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Politicians talk over Barnoldswick school expansion bid
A SCHOOL which is struggling to cope with growing demand for places put its case for expansion to Pendle’s MP and the youngest councillor in the country.
Lyle Davy, 18, who became the UK’s youngest council member in May, visited St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Barnoldswick with MP Andrew Stephenson.
They met the school council, headteacher and governors to discuss the issue after the school had applications from 27 Catholic families but could only admit 20 children a year.
Coun Davy, a former pupil at the school, said: “The students were brilliant and made a really strong case.
“They talked about how the overcrowding was affecting their education and it was clear they were speaking from the heart.
“It is definitely worth considering extending the school to facilitate these needs.”
Coun Davy said the problem was a long-standing issue and although he could not remember any major challenges while he was a student, he did remember tables having to be moved from classrooms into the dining hall to accommodate students at lunch time.
The school currently has five classrooms, each of which caters for split-year groups.
Parish priest Father Simon explained to Coun Davy and Mr Stephenson that the situation was the same last year and baptismal records indicated that the over-subscription issue was likely to continue.
Coun Davy and Mr Stephenson then met the school council, comprising children from each class, who explained to them how the lack of space was affecting their education.
The school hopes to secure funding to add another two classrooms, to boost their yearly admissions number to 30 children, enabling them to better cater for children across Barnoldswick, Earby, Kelbrook and Salterforth. Head Natalie Wood said: “The governing body has requested to extend the school by adding two more classrooms.
“However, this is proving extremely difficult and we have been informed by Lancashire County Council that there is no need as there are sufficient places for pupils in our locality.
“We hope our discussions have highlighted our difficulties here and that Mr Stephenson and Mr Davy support our plight.”
Mr Stephenson pledged to urge the county council to make the school expansion a priority.