Why parents don’t want to see the numbers rise at their children’s school

Parents and residents concerned about plans to expand Trinity CE/Methodist Primary School in Buckshaw Village
Parents and residents concerned about plans to expand Trinity CE/Methodist Primary School in Buckshaw Village

Parents have joined forces to launch a campaign opposing plans to expand a school and erect a new building to cater for extra children.

Lancashire County Council wants to increase the intake from 60 to 90 pupils at Trinity CE/Methodist Primary School, in Buckshaw Village.

It would see the school increasing its overall capacity from 420 to 630 children.

As part of the plans, a new building would be constructed on the Group One site in the village to expand the school and create room for the increased number of pupils.

The council has previously said there is a demand for more primary school places due to rising birth rates and housing development in the area.

There are also plans to create more places at Primrose Hill Primary School in Euxton and that would be enlarged on its existing site.

“We need to increase the size of this popular school to meet the expected additional demand for places now and in the future. We are constantly reviewing changing demographic factors to make sure the number and location of the school places we provide are adequate throughout Lancashire. We are currently consulting on this expansion and views will be considered as part of the decision-making process.”

Matthew Tidmarsh, Lancashire County Council

But some parents oppose the plans for a second building as part of Trinity and are fighting the council’s proposals, which are currently subject to consultation.

They believe the younger pupils will be based in one building and the older pupils in another.

They are upset that siblings would be in different school buildings and say there would be a 10-minute walk between the sites.

Among their other concerns are the logistics of the school run, disruption to children and the impact of Trinity becoming a larger school with more pupils.

The campaigners are also concerned about the impact the changes could have on businesses, such as childminders and after school clubs, and are unhappy with the consultation already carried out.

The school building opened in January 2011, after delays meant pupils and staff spent the first term in temporary accommodation at Seven Stars Primary School, Leyland.

It has already grown – a £2.3m project to extend and double the size of the school was completed in September, with six additional classrooms created.

And some parents do not want to see the school grow further.

They have launched a website www.buckshawschoolsplit.co.uk detailing their concerns and seeking support.

They also have a Facebook page and plan to distribute leaflets in Buckshaw Village for people who do not use social media.

A petition has also been set up, which has already been signed by more than 120 people. The petition calls for a new school to be put on the site, rather than a second building for the existing school.

Charlotte Johnson’s five-year-old daughter is currently in reception class at the school and she hopes her 18-month-old son will attend in future.

But she does not drive and is concerned about them being based on different sites.

Charlotte, 22, of Carpenters Close, Buckshaw Village, said: “It will be hard. I don’t think I would be able to get them there on time. One would be late and one I would have to pick up early.

“Staggered times would help but it would take me about an hour to do a school run with two children.

“I think they should build a separate school rather than one but on two sites.”

Aidy Riggott has a five-year-old son at the school and a three-year-old daughter who will go in future.

He said: “My concerns mainly are that siblings will be split over two sites and miss the support of a friendly face from their brother or sister.”

Aidy, 38, of Seaforth Crescent, continued: “I think it will be more challenging and more demanding on parents if we end up on two sites and we are having to drop children off at both sites.

“Some parents rely on before and after-school clubs which are currently near the existing site and I’m not sure how they are going to operate when the other school is further away.”

The county council carried out an informal consultation earlier this year on a proposal to expand the school.

There were 39 responses, 24 of those were said to “strongly agree” or “agree”. Eleven responses were classed as “disagree” or “strongly disagree”, with seven people expressing concerns about the split site.

The formal representation stage then started and people can submit written comments on the proposal until Monday, July 13.

The responses will be considered and a final decision made in September.

The extra places are due to be made available from September next year if approved.

Matthew Tidmarsh, the county council’s head of asset management, said: “We need to increase the size of this popular school to meet the expected additional demand for places now and in the future.

“We are constantly reviewing changing demographic factors to make sure the number and location of the school places we provide are adequate throughout Lancashire.

“We are currently consulting on this expansion and views will be considered as part of the decision-making process.”