Derwentwater School Expansion Back On The Table

Parents call meeting this Thursday to discuss Council's proposals

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Parents at Acton’s largest primary school are once again being asked to consider expansion of the school to meet the needs of Ealing's growing population, despite furious objections to expansion last summer.

Derwentwater Primary School in Shakespeare Road, along with Southfields, West Acton and Berrymede Junior School, will be considered for permanent expansion under Ealing Council's Primary Capital Programme, which identifies a need for 480 new school places in Ealing.

Acton is particularly in need of places due to a high birth rate. Unofficial figures put the need for school places in Acton at an extra 109.

D.A.R.E., or Derwentwater Action To Reject Expansion, set up by parents at the school, are resolutely against a temporary solution or 'bulge' class in portable classrooms and successfully won a battle with last year's Conservative-run Ealing Council.

But the issue isn't going away and D.A.R.E.are preparing to mount a campaign against temporary expansion again.

Alex Watson, a parent at Derwentwater School and member of D.A.R.E. says while they are resolutely opposed to a temporary solution to the need for more school places, the group, along with governors of the school, may consider plans for permanent expansion but only with more detailed information.

"There are bigger issues here - space in the playground is limited, how will the school cope with over nine hundred children in terms of play time, lunchtime and more importantly, maintaining a strong sense of community within such a big school?"

A public meeting has been called for Thursday 7th April at 7:45pm upstairs at The Rocket, Churchfield Road, W3.  D.A.R.E. is encouraging parents and local residents to attend to hear the lateset news on the expansion plans and to discuss how the expansion will affect the neighbourhood.

In a letter sent to the parents' group, Ealing Council's Holly Morgan-Smith outlined the council's preliminary plans, saying 30 extra places have been offered at Southfield, West Acton and Berrymede Primary Schools from September 2011.  These children will be housed in temporary classrooms on the school grounds.

Ms. Morgan-Smith also revealed that a full consultation on primary school places in Acton will begin in April or May 2011, although nothing has yet been formally announced by Ealing Council.


April 4, 2011

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