New school announced for Horley

Horley is to get a new school for more than 200 children.

Surrey County Council has announced it has signed off investment of nearly £5 million for the new school at The Acres.

It will be the first new school to be built in the county since Southfield Park in Epsom in 2006, and is due to open in September 2014.

Also opening at the same time will be a new 26-place nursery.

The new 210-pupil school will stand between Brookfield Drive and Lake Lane in the new Acres housing development.

Sited centrally within the 700 planned houses, the development will feed about 75% of the school's available pupil places.

Comprising seven classrooms and the nursery, the school will have a hall space with dining facilities, a kitchen, staff room, WC and cloak provision, office accommodation and a practical room.

As a new Church of England school, it is being established in partnership with the Diocese of Southwark. The report before county planners stated the expansion of primary school places in Horley was “needed immediately.”

It stated: “Numbers of children in Horley have been increasing for some years, due in part to large-scale housing development of Horley and surrounding areas, as part of the Horley regeneration plan.

“Surrey County Council is predicting the need for at least two forms of additional entry in the Horley North-east sector through to 2018.

“The school will be expected to contribute towards community cohesion and will be expected to provide the normal range of before and after-school clubs, as are provided in a typical Surrey County Council school.”

The next step in the process will be the awarding of the building work to a contractor, with the report pointing out that the project, included in the county council's School Basic Need Capital Programme as part of the 2013 to 2018 Medium Term Financial Plan, is “subject to robust cost challenge and scrutiny to drive optimum value as the scheme progresses.”

Mike George, chairman of Horley Town Council's planning committee, said the announcement of the new school was “great news.”

Coun George said: “We need it. All our existing schools are having to expand.

“This school was always part of the plan for the North-east development anyway, so no surprises there.”

But he said he had concerns that the plan was to open up one form only, and that the county council should have a flexible policy on what classes are opened up when the school opens.

And he added: “Further down the line, it's capacity in secondary education that will have to be looked at, because it will be out of kilter with primary.”

The county council has hailed the new school as part of the biggest expansion programme in Surrey’s history.

Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for schools and learning, said: “We’ve embarked on the biggest school expansion programme Surrey’s ever seen to create the 16,000 places we need to meet a huge rise in demand.”

Coun Kemeny said: “This fantastic new primary school is part of that investment to ensure every child gets the best possible start in life.”

Around 16,000 new school places will be created over five years to meet growing demand, fuelled by a sharp rise in birth rates. More than 3,000 extra classroom spaces will be found in the next year alone.

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