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Parsons Down Schools thrilled by proposed new facilities

West Berkshire Council has applied to demolish infant building and replace it with sports pitch

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886633

Parsons Down Infant School Thatcham could be demolished

THE Parsons Down Partnership of Schools (PDP) has said it is thrilled at the prospect of new facilities on its site.

The PDP, comprising the infant and junior school, will receive a new multi-use games area (MUGA), wildflower meadow and enhanced facilities through a West Berkshire Council project.

The council has submitted plans to demolish the infant school building and replace it with the MUGA.

The junior school building will be revamped to take a one-form infant entry.

The partnership said that staff and pupils at both the infant and junior schools were thrilled at the prospect of new and improved facilities that will positively impact on children’s education, health and wellbeing.

Headteacher Catherine Bull said: “We’ve worked hard with the project team to design the best possible learning environment for our pupils and staff and it has been fantastic to see our discussions come to life in the proposed designs.

“The children’s education will be really enhanced by learning together under one roof with some new and improved facilities such as a larger library, MUGA, an enticing Foundation Stage environment and a wildflower meadow that we can all enjoy.”

The plans follow pupil numbers in the schools’ catchment area falling, owing to demographic changes, and the school has reduced its intake from three-form entry to two.

However, the PDP said the situation was not unique in the town, as virtually all schools were facing a situation where they could not fill all places in their reception classes.

The partnership said that the proposals allowed for potential extension should pupil numbers in Thatcham increase in the future.

It said that it had worked closely with the council to “achieve long-term stability” following “a long period of change”.

It said the proposals would “better match demand and supply for school places” and put it on “a sound financial footing” and be able to better plan for the future.

Other benefits include school leaders not having to manage three sites and making more productive use of their time.

The PDP said that children would benefit from having a smoother transition between phases of their education, without the challenge of moving buildings.

Work on phase one is scheduled to begin during the Easter holidays and finish in September 2021, when the partnership will reduce its pupil admission number to 30.

Phase one will include remodelling the junior school building, which the school said would positively impact pupil learning.

A new and exciting space for foundation stage pupils will be created, which will continue to place the importance of outdoor education at the heart of learning.

A revamped library space, all-weather sports pitch and improved before and after school club provision will also be provided.

Phase two, scheduled to commence in September 2021, will involve the demolition of the infant school building and work starting on the all-weather pitch and wildflower areas.

The final stage will result in all pupils in the junior school in September 2022.

The school’s Eco Council said it was excited at the prospect of a wild flower meadow as well as leading on the development of a wildlife area.

The partnership said this would ensure its pledge to look after the environment and maintain their Eco-Schools Green Flag status.

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Article comments

  • Patricia

    23/12/2020 - 13:15

    I think that the wildflower meadow should be called Davies field after a very caring headmaster

    Reply