North Cumbrian primary school submits plans for extra classroom

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Irthington Village School
Irthington Village School

A rural school which has doubled in size in the last decade is in need of a new classroom.

Irthington Village School has submitted plans for the expansion after undergoing a huge growth.

The school, which dates back to 1875, was last extended in 2008, when it had about 40 pupils.

There are now 83 children who share three classrooms.

And it has become difficult to manage requirements regarding the maximum number of pupils per class.

Leaders at the school say the move will give teachers more flexibility - and is a sign of growing confidence in the school.

School governor Ian Gibson said: "The plans will create more space as the numbers have increased and the pre-school group is also well supported.

"The new space will give the school more flexibility in the way it works with the children.

"It is a sign of confidence in the work the school is doing for the children and the community."

A post office is also operating from the site - so the extension is said to be of "wider benefit" for the village as well.

A planning statement says: "Because there are only three existing classrooms the need to have up to three different age ranges taught in the same classroom, with the need to cover two curriculums simultaneously, is a challenge and can be a learning barrier.

"With four classrooms the arrangement would have a maximum two-year mix.

"The school would operate much more effectively if there was an additional classroom."

Currently nursery, reception and year one share a classroom, as do years four, five and six.

In a letter to parents headteacher Lynn Harrison said the number of children on its role would not be increased.

 Lynn Harrison

Lynn Harrison

She explained that the Government has discussed the possibility of offering nursery children the option of 30 free hours provision a week - and in order to provide this an additional classroom would be needed.

She added that in the current financial climate the local authority had no funds for the project.

The governors have earmarked cash towards the cost of the project.

But the headteacher said "significant" fundraising and grant applications would also be needed.

One of the ideas is to ask people to buy bricks, for a set fee, which their names would be engraved on and included in the new build.

The school has applied for planning permission to Carlisle City Council.

It is proposing to build the new classroom at the back of the school, alongside the 2008 extension.

An additional cloakroom, storage space and toilets are also part of the plans.

Meanwhile the school is also set to undergo moves to enlarge the dining hall, measures to improve internal circulation and the provide ramps.

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