Tollgate and St Andrew’s could increase intake

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Tollagate and St Andrew’s Infant School could be permanently enlarged to offer an extra 210 primary school places in response to the town’s rising birth rate.

The proposal has been put forward by East Sussex County Council and a consultation document has been sent out to parents at the school - giving them a chance to have their say on the plans before July 24.

The council wants St Andrew’s C of E School to grow from 270 places to 360 and for Tollgate to take 480 pupils instead of it current 360 capacity.

The decision will be made by the council’s Children’s Services department. The decision is expected to be made in November this year.

In the consultation document, which went out to parents at both schools last week, the council says, “Eastbourne is experiencing an increase in demand for primary school places as a result of a rising birth rate.”

The council states births in Eastbourne has risen from 862 in academic year 2001-20012 to 1,175 in 2010/2011 – a rise of 36 per cent.

The consultation letter goes on to say, “East Sussex County Council has a duty to ensure that there are sufficient school places available.”

Tollgate and St Andrew’s have been selected as the two most appropriate for expansion because it has the greatest demographic growth of young children in the town.

St Andrew’s has already had a temporary ‘bulge’ class in Reception to cope with demand. Tollgate is expected to have the same arrangement next year. The council says the proposals being put forward are about ‘formalising those arrangements for the future’.

If the changes go ahead, both schools would be extended to provide extra classrooms and facilities. This work would be funded by the capital programme and the council expects it would start during summer 2014 with completion is both school scheduled for summer 2016.

The consultation runs until July 24.

People can have their say by visiting www.eastsussex.gov.uk/yourcouncil/yoursay or by emailing school.consultation@eastsussex.gov.uk, quoting St Andrew’s and Tollgate in the subject line.