Schools need to grow to meet the demand

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A public consultation has been launched on plans to extend two of Hemel Hempstead’s primary schools.

Herts County Council wants to increase South Hill Primary School in Heath Lane by one form to provide an extra 30 places and Galley Hill School by 15 places from September 2014.

It is part of a county-wide expansion programme costing £21 million.

Councillor Frances Button, who oversees education and skills, said: “Hertfordshire, like many other local authorities, has seen a significant rise in the number of reception age children registered with GPs since the original forecasts were produced.

“The proposed 2014 programme will enable us to provide the right number of places in the right location while making sure that the expansions are feasible, affordable and maintain the quality of our schools.”

The proposal will not impact on plans for a brand new free school at Hemel Hempstead’s closed Jupiter Drive site.

The Highfield primary was one of three schools in the town that was closed down by council chiefs in 2007. Since then millions of pounds have been spent expanding other primary schools to meet demand.

Susan Poole from the West Herts Community Free Schools Trust said: “There are still places short even with expansion within other schools.”

The trust opened a Hatfield free school in September last year. It has received double the n umber of applications for the 120 places available for the reception group starting in September.

The Department for Education will make a decision on whether Hemel Hempstead’s free school can go ahead in May.

The school expansion consultation closes on March 20. Visit and