Council moves to reassure parents over Sheffield school expansion concerns

Ecclesall Infant School.
Ecclesall Infant School.

Council chiefs have moved to reassure parents amid concerns that plans to triple the size of a school will cause a traffic nightmare and put students' lives at risk.

Proposals have been revealed to expand Ecclesall Infant School into a primary school to meet increased demand for pupil spaces.

The £4.9 million expansion would eventually see the school increase in size from 180 students to 630 over four years.

But residents who live across from the school claim High Storrs Road already gets clogged up with parents parking up to drop off and pick up their children and this will only get worse when the school increases in size.

They say there has been several accidents in recent years and fear it will only be a matter of time before there is another if the plans go ahead.

But Sheffield Council have issued a statement on behalf of the school in a bid to reassure parents.

In the statement, Jayne Ludlam, executive director of people services at Sheffield Council, said: "It is our absolute priority to ensure that every child in Sheffield fulfils their potential and is able to access a place at a great local school. These plans are key to that vision.

“We have listened to parents and made amendments to our original proposals following feedback."

Company director and parent Julia Harrison, aged 47, whose daughter attends nearby Ecclesall Junior School, said earlier this week: "There has been several accidents there in the last few years, including a girl who was hurt in a collision about a year ago.

"We are worried that there will be more accidents. It is hard for kids and and pedestrians to cross the road as they are having to duck out between parked cars."

The expansion plans have been put forward after a council report highlighted an increase in birth rate and 'significant movement' of young families to the Ecclesall area meaning there is higher demand for school places.

The plans include expanding the school by 90 places per year, starting September 2017, as well as widening the age range to take children up to age 11.

As part of the wider scheme to meet the increased demand for school places, nearby Clifford C of E Infant School would also be turned into a primary school to take in both infant and junior school pupils.

A letter sent to parents recently indicated that Ecclesall Junior School would eventually close and pupils would move to the new primary school.

The same letter indicated that school bosses hope to have the new structure in place by September 2018.

The expansion programme won the backing of Sheffield Council's cabinet last year.

A document on the school's website states there is a plan to "utilise and extend" existing buildings on the infant school site.

The document added that there will be a traffic impact assessment undertaken and submitted as part of the planning application process.

The school held two consultation meetings with parents earlier this week ahead of submitting detailed planning applications.