Posted on Friday 19th March 2021
St Leonard's Primary School pupils are taught in a Victorian building, with a separate playing field at the end of the road.
A primary school could move to bigger, more modern premises to meet rising demand.
Proposals are being considered for pupils and staff at St Leonard’s Primary School, Stafford, to move from their current Victorian building to a new, larger site five minutes’ walk away on the site of the current Kingston Centre.
Jonathan Price, Staffordshire County Council Cabinet member for Education and SEND, said:
This authority is committed to building new schools, or expanding existing ones where appropriate, to ensure that all Staffordshire’s children have access to a good education in first class local facilities.
In the last three years it has invested £67 million to create 3,300 additional places and four new schools for the county’s growing population.
This £4 million proposal to repurpose the Kingston Centre meets the anticipated future need in this part of Stafford in a sustainable way, as the site is within walking distance of the housing developments it will serve.”
Staffordshire County Council must act to meet anticipated demand for school places after planning permission has been granted for 430 new homes on the former Areva site, with the potential for more to follow at the nearby former GEC/Alstom complex.
The work would include adapting and refurbishing part of the existing Kingston Centre buildings, with the addition of further buildings later as forecast demand materialised.
Jonathan Price added:
Staff do a fantastic job providing a first class education in the existing school, but it is an old cramped building which requires an increasing amount of maintenance and the playing field stands separate, at the end of the road.
If it goes ahead this move will provide a modern, larger school with outdoor play provision within the grounds.”
St Leonard’s currently has 193 pupils, plus 13 children in the nursery. Overall, the school is rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, while its nursery and reception class provision are ‘Outstanding’.
Helen Spearing, head teacher at St Leonard’s, said:
This is a really exciting proposal for St Leonard’s Primary School. Although our current school building is beautiful and unique, it restricts what we can do in terms of the learning environment both indoors and outdoors.
The heart and soul of the school would not change but a modern building and extensive grounds, in a safer site, would open up endless possibilities and a chance to share the St. Leonard’s experience with more families.”
The Kingston Centre’s current use as a vaccination centre is not affected by this proposal and more detailed studies need to be carried out before the move can be confirmed. If approved, it’s thought that the new building would open by September 2023.