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Expansion plans at Nottinghamshire school get the green light

Major expansion plans to give a Nottinghamshire school space for 300 extra pupils have been given the go-ahead.

The expansion at Outwood Academy Portland, in Netherton Road, Worksop, will see three two-storey extensions built onto the school.

The existing dining room and the kitchen will also be extended alongside landscaping work to the school’s campus grounds.

Nottinghamshire County Council has drawn up plans in conjunction with the academy trust in charge of the school.

It is hoped the expansion will help relieve growing pressure on secondary schools across Worksop and the wider Bassetlaw district.

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The school says the expansion follows a “significant level of new housing developments”, which means more children need secondary school places.

Overall, the expansion will increase the number of pupils at the school from 1,500 to 1,800.

This will increase gradually over a number of years and is expected to begin in September 2024, when the first larger cohort of 360 pupils will join.

This is up from 300 currently and will help the area cope with a predicted future rise in demand for secondary education over the next eight years.

The plans were approved by the council’s planning and rights of way committee on Tuesday (February 28).

In the meeting, Mike Sharp, the council’s team manager for pupil place planning, said: “The number of school places across Bassetlaw is 3,429 for children aged 11-18.

“The planning area has a small insufficiency of school places currently, of 44 places, but due to demographic change and an increase in population, that insufficiency is expected to grow.

“By 2031/32, the insufficiency of places is expected to rise to an under-capacity of 446 places – hence the quest to extend the provision at Portland.”

Following the committee’s unanimous approval, the new buildings, extensions and landscaping can now come forwards.

This would join new cycle bays, cycle lockers, electric vehicle charging points and extra electric vehicle infrastructure in the car park.

New jobs will also be created through the expansion and will add to the current 111 full-time and 65 part-time staff at the school.

The council has confirmed three full-time and one part-time teaching role will be created alongside a full-time management position.

There will also be two further full-time catering and three other full-time positions, with four part-time catering roles and three more part-time roles created.

In total, the number of new jobs will be 17, working out to 12 full-time equivalent positions when factoring in the hours of new staff.

There will be eight new classrooms, a new drama studio, a staffroom and toilets.

Forty covered cycle spaces are included in the scheme alongside five staff cycle parking lockers.

Councillor Philip Owen (Con), a former chairman of the children and young people’s committee and a former teacher, welcomed the plans on Tuesday.

He said: “To my mind, this is a no-brainer. Clearly, there are going to be significant increases in the number of young people in the area and, therefore, we need more school places.

“The beauty of this is that, because of the work of the Outwood Grange Academies Trust over a number of years, we’re not only creating school places but we shall be creating them at a good school.

“This will enable the lives of young people in the Worksop area to be transformed.”

Danielle Sheehan, the academy’s principal, also previously told parents the plans are a “fantastic opportunity for the school”.

She said in November: “We were keen to support this initiative.

“We consider this a fantastic opportunity for the school as it also allows us to provide a solution to the growing pressure on school places.”

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