New school plans gets resounding thumbs up from letter-writing school children

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Young school children in Barns Green and Itchingfield have bombarded the council with letters of overwhelming support for a new school.

Berkeley Homes is hoping to deliver 69 homes and a new state-of-the-art £4m one-site school in Barns Green, consolidating Itchingfield Primary School into one location.

Currently the infants site is in Barns Green, with the juniors at Itchingfield. Plans would see new houses off Two Mile Ash Road, across the road from the Barns Green school site.

Infant pupils in Larch class, comprising years 1 and 2, wrote letters in support of the application, while the older junior pupils were given a presentation and debated the pros and cons of the proposed development, logging on to the planning portal website to comment.

Denise Maurice, Larch class’ senior teacher, said: “The biggest thing that they miss is not having the bigger children on the same site so they can play with them.”

The class of five-to-six-year-olds wrote their letters and as a group posted them.

She added: “We talked about what we liked about the school and if we had a school what we would like to have.”

Andrew McPhillips, land and planning officer for Berkeley, said that it was a joy to work on a project where they had received such a positive response from the community.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to deliver a proposal that will deliver an outstanding new school and enhance the long-term sustainability of the village,” he said.

“It’s one of the few proposals where the community has got together with the parish council with everyone on board actually moulding and shaping a proposal that they want to see and they can see the benefits.”

The application, which he says will likely be debated by Horsham District Council in February, has received 165 letters of support so far, including 25 from children.

Building would then start in late spring or early summer 2013, with the new facilities opening in September 2014. The current school will remain open until the new one is finished.

Mr McPhillips said the houses could be completed towards the end of 2015 or early in 2016.

Simon Simmons, headteacher at Itchingfield Primary School, added that a recent Ofsted inspection had upgraded the school from satisfactory to good.

“It’s a reflection of all the hard work we have put in over the last three years.

“If we get the new buildings it’s another step to moving to delivering outstanding education for Barns Green.”

He added: “It will be the chance to come together and it will give the older children the chance to show their nurturing side to the younger children.

“Two or three times a term we have mingle celebrations, but it takes a lot more time than it would on a single site.”

A Barns Green liaison committee meets every six to eight weeks.