£3.5 million cost of schools merger could be met by selling infants site for houses - The Solihull Observer

£3.5 million cost of schools merger could be met by selling infants site for houses

John Carlon 6th Jan, 2020 Updated: 6th Jan, 2020   0

AN INFANTS school site could be sold off for housing to fund Solihull Council’s plans to merge a primary school in Elmdon.

Valley Primary was formed from a merger of Hatchford Brook Primary and Valley School in 2014, although it still operates on two different sites.

Reception and Key Stage 1 pupils attend the former infant site on Fallowfield Road, and Key Stage 2 pupils go to the Hatchford Brook site on Old Lode Lane.

Capital development manager Anthony Watson has recommended the council’s cabinet approve plans to bring the school onto one site, in a report to a meeting set for January 9.

If agreed, the council would start drawing up plans for the new school buildings to be built on the junior school’s site off Old Lode Lane.

It also intends to apply to the Education Secretary to sell the infants school site in Fallowfield Road, to be developed for houses. Money from the sale of the land would be used to fund the redevelopment of the primary school.

Children at the infant school currently have lessons in temporary cabins, as the number of Key Stage 1 pupils went up from 180 to 270 after the merger.

Governors and school leaders say they are concerned the split site school is “a barrier to creating a whole school ethos that would benefit all pupils and the optimum use of staff and other resources.”

The council estimates replacing the cabins with a school building on the Fallowfield Road site would cost £1million, which it cannot afford from its schools building budget.

Officers are now looking at redeveloping the Hatchford Brook site to bring in reception, infants and junior levels on the one site, freeing up the Valley Primary site for a housing development.

A feasibility study suggests 13 classrooms in three buildings would provide space for all three levels on one campus, with more play space, an expanded dining room and imprioved car parking for staff.

The increased cost to the council of the £3.5million would be partly funded by selling off the infant school site for housing.

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