Marpool school to grow to cope with homes plans

Marpool Primary School staff will mark its 60th birthday this year by opening three new classrooms in September.

It is the first stage of a major new seven-year expansion, increasing their annual reception class intake by 15 a year from September, up to 2019.

Plans have been filed with county chiefs for the two-phase expansion project to build five new classrooms in total – the remaining two will open by 2014.

The plans also include a new playground, as well as a multi-use games area, which will also be for use by the community. The plans were this week backed by town planners.

The Elliott Building will be demolished, with the new classrooms housed in a single ‘volumetric’ building, designed to teach 150 children, which will also incorporate a group room and toilets. There will also be an extension to form a drama studio.

The aim is increase the school’s population from 315 to 420 by 2019, by 15 pupils a year, in line with a predicted increase in population following housing developments.

The project follows �960,000 being earmarked last week from the county council’s education capital programme for 2012/2013, part of a �21million of investment in Devon’s schools over the next year.

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Head teacher Rachel Pattison said two of the new classrooms would be for extra capacity, and the third to replace an existing ‘ad-hoc’ classroom.

The site will be on land at the north end of the existing school playing field.

Mrs Pattison said: “This is a really exciting time for the school – 60 more pupils for our 60th birthday. We will be able to take on 15 more children every year.

“The MUGA (multi-use games area) will be at the top end of the playing field, which isn’t used all year because the ground gets very wet.

“It will be available for use by the community. Not all the land will be used, so the school will retain our ‘forest school’ stats.

A spokesman for the county council said: “We have an incremental plan at Exmouth which has been agreed in partnership with the Local Learning Community.

“This will help us to manage the current and projected increase in pupils entering schools.

“For Marpool, this is intended to be a permanent expansion and obviously other improvements will be needed as the school grows.”