Plans to reopen closed Hatfield school
A SCHOOL that was closed more than three years ago due to a surplus of students could be reopened – as the demand for school places suddenly surges.
Hertfordshire County Council is considering opening a new school on the site of New Briars Primary School, in Briars Lane, Hatfield, as it looks to tackle a projected shortage of pupil places over the next two years.
The school was closed in 2007, when there was a surplus of pupil places in Hatfield.
New Briars amalgamated with Stream Woods JMI in Woods Avenue, and became Oak View Primary School.
But now demand for school places in the town has risen dramatically, and the county council has now forecast a shortage of 45 places in Hatfield for 2011/12, rising to 75 from 2012/13.
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The county council is now proposing to reopen the school by 2012.
County councillor Richard Thake, executive member for education, was honest in his assessment of the situation.
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“I won’t lie to you,” Cllr Thake said. “If we knew this was going to happen we wouldn’t have shut it in the first place.
“It was the right decision at the time. We had a rapidly declining population of children in that area.
“The way schools are funded, if your number of students start to drop the available income begins to decline. If that happens, you’ve got a situation where you’re unable to pay staff and deliver the curriculum to children.”
The move is just one of a series of proposals to meet future demand for school places in Welwyn Hatfield.
Also being considered is a permanent expansion of Oak View from one form of entry (FE) to two – an increase of 30 pupils.
A temporary expansion of De Havilland Primary School in Travellers Lane from one FE to three FEs is also on the cards, while Creswick Nursury and Primary School in WGC could extend to two FEs.
A public consultation on the expansions is now open. Visit www.hertsdirect.org/schoolplaces for more information.