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Parents to 'fight' proposal for extra class at overcrowded school
Parents say they will fight plans by Enfield Council to squeeze more children into a Southgate Green primary school.
More than 550 people have signed an online petition to oppose an extra reception class of 30 children at Walker Primary School in Waterfall Road to cope with increased demand for school places.
Parent Susan Lisle, who has two children at the school, said: “There simply isn’t enough room or adequate facilities to house 30 more children at the school. The buildings are cramped, dilapidated and wholly inadequate as it is.
"Staff are already reduced to teaching children in corridors and even in stock cupboards.
“Thirty more children on site simply won’t be safe, and teaching them off site in a temporary classroom in a car park is not the schooling start the borough’s children deserve.”
A campaign group, Walker Parents’ Action Group, has been set up to call for Enfield Council to consider rebuilding parts of the school to allow for more pupils to comfortably fit in the premises.
The group is particularly concerned about the already limited space available in the school, with research finding that Walker Primary School has just 4.60sqm of inside space per pupil.
In comparison, De Bohun Primary School in Green Road, has 14.33sqm of space per pupil, with the average floor space in Enfield primary schools being 6.21sqm.
The school was built for 210 children, but there are currently 420 pupils at the school – double its original capacity.
However, councillor Ayfer Orhan, cabinet member for schools and children’s services, dismissed the parents’ concerns that a bulge class is the only option for expansion.
She said: "I am determined to see more places in this part of the borough and to support Walker School, its children and parents.
“I fully understand the parents' concerns and can reassure them that we are looking at a number of ways to provide extra places in the Southgate Green area and all parts of the borough.
"I can reassure all parents that children of statutory school age will be offered a school place this September.”
She said the council is in discussions with headteacher Liz Whincop with a view to “permanently expand” the school as well as improve the buildings.
She said she is waiting for the results of a report commissioned by the council to test the feasibility of adding an extra reception class to the two already in place in the school.
She added: “Expansion does not mean cramming more children into spaces that are too small or indeed losing facilities.
“What we are aiming for is a way to expand that actually improves facilities at the school and continues its reputation to offer an excellent education.”