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Menorah Foundation School in Burnt Oak set for expansion to ease burden on Barnet's classrooms
Plans to double the size of a Jewish primary school to help ease the burden on Barnet’s bulging classrooms look set for approval.
The Menorah Foundation School, in Abbots Road, Burnt Oak, will be expanded from 278 pupils to 480 in the first phase of council plans to find an extra 660 primary school places by 2018.
Barnet Council’s planning committee will assess the application to demolish an existing nursery and build new two-storey classrooms when it meets on Tuesday evening.
Council officers have already recommended members approve the proposals, which form the first part of a wider school expansion costing in the region of £60million over the next five years.
Clare Neuberger, headteacher at the school for the past 12 years, said: “We’re so delighted. This is a dream that has been in the minds of myself and the governors for a long time and we’re glad to be seeing the fruits of our labour.”
The school’s expansion is among ‘phase one’ of the council’s plan to increase the availability of primary school places in the borough.
Increasing demand has been blamed on a rise in birth rates, immigration and more families moving to the borough to find school places.
Schools portfolio holder Councillor Andrew Harper said: “I’m hopeful the plans will be approved and we can go ahead with the expansion, which will be significant in helping meet the growing demand for primary places in the borough.”
Moss Hall Junior School in West Finchley, Brunswick Park Primary in East Barnet, Martin Primary in East Finchley, and St John’s C of E in Whetstone have also been identified for expansion as the council wrestles with the growing number of applications.
Cllr Harper said: “It has been an anxious time but I’m delighted we now have a plan in place and that we have identified finances that my colleagues at the council are committed to coming up with.”
If approved, building work at the Menorah Foundation School is expected to begin this summer.
A smaller extension to existing classrooms could begin before then, creating a new library and ICT suite in time for the September term.
A music room, design and technology and cookery classrooms will also be built in the new two-storey block, a development Mrs Neuberger says will benefit existing pupils as well as the extra influx.
She said: “This expansion will give the children many more opportunities and will be the biggest change in the school since I have been here. It is very exciting and we’re looking forward to it.”