Wath Comprehensive School in Rotherham to be expanded with 150 new places

Cabinet members in Rotherham have approved the addition of 150 new places at Wath Comprehensive School in Wath-upon-Dearne.

The plan will involve building work costing £1.3 million, subject to planning permission.

The recommendations were approved at a cabinet meeting this morning.

“Wath is a very popular local school, and as such there is more demand than there are places in the school,” said Gordon Watson, a Labour councillor and cabinet member for children and young people.

“This is providing an extra 30 places in each year group to meet that demand.”

When school places were released on 1 March, 94% of Rotherham applicants received an offer from their first-choice school, said Cllr Watson compared to a national figure of around 68%.

Ian Thomas, the council’s director of children’s services, said the school was regularly full and oversubscribed.

“The additional places at Wath Comprehensive would enable more parents to access their first preference school for their child,” he said.

The council’s timetable for Wath Comprehensive. Click image for full council report.

There were some 110 pupils on the waiting list in 2015/16, council figures show, and 40 in 2016/17.

Mr Thomas said the response from the public was generally supportive, although parents did raise some concerns in the consultation.

One parent, whom the council has anonymised, said the school might grow too large for the village.

“Quite frankly, I can see disruption and the possibility of extra time off, or pupils being shunted around into portacabins at some stage,” the parent wrote.

Another parent expressed concerns about the costs.

“Will this expansion increase the already high PFI costs, which the school has no control over?”, they asked.

The council said in response that the costs of the expansion would be met by funding granted by the Department for Education.

Wath currently has 1,876 pupils and earned a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted in its most recent inspection.

The school has not yet responded to a request for comment.


Top image from Google Street View