Vision for college growth revealed to town council

PUBLISHED: 12:47 27 November 2013 | UPDATED: 12:47 27 November 2013

Green Close play area

Green Close play area

Archant

Britain’s largest school, Exmouth Community College, is set to get even bigger with sixteen new classrooms and more sports facilities proposed to cope with rocketing pupil numbers.

College managers are also suggesting expanding on to the adjacent Withycombe Rugby Club for use as a sports field.

Student numbers are predicted to rise by as much as 500 pupils by 2019 – a 20 per cent increase - and there is no space for study or sport.

County chiefs have pledged £50,000 to carry out preliminary survey works for a new classroom block at the Gipsy Lane site.

The earmarked area is the in filled former swimming pool, adjacent to the wall running along Withycombe Village Road.

While a roof and internal floodlights could also be added to the school’s largest recreation space, a ‘caged’ area at the Green Close site, for sports like tennis and netball is also being investigated.

College principal Tony Alexander and his deputy David Turner revealed their vision to town councillors at a meeting last Monday – and asked for their support.

It’s all part of a ten-year plan being drawn up, and other suggestions include converting the media block for science and technology use.

This would be dependent on education secretary Michael Gove and if he ‘outlaws’ media studies from the national curriculum.

Mr Alexander said that the £50,000 grant for new classrooms was a ‘vote of confidence’ from county bosses and added: “The main problem is a lack of space. We do not have any grass areas to play sport.

“If it wasn’t for the generosity of Withycombe Rugby Club, we would not be able to play rugby

“We have two artificial pitches, which urgently need replacing.

“We have one sports hall for 2,500 students… and a couple of gymnasia which, for 14 weeks of the year, are used for examinations.

“The only space that I can see is at the rugby club next door to the college.

“We have a gateway through there and the whole site is fenced and secured. That would be the natural place to expand to.”

A county council spokesman said: “Pupils in primary schools will start to feed through to the community college over the next few years. We have a responsibility to ensure that there are enough places for pupils.”


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