‘No room for new admissions’, says school leader

Opening of a new Sports Hall at Ecclesbourne School. Pictured is headteacher James McNamara
Opening of a new Sports Hall at Ecclesbourne School. Pictured is headteacher James McNamara

A Duffield headteacher says his school is too full to cope with extra pupils from a proposed housing development - forcing changes to the catchment area.

Ecclesbourne headteacher James McNamara and a board of governors are hoping to exclude land off Keddleston Road from its existing catchment area.

The prestigious school is bursting at the seams and would struggle to take on more students.

The proposed Catesby Estates’ project would see 400 homes being built on open fields.

Mr McNamara said: “The school has been above capacity for many years and demand for places is rising.

“The school has responded by expanding its planned annual admission number to 240 pupils to accommodate the large new housing development already being built at Radbourne Lane.

“A programme of building development is under way to increase capacity. School governors have taken the decision to amend admissions arrangements for September 2016 in response to further and unsustainable demand for places at Ecclesbourne.

“An area of green field land under consideration for housing development at Memorial Road in Allestree is to be excluded from our normal area.

“This change is necessary in order to ensure that we are able to meet existing demand and continue to provide the high quality of education that our community expects.

“If the school were not to respond in this way then areas which have traditionally been included in our catchment might find their places in jeopardy.”

Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for children and young people, Fareed Hussain, said it was the city and county councils’ responsibility to address school admissions from the planned development.

He said: “There may be an option for the development to form part of a Derby city secondary school catchment area. However, this will require very careful consideration.”