Funding to help growing schools

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SCHOOLS in the Mildenhall area could be set to benefit from a £5 million fund to help them take on extra students.

The Government has given the money to Suffolk County Council as part of a £500 million national investment into new classrooms and equipment for over-subscribed schools.

Cllr Graham Newman, Suffolk’s portfolio holder for children, schools and young people’s services, said the money was a welcome boost and pinpointed Mildenhall as one of the areas where numbers of school children were on the up.

“Our capital budget has been cut down significantly in recent years and this will be a massive help,” he said.

“We now have to think about how to best use it because that money will only stretch to around 25 classrooms and they have to be in areas with the highest need.”

County council figures show that many primary schools in the Mildenhall area were having to expand their intake due to demand.

Beck Row Primary was the highest over-subscriber this year, taking on 45 children in September despite a PAN (planned admission number) of 30.

However, Angie Hamilton, Beck Row headteacher, said the PAN was regularly reviewed by the school and no new classrooms were currently needed.

Lakenheath Community School took on 48 with a PAN of 45 and West Row Primary Schooltook on 35 with a PAN of 30.

Tuddenham Primary School also took on 45 children despite a PAN of 30. However, the school will be operating with a capacity of 45 when it moves to a new site in Red Lodge from next September.

Cllr Newman added that classrooms would only need to be built should those trends continue over the following years.