Council agrees to spend £1m to expand York school and improve access routes

A screenshot of the City of York Council executive meeting held on Zoom. Photograph: City of York Council / YouTube

More than £1m will be put towards expanding a York school and changing the route into the grounds.

Senior councillors agreed the local authority should put £500,000 towards improving parts of the school building so that 30 extra pupils per year group can be accepted, from September.

The work will include relocating the reception area and some changing rooms, extending existing classrooms and refurbishing the toilets.

And two temporary classrooms would also be brought back into use.

The lunch hour would also be split to create two sittings – and a council report says this could help with social distancing when schools reopen.

A further £550,000 will be used to improve routes to and from the school. The report says this is likely to see school buses entering the site from a new road from the Germany Beck site and exiting the grounds by Fulfordgate to the north.

Safer for pupils

Fulford School from the air. Photograph © Google Street View

Amanda Hatton, the council’s education director, said: “Across York clearly schooling and plans for schooling in the pandemic are still uncertain and we’re not sure yet when schools will reopen.

“Even if we’re in a position where we still have a restricted amount of children in school at any given time, the additional classrooms which are suggested in the scheme will allow us to socially distance in school more easily.

“The other aspect of the scheme is in relation to travel and making the site safer for children to be dropped off at school and collected.”

The report says the coronavirus crisis is “likely to cause delays” to the project.

Cllr Ian Cuthbertson said: “Pressure on places in the south side of the city has been building for some years now and it’s been an issue for the Fulford district and its school catchment area for a while.”

“The situation is influenced by economic development, by new housing developments and the popularity of particular schools.

“The issue of access to the school via Fulfordgate has been a problem for some time.

“There’s a very narrow access to the school entrance along Fulfordgate and limited room to maneuver even at present for visitors to turn around at the school entrance.

“So the proposed access from the south side of the school should ease these problems considerably.”