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Public consultation to launch over plans to increase pupil numbers at local primary school

A consultation over plans to increase the pupil numbers at a local primary school will get underway next month.

Members of the executive board this morning approved plans to begin a period of consultation on the plans for Barker’s Lane Community Primary School, Borras between October 11th and December 12th 2018.

Currently there is provision at the school for 210 pupils. However Cllr Phil Wynn, lead member for education, explained this morning that all school’s in the Acton area are near capacity.

A report presented to councillor’s this morning also notes that over the current school admission round 2018-19, the council’s education department “was unable to meet the local demand for the town centre, refusing pupils for whom Barker’s Lane CP was their preferred school.”

As a result it has been proposed that a public consultation is launched over increasing the capacity at Barker’s Lane to 315, and increase of 105.

Subject to the approval and outcomes of the public consultation, such changes would be introduced in September 2020 for nursery and reception years.

Speaking this morning, Cllr Wynn, said that the plans would allow the education department to reduce the number of pupils in infant classes rather than increase the number of school places in Wrexham – a policy in line with the Welsh Government’s aims.

He added: “My thanks go to the education officers for securing £1.8 million of a £36 million fund to cut classroom sizes in Wrexham. Our focus are on the Acton community wards, which are one place shy of reaching capacity.

“I can confirm the Welsh Government do not require match funding from the council, so it is good news for the rate payer.”

Cllr Dana Davies suggested that the boundary of a school could be taken in to allow for staff parking on the site in a bid to ease congestion near the site.

She said: The issue we’ve got in the town centre as the lead member said is the capacity demand. Where we can and where there is land, the Labour Group support schools of no more than 420 pupils.

“If we think now there is 21st Century School funding, we are making classrooms to a 21st century standard, but there is a lot more we can do from a traffic and safe traffic management.

“For the consultation to be a meaningful consultation if there is anything we can be proactive with, then we have a better conversation with citizens.

“Parents want to send their children to school of their choice. For us to facilitate that we need to increase school places and needs to be acceptable to community.”

It was confirmed that a feasibility study had taken place, however firmer plans would be presented prior to the outcome of the consultation and ahead of a formal planning application being submitted.

Cllr Debbie Wallace, who represents the Borras ward, asked for confirmation on what the geographical catchment area would be for the new pupil spaces and whether there would be sufficient building for the pupil numbers.

She also invited Cllr Wynn and education officers to attend a public meeting where local residents can raise any queries or concerns they have about the plans.

Cllr Wynn explained that the catchment is driven by parental choice, however the plans could help ease the pressure off the schools in the Acton area that are at near capacity.

He added: “I did attend a meeting held for Borras School and I would be more than delighted to do so in this instance.”

The findings of the consultation will be presented to the executive board in March 2019.

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