Cabinet members pause plans to increase places at Sheffield school

Parents held a protest outside Sheffield Town Hall over plans to temporarily expand Dobcroft Infant School.
Parents held a protest outside Sheffield Town Hall over plans to temporarily expand Dobcroft Infant School.
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A controversial move to expand the number of pupil places available at a Sheffield school has been put on hold.

Cabinet members approved a recommendation to pause the consultation process for increasing places at Dobcroft Schools in Millhouses from 90 to 120 children from September 2016.

A temporary increase of 30 pupils has already been decided for September 2015 – despite campaigners’ continued concerns over the impact this will have on road safety and the quality of education for children with special needs.

Parents and governors attended yesterday’s Cabinet meeting to present a 445 signature petition.

Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, said the pause was the right thing to do so more options can be explored to solve the problem that there are not enough school places in the south west of the city to cope with future demand.

She said: “We have listened to what people have said and taken on board they’re not happy. We are going to go back with them and explore other proposals because we need a solution to be up and running in 2016.

“It’s not indecision – it’s because we want to go back and test some of those options that have been put forward.”

Council leader Julie Dore questioned the impact the expansion would have on children with special educational needs as they need more quiet ‘break-out’ space than others.

She also asked how traffic would be kept at a safe level and was told by officers options would be explored including creating a ‘drop-off point’ for children.

Parent Sarah Jones said after the meeting: “To suggest a drop-off point for a four-year-old child is completely unacceptable.

“The pause is the right thing to do but Julie Dore highlighted the concerns regarding the SEN children, lack of break-out space and cars. They’re major concerns which the cabinet seems to have ignored by putting the 2015 class through. Our concern is they’re railroading the decision through.”

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