A SCHOOL deemed to be Barnsley’s most overcrowded primary is set to be extended due to a growing demand for places.
Birkwood Primary School, on Darfield Road in Cudworth, is the subject of a recently-submitted planning application which would see an extension built to form three new classrooms.
A new all-weather pitch will also be created, should the plans be deemed acceptable by Barnsley Council’s planning board.
The Chronicle revealed earlier this year that more than a dozen schools in Barnsley are either full or overcrowded.
A school is at or in excess of capacity when the number of pupils enrolled is greater than or equal to its number of places.
Department for Education figures show 18 primary schools were at or over capacity in Barnsley in the 2021/22 academic year.
The figures show the most crowded primary school in Barnsley last year was Birkwood.
The school had 314 students on roll but 280 places meaning it was over capacity by 12 per cent.
Last year, the council approved plans for a scheme to improve facilities and places in Cudworth.
It’s expected that more than 870 houses will be built in Cudworth in the next decade a 17 per cent increase prompting the council to provide more school places for residents in the area.
Birkwood is currently rated as outstanding by Ofsted and is the centre of the £2.5m scheme.
There are 40 pupils in every year group the plans sought to increase the admission number to 60, which will create 20 extra places in every year group.
A planning report states: “There are no plans to alter the access to the school as part of the development works.
“The site layout has been carefully considered to maximise the space available without compromising on the external education space.
“The layout also takes into consideration the flow of the existing school to ensure the classrooms feel as thought they’re an integral part of the school building.
“The new classrooms sit around a new courtyard area, which has been retained to maintain natural light to the existing classrooms and to the new circulation corridors.
“In order to facilitate the new extension, the existing hard surface multi-use games area (MUGA) will be removed and replaced with a new artificial grass pitch (AGP) in a new location on the existing school playing field.
“The existing school playing field is in poor condition and is unusable through the winter months.
“The new AGP will vastly improve the existing sports provision for the school by allowing outside PE activities to be undertaken all year round.”
Daniel Wood, headeacher of the school, said the improvements are ‘appearing rapidly’.
He added: “We are incredibly excited about the developments in school.
“Previous articles in the Chronicle have shared the fact that we are the most oversubscribed school in Barnsley.
“So, thanks to the support of the local authority, school governors, and our wider community, some incredible developments are appearing rapidly.
“Cudworth is home to some superb schools, and we are extremely proud to be in this community. “Cudworth’s children deserve the best opportunities and facilities that we can possibly provide.
“The pleasure and privilege of serving Cudworth is something that all at Birkwood care deeply about.”
A total of 32 neighbours have been made aware of the plans with no appeals to date.