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Hundreds more spaces at St Leonard's Primary

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

St Leonard's in Exeter

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SPACES at one of Exeter's most popular primary schools are to increase by more than 200.

The increase at St Leonard's Primary, from 420 spaces to 630, will be phased in from September this year until 2017.

Devon County Council is seeking planning permission to build an additional seven-classroom block after acquiring the site vacated by the St Nicholas Roman Catholic School, which moved to Ringswell Avenue in 2007.

If given the go-ahead it will effectively create a campus and, apart from the new build, the existing studio hall will be extended, and cloakroom and resource areas will be improved as will the toilets.

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The school will also have improved pedestrian access from the St Leonard's Road entrance, as well as an additional entrance from the Matford Lane side of the site.

Headteacher Jo Evans (pictured) sees the changes as not just good news for the school but for the community and believes the school and its grounds should be a base for community activities.

She said: "I always say we are never going to be a village school but rather a school which is a village, which can work alongside the community.

"We have started to do some work with Age UK Exeter and St Leonard's Church."

And Mrs Evans believes the change to having two entrances, rather than the one at present, will make it easier for people to access the school as people come from both sides of the city to the school.

The school is also to have a multi-use games area and parking space for lots of scooters, which is a particularly popular way for pupils to travel to school.

Jill Owen, county councillor for St Leonard's and Priory, said: "This has been on the cards for a while and I think it is absolutely necessary.

"This has always been a popular school and has always been up to capacity.

"I think this will be welcomed by local parents as the sensible thing to do, now that the deaf academy is no longer looking to build there."

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