Work officially underway on middle school expansion project

Pupils and staff joined invited guests for a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of work on Leighton Middle School’s expansion scheme.

Work is taking place to increase the capacity of the school, in Church Square, Leighton Buzzard, by 120 places.

The project is due for completion in time for the 2016/17 academic year when the school will be able to accommodate up to 600 pupils. Initially, the school will take an extra 30 pupils into Year 5.

The expansion scheme is part of Central Bedfordshire Council’s ongoing five-year commitment to provide 6,500 new school places across the region by 2017.

Today (Thursday, 11 February) pupils, staff, governors and invited dignitaries attended the ceremony to mark the start of work. Three pupils read poems about their experiences of Leighton Middle to mark the start of proceedings.

Invited guests included Councillor Mark Versallion, Executive Member for Education and Skills, Cllr David Bowater, a ward member and the council’s Chairman, ward members Cllr Ray Berry and Cllr Amanda Dodwell, and Chief Executive Richard Carr.

Cllr Versallion said: “Leighton Middle has been oversubscribed for a number of years which is why I am delighted that work has begun to expand the school.

“This will mean that more children can attend a good school close to their home, and is part of the council’s commitment to support popular and successful schools to expand in areas where we need more places.

“I look forward to returning and seeing how work is progressing.”

Anne Thompson, headteacher at the school, said: “This is an exciting day – the new accommodation and facilities being built will be a great benefit to our school in the years to come.”

The scheme was agreed by the council following a public consultation in which 92 per cent of respondents were in favour of expanding the school.

For more information about the council's programme to create 6,500 new school places over a five-year period to 2017, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/school-places

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