Town could get three schools

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THREE schools in Thetford could be expanded and three more built if a project to build 5,000 new homes is approved, according to council plans.

Drake Infant School, Raleigh Infant School and Admiral’s Junior School could be set for changes to cater for the extra demand for places brought about by the Thetford North development.

The news came in a report from the director of Norfolk County Council’s Children Services, presented to members last Thursday.

The report also states that up to three new 420-place primary schools would need to be built as the development progresses.

It goes on to say that Drake Infant School would need to be expanded to become a primary school, with adjacent land having to be acquired as a result.

Admirals and Raleigh would become a single through school under the plans.

Mary Bartrop, headteacher at Drake, welcomed the report and said expansion for the school had been backed in the past.

“From our point of view, I know parents are very keen for us to expand so children can stay here into Key Stage 2.

“The governing body would be happy for it to happen as well – I think the will is there from people who are involved,” she said.

Mrs Bartrop added that an existing shortage of school places had already meant parents not getting their children into their first choice schools, making expansion inevitable and necessary.

Theresa Rogers, headteacher at Admirals, said becoming a through school was not something that had been considered, with its consultation on becoming an academy still ongoing.

“I think there are things up for discussion, but it’s a matter of watch this space,” she said.

Mike Brindle, Norfolk county councillor for Thetford West, said much would have to be resolved for three new schools and expansion of existing schools to take place.