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Expansion Update

We are pleased to be able to let you know that work on the School expansion project should begin on Monday 3rd February as anticipated.

During the first two weeks the contractors will be carrying out preparatory work, including erecting hoardings and fences, placing a protective cover on the playground, removing a tree and some of the fencing between the playground and the drive, and taking delivery of plant and materials. They hope to start removing soil from the bank where the new block will be situated on Friday 14th February (which is an INSET day), and to complete as much of this work as possible during the half-term break. We expect this work will still be going on when the children return, so there may be some noise and disruption for a few days afterwards.

The preparation and construction phases are scheduled to take 28 weeks, so if all goes well the building will be complete by mid-August, ready for occupation in the autumn term.

The School and the contractors have some exciting ideas for involving the children during the course of the project, and the Head Teacher will give more details shortly. Obviously, health and safety are of the highest importance on a construction site, and the Construction Director will be making a presentation about the project, including a safety briefing, to the whole School in the near future.

We hope you are as excited as we are that the expansion project is at last about to get under way. We will continue to keep you abreast of progress over the months to come.

JS - 1 February 2014 16:44 - GeneralExpansion Plans Update

During last term, the Governing Body set up a School Expansion Working Group comprising the Head Teacher, the Chairman of the Governors and four other governors, including two parent governors. The Group met with the Kent County Council (KCC) Project Manager and the Architect on 9 and 21 October and will continue to meet on a regular basis until the expansion has been completed.

Formal planning consent for the building works, which include a new four classroom block, was granted on 17 October. Six contractors have been invited to tender for the works; two will be selected for interview before Christmas and the successful contractor will be appointed in early January. KCC anticipate that work will begin during the February half term holiday with the new classroom block ready for use by the start of the Autumn Term.

Additional information on the expansion plans can be seen in our Expansion Plan Pages

- 8 November 2013 11:45 - GeneralExpansion Update May 23rd

Expansion update from The Governors 23.05.13

Dear Parents,

We now have some more information about the school expansion which we are able to share with you.

As you are aware we are moving to a three form entry of 90 children in total from September 2013. It is not possible to have a satisfactory new build in place before then and so as an interim measure the school will be using the current science room as an additional classroom. The school has been given a small sum of money to improve the room for this use and this will be spent on furniture and sound-proofing.

The use of the science room is temporary - for one academic year only. We have made it clear to KCC that we expect this room to be returned to its original use as soon as the new facilities are completed. KCC have agreed to this and we are completely confident that we will permanently retain this room for its original function.

Today the governors received a presentation from KCC and GDM architects. GDM architects have been selected through a tendering process to supply proposals for the new build. They presented to us some outline proposals for a four-classroom, two-storey building (with ancillary features such as lavatories and cloakrooms) which would be located in the bank between the current school building and the playing field. Their plans are still subject to some considerable change and propose to include increased staff accommodation and improved access to the current building as well. Much of this building work could take place off-site as the construction, although substantial, is modular in design.

We are impressed with the design. We are pleased with its aesthetic and practical considerations and we support the initial plans that have been shown to us. However, there are still several hurdles to jump and we will not have detailed and definitely feasible plans until towards the end of June. At this stage KCC and GDM architects have said that they will be pleased to meet with parents with the plans that will be submitted to KCC Planning Committee for consideration in July 2013.

Should planning permission be granted in July/August it is anticipated that work will begin in September 2013. We will have more details about the project plan in June.

We will make sure that we give you as much notice as possible of when the meeting with KCC and GDM will be, although we anticipate that this will be in the last week of June.

Yours faithfully

Governing Body, St James' Junior School

JS - 23 May 2013 13:35 - GeneralExpansion Meeting Postponed

Message to St James’s Junior Parents

Dear Parents,

I am writing on behalf of the School Governors to let you know that we have decided to postpone the consultation meeting planned for Monday 26th November.

You will remember that we promised to set up this meeting at the Public Consultation Meeting on 13 October, in order to give you further details about the plans for the expansion of the School. On 9th November we received the results of the Feasibility Study (FS), which we hoped would give us some clear and realistic options for the way ahead that we could present to you next Monday. The drawings of the three options set out in the FS were placed here on the website.

Governors discussed these options at the meeting of the full Governing Body on 14th November, and in more detail at an Additional Governors’ meeting on 21st November. At this second meeting we had the benefit of advice from parents with extensive professional experience of planning, building and expanding schools. We were also pleased to welcome representatives of the Infants’ Governors, with whom we have worked closely on this issue over recent months. We share a commitment to ensuring that the expansion plans for each school should work for the benefit of both.

After a detailed discussion at this meeting, we felt strongly that none of the options offered a solution that would meet the future needs and aspirations of the school and its pupils. In particular, none of them effectively addressed a number of our key concerns, such as:

  • the need to retain the functions of our specialised teaching spaces such as the Science, Music and ICT rooms;
  • the need to increase the size of non-teaching rooms (hall, staff room, library, offices) in line with the additional numbers;
  • the importance of not encroaching on the School’s recreation areas;
  • the importance of minimising disturbance to existing pupils during the building process.

In addition, it has now become clear that the options set out in the FS do not even satisfy the brief that was given to the consultants by the LEA, although we do not have full details of what this contained.

In the circumstances, Governors felt that there would be little purpose in going ahead with Monday’s meeting, since we would be unable to give you a clear picture of what the expansion of the School would mean in practice. We will be re-engaging with the LEA as a matter of urgency to clarify the details of the brief that should have been followed by the consultants, with the aim of ensuring that our own concerns are better reflected in any revision of the FS that now takes place. We will be happy to arrange a further meeting once we have some clearer and better plans to present to you. I (and maybe one or two other Governors) will be around after school on Monday to try to answer any further questions you may have for the time being.

In the meantime, the period of consultation over whether the School should expand permanently concludes on 3rd December. The Governors’ position remains that we support the proposal to expand the School in the interests of children and parents alike, but that we would wish to see our concerns properly reflected in the detailed plans that are drawn up for the way ahead. We would encourage all of you to make your individual views known, if you have not already done so. You can pass them to the Clerk to the Governors either via the office or at clerk@st-james-junior.kent.sch.uk; alternatively, you can send an email to our Chair, Steve Francis, on stephen.d.francis@gmail.com or to me at Stephen_J_Pollard@yahoo.co.uk; or direct to the LEA at school.consultations@kent.gov.uk.

Finally, I should just add that in the forefront of our minds is the importance of having satisfactory facilities in place for September 2013, when the first of the enlarged entries from the Infants’ School will be arriving. This is one of the key areas under discussion with the LEA, and we will keep you informed of progress.

Yours sincerely,
Stephen Pollard
Vice-Chair of Governors


JS - 22 November 2012 15:38 - GeneralFeasibility Drawings November 2012

The link below will take you to the feasibility plans for the proposed expansion of the school.  Please be aware that these are in the very early stages of development and are to give you a rough idea of how the school buildings could be changed to accommodate the additional pupils.

Feasibility Plans

JS - 19 November 2012 14:04 - General
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