Kingsmead school is set for a major expansion, with new classrooms and an influx of around 60 new pupils next year from an expanded catchment area.
“In October last year we were approached by the Local Authority to consider expanding our current catchment area,” said head teacher Mark Griffin. “Which currently stretches from Cotford St Luke and Bishops Lydeard in the East; Stogumber and Lydeard St Lawrence in the North; Huish Champflower and Raddington in the West and Stawley to the South – to include the current catchment of Dulverton Middle School which covers most of the Somerset area of Exmoor. This is a huge but relatively sparsely populated area.
“Earlier this month, governors agreed to the expansion. This means that from September 2015, Kingsmead will open its doors to students currently attending Dulverton Middle School. It is anticipated that this will increase numbers in the school by up to 30 in each year starting with years 7 and 8 in 2015. The growth in population inside our current catchment will also add to the growth of the school.
“The decision to expand our catchment area was taken for 2 reasons. Firstly – children at Dulverton middle school will need a school to go to and as Kingsmead is for most of them their closest school, it seems the most obvious solution.
“Secondly although it seems counter-intuitive – it will be easier to manage a sudden and projected growth than it will to manage the creeping increase of student numbers from within our current catchment – as we will be able to plan accommodation and staff increases rather than wait for the numbers to reach a point where we can afford a new teacher and provide them with a classroom which – without the ability to plan strategically will inevitably be a mobile hut!
“Unfortunately we learned today that we have been unsuccessful in our bid to the academies capital fund to build a new block. However, we have some money set aside which we can add to money designated to Kingsmead from Somerset County Council to build new accommodation due for completion in August 2015 ready for expansion in September.”