Meadowbrook School to install prefabs to cope with demographic “bulge”

Meadowbrook Primary School, Three Brooks Lane, Bradley Stoke.

Bradley Stoke’s Meadowbrook Primary School is to install a number of prefabricated classrooms to enable it to accommodate an increased entry of reception class pupils in each of the next two academic years.

The school’s governors have agreed to accommodate an additional 30 children in 2013/14 and 2014/15, after being approached by South Gloucestershire Council, which needs to cope with a “bulge” of pupils in the local area.

Meadowbrook joins two other local schools that have agreed to temporarily accept larger intakes: St Michael’s Primary School (in Stoke Gifford) and Stoke Lodge Primary School.

Writing in a recent school newsletter, Meadowbrook headteacher Jon Barr said:

“By all [three local schools] working with South Gloucestershire to plan for this we ensure all our local children have quality school places locally and we ensure the long-term future of our schools. This expansion will necessitate a planning process to bring prefabricated classrooms onto our site and summer construction work.”

The school’s roll is expected to grow to a total of 480 pupils by September 2014. When the “bulge” finally leaves  in 2022, the school will return to its normal size of 420 places.

In the newsletter, Mr Barr also revealed that Meadowbrook received the greatest number of preferences of any ‘locality 1’ South Gloucestershire school for its Reception classes in September 2013.

The new classrooms are expected to be sited close to a new portacabin that is due to be installed in the Meadowbrook grounds to accommodate a commercially-run pre-school for up to 30 children.

Planning permission for the pre-school portacabin was granted last May, despite objections being raised by ten local residents, concerned at the effect the development would have on inconsiderate parking and traffic congestion in Snowberry Close.

Having been granted permission to erect the portacabin for three years, Abacus, the company behind the application, later successfully applied for an extension to ten years, arguing that this was necessary to make the venture financially viable.

During consideration of the pre-school’s planning application, SGC’s Early Learning and School Planning Officer stated that there is already a demand for additional pre-school nursery places for three and four year-old children in the Bradley Stoke area, and that it is projected that there will be an increased population of pre-school aged children in future years.

From September 2013 there will be a new entitlement for up to 20% of two-year-old children to receive free nursery places; this will rise to up to 40% of two-year-old children from September 2014 onwards, which will further increase the demand for places.

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  1. At last! A school acknowledging the need for more school places and accommodating them. This will help a growing community’s children attend a local school, but which secondary school will they go to??

  2. Shame the council isn’t bothering to build real infrastructure when its allows the building of new houses. This is just another sticking plaster in the disaster that is town planning.

    Schools need to be planned before they are needed. The solution isn’t to just throw up a shanty-town of sheds as required. The “bulge” is simply due to too many residents and not enough schools.

  3. There is a national bulge that hasn’t been planned for because a of change of demographic due to immigration – more children per UK adult than was anticipated.

    With Central Government funding cuts South Glos have a massive deficit in their Education Capital budget – so all the new places in South Glos for the foreseeable future are likely to be ‘prefabs’ – cheaper initially than ‘proper’ buildings but meaning lots of trips outside for the children, isolation of teachers and a financial time bomb because they are maintenance hungry and cost to remove (if they are ever no longer required).

    Maybe if we brought our boys home from the oil rich battle fields we could afford to build proper learning environments for our children!

  4. South Gloucestershire Council has estimated the capital cost of providing the temporary classrooms at Meadowbrook School to be £320,000 in 2013/14 and £30,000 in 2014/15.

  5. What about increased traffic flow (cars and pedestrians) at the start and the end of the day? It’s pretty chaotic already!

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