks have also been highlighted as ways to increase the number of youngsters not travelling by car.

Mr Duff, who has been at the school since January 2013, said: "Having worked in larger schools, becoming a two-form entry should not change the atmosphere in any way – indeed, it could enhance it.

"My previous school was a two form-entry when I started there but by the time I left we had become a four form entry, admitting 120 children a year.

"That is considered a big primary school though."

If it is given the nod by councillors, the building process will take two stages.

The first will increase the number of classrooms, with the second taking care of other areas, such as making the hall bigger.

Brentwood Borough Council officers will consider the application at a later date.

Article courtesy of the Brentwood Gazette