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Green light for Gascoigne Primary expansion

PUBLISHED: 10:25 26 May 2015 | UPDATED: 10:25 26 May 2015

Gascoigne Primary School has been approved for a 50 per cent expansion from September next year

Gascoigne Primary School has been approved for a 50 per cent expansion from September next year

Archant

The “sound of the future” will ring out in Barking after Britain’s biggest primary school was given the go-ahead to increase by around 50 per cent.

A proposal to expand Gascoigne Primary to a seven-form entry school was given unanimous approval at a planning meeting last night, where objections were overridden in light of the pressing need for school places in the borough.

Responding to an objection about disturbance to residents, Councillor John White told the chamber: “Noise does come out from primary school children, but the sound of children playing and laughing is the sound of the future.”

The school, which currently has almost 1,200 pupils, will expand from five to seven forms with the creation of an additional three-storey building on its Shaftesbury Road site.

60 pupils will be admitted from next September, and by 2022 the school should cater for 39 full-time nursery and 630 primary pupils aged 4-11, organised in three classes in each of the seven year groups.

The new building – which will boast a rooftop playing area - will allow the current school site to decrease by one form of entry to four forms.

Cllr Phil Waker asked the objectors:

“Where do we think they are going to go if the school isn’t built here? Primary school children have to go somewhere.”

“I don’t think it’s a great place to put a school. I’m concerned by the stairs – you said they’d be minded but I’m thinking about the crowd management,” he said in reference to the number of pupils who will be climbing the staircase to their classrooms every morning.

Saying he would support the plan based on the combined reasons of need for school places and the opinion of ward councillor. “On their head be it,” he added.

Concerns over drop-off and pick-up times for congestion and noise were quashed by the “desperate” need for school places.

The expansion of Jo Richardson Secondary School from 8 to 10 forms and Marsh Green Primary School from one to 2 forms of entry from September 2015 were recommended for approval earlier this year.


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