‘Yes’ to school expansion

Teachers, pupils and parents at Langdale School are celebrating after the school was given planning permission to expand

Teachers, pupils and parents at Langdale School are celebrating after the school was given planning permission to expand

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A Blackpool primary school bidding to become the resort’s first free school has had ambitious plans for a major expansion approved.

Langdale School, an independent school in Bispham, is planning to expand by creating four new classrooms, a hall and a bigger playground.

Blackpool Council planning bosses have approved the scheme.

And the school now hopes to have a bid to become a free school approved by the Department for Education in the next few days, so building work can begin on a new site on Warbreck Road.

The expansion will see the small school effectively double in size, moving from combined classes in a single building to one class per year group, across two buildings.

And from September 2013, Langdale intends to become the resort’s first free school, opening up the facility to children across the whole community.

A free school is a school funded by taxpayers, free to attend and not controlled by a local authority. The idea was introduced by the coalition Government.

They are state funded and still inspected by Ofsted.

Principal Carol Stallard said: “We are delighted by this news which allows us to bring the high standards, family values, ethos and aspirations engrained in Langdale’s 93-year history and traditions, to the whole local community.”

Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for schools at Blackpool Council, said: “We are committed to working with all schools in Blackpool, regardless of governance arrangements, to secure high quality education for all our young people.

“We will be in dialogue with the free school and other schools to help manage the issues and implications for Blackpool’s school place planning that this creates.”