First look at plans for brand new Sunderland primary school

A Sunderland primary school could be demolished and completely rebuilt as part of a £5m revamp.

Sunderland City Council bosses previously approved almost £5 million of investment for a new building for Hetton Primary School.

The plans aim to replace the school’s ageing premises on Moorsley Road with a two-storey facility, including new nursery provision.

A formal planning application was submitted earlier this year and validated by the council’s planning department on February 4, 2021.

The new school’s design includes a range of facilities, from specialist teaching rooms and rooms for teaching smaller groups, to staff facilities to help “broaden the existing curriculum.”

As well as landscaping works, the site would allow for more staff and visitor parking, a dedicated drop-off zone, areas for informal play, a junior sized sports pitch and a ‘forest school.’

Several ‘shallow wetlands’ are also proposed as part of the drainage strategy for the site, providing ecological benefits and potential teaching uses.

A planning supporting statement, submitted on behalf of the city council, says the existing school is “no longer fit for purpose” and is “lacking in specialist teaching provision which newer primary schools can offer”.

It adds the current lack of nursery provision “prevents the transition from early years to primary education within the same setting.”

If approved, the rebuild would boost Hetton Primary School’s pupil numbers by almost 100 and would allow the school to cater for children from the age of two.

The new nursery also aims to provide 16 places for two-year-olds and 39 places for pupils aged between three and four.

The planning statement adds: “The existing [Hetton Primary School] is a single-storey building with a limited variety of teaching space and outdoor year‐round play space.

“Classrooms and facilities are typical of a school of this age but lack the more varied teaching experiences newer schools offer, and whilst it can offer special needs education, its limited facilities would not make it ideal.

“It is anticipated that over the next five years demand for education facilities within Hetton-le-Hole will increase due to the housing developments within the area.

“As such provision needs to be increased to accommodate the additional population in the local vicinity.”

The proposed school has been designed to ensure the existing school can operate during the construction period.

Once the new school is up and running, subject to planning permission, the existing school will be demolished.

Hetton Primary School’s headteacher, Nicola Hill, previously welcomed the proposals, saying the new facility will “make a huge difference to our young people.”

For more information click here, and search planning reference: 21/00177/LP3

A decision on the planning application is expected later this year.

Comments can be made by writing to the council’s planning department or commenting on its online portal.

Chronicle Live – Sunderland