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Catholic school announces £900,000 expansion after surge in places demand

Deputy head teacher Frank Lane and pupils at Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School, Penshaw, who have come top in the primary school league tables

Deputy head teacher Frank Lane and pupils at Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School, Penshaw, who have come top in the primary school league tables

A SCHOOL is set for a £900,000 expansion to cope with a surge in demand for catholic primary places.

Last year, Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School, in Penshaw, had the longest waiting list across the area, with 26 children.

According to a Sunderland City Council report, catholic schools in Washington and the Coalfields area are under pressure due to an increase in baptism rates as well as new housing developments.

The Station Road school now needs to increase its capacity from 210 to 315 places, with construction work beginning in September pending planning approval.

It has already had to make use of a temporary classroom to take on more youngsters, but is in need of a permanent solution, according to a report presented to cabinet members.

Councillors have now agreed to proceed with the design and build process, worth an estimated £918,000, which will be funded from the council’s Basic Need Budget from the Department for Education.

Once complete, the school will be able to accommodate 315 pupils with three new classrooms and a dance and drama studio. The number of toilets and storage space will also increase, as with the outdoor play area.

The demand in school places is determined by birth rate data, GP registrations and housing development information, and this is expected to increase further with ongoing at work at the former Lambton Cokeworks site and with the proposed development in Philadelphia.

“Our Lady Queen of Peace is an outstanding, oversubscribed primary school.

“In recent years the school has not been able to accommodate all the catholic children living in the parish,” a planning application from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle read.

“This year and in future years there is a sharp increase in the birth rates both within the catchment area and more significantly throughout the city of Sunderland.”

A date has not yet been set for determination of the application, while objections have been received from five residents in Frederick Gardens, mainly expressing concerns about car parking and potential flooding.

 

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