Welwyn Hatfield MP backs school’s campaign for council to upgrade facilities

Holwell Primary School parents. Picture credit: Monika Scott.

Holwell Primary School parents. Picture credit: Monika Scott. - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Hatfield’s MP has thrown his weight behind a WGC school’s campaign to get Herts County Council to upgrade its facilities.

Parents at Holwell Primary School previously launched a petition, garnering over 800 signatures, urging the local authority to pay for expansions to the dining room, school hall and playground.

The school underwent a revamp in 2014, which saw eight new classes added and pupil capacity rise to 420, but with the infrastructure staying the same, parents were left wondering how the increase in children would be accommodated.

Tory MP Grant Shapps said: “I accepted an invitation from the headteacher Mr McIntyre to visit the school and see how pressing the situation is for myself.

“Having witnessed the lunchtime rush at the school, I strongly agree with administrators and parents that the dining room and other facilities are in critical need of expansion.

“The school will simply not be able to physically cope with more pupils otherwise.”

Infrastructure of the original building was only designed to accommodate 210 pupils, but in three years the capacity will be 420.

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Mr Shapps said the school first approached Hertfordshire County Council about the matter last spring, but the application was rejected because funds had already been given for the original expansion.

“Mr McIntyre states that the school does not wish to have a series of new buildings built, but rather modest extensions,” Mr Shapps added.

“He also states that the school has high SEN [special educational needs] at 23 per cent and that the present situation poses a health and safety risk for both pupils and staff.”

Parent Monika Scott, who set up the petition, told the WHT that the school now has the petition and she is hopeful it will lead to the “much-needed” facilities upgrade.

Headteacher Joe McIntyre said: “Following Mr Shapps’ visit, we were contacted by the local authority who are sending representatives to the school on the 15th [January].

“They will meet with myself and my business manager, view the site and discuss our concerns.”

A council spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have received a letter from Grant Shapps MP regarding Holwell Primary School.

“A reply has been sent to him.

“Terry Douris, cabinet member for education, will be visiting the school in due course, as part of his programme of visiting all of Hertfordshire’s community schools.”