Rebecca Wayman

Plans for new £8.2m County Durham school set to go before council

Proposals to build a new school in a County Durham village worth £8.2m will go before councillors next week (commencing February 5).

Plans for the new build at Bowburn will be considered by Durham County Council’s Cabinet next Wednesday February 7. It is said to have immense community backing and an approval recommendation.

The new facility would be a primary school catering for children aged three to 11, from the current Bowburn Infant and Nursery, and Bowburn Junior Schools.

The proposals are in line with moves by the council to bring junior and infant schools together where appropriate. This is so children can enjoy the benefits of primary education without having to change sites at age seven.

Amalgamating the schools would also create a more viable education site.

Cllr Olwyn Gunn, the council’s Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “We are proposing a significant investment in the education of children in Bowburn, with a new build fit for the delivery of a first-class curriculum for the 21st century.

“The infant and junior schools have both been rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted. We firmly believe that a joining of their leaderships and the removal of the change between the sites at age seven can only enhance learning and progress.”

The junior school building is said to be in a poor state of repair.

However, the council carried out consultation over its proposals with meetings with governors and staff, and an event for parents, pupils and local residents. An overwhelming majority of those taking part in the consultation backed the plans, with 97 per cent in support.

Having considered the responses, the council published a statutory notice giving people a final four weeks in which to comment. One response was received in this time.

Gunn added: “We’re really pleased with the response we had to the consultation and that the vast majority of those who took part were in support of what we’re seeking to do.”

The new development would have a capacity for 540 children and a nursery unit with up to 140 part-time places, and built on the existing junior school site. The facility would open in September 2019 at which time the infant and nursery school would close.

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