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Queens’ School expansion plan suffers setback after 'excessive' cash request
Proposals to expand a Bushey secondary school have had a setback after it asked for an "excessive" amount of money from Hertfordshire County Council for the scheme.
The authority pulled initial plans to increase the intake at Queens’ School, already Hertfordshire's biggest secondary school, by 30 pupils after it asked for £7 million from the authority for the scheme.
Education officers balked at the school’s request after initially offering £1.95 million for the expansion.
A report to the council’s enterprise, education and skills cabinet panel said: "Queens’ School’s stated requirements were in excess of the other schools, and relate to a particular development without which the school is unwilling to expand.
"While the desire at Queens’ to enhance the schools facilities is understood, it is considered that it is excessive in relation to what might be expected to support a one (form of entry) expansion.
"Given that other schools are likely to provide additional places in the short term negotiations with Queens’ will continue for a future expansion programme."
Officers added that negotiations were continuing with the school over future expansion.
Plans are still progressing to expand two other secondary schools’ intake by 30 pupils in the area.
The council has earmarked £4.09 million to expand St Clement Danes School, in Chorleywood, and £3.55 million for Bushey Meads School.
The expansions are being planned as part of a county-wide programme to meet rising demand for secondary school places.
Nigel Bell, a Labour county councillor for Vicarage and Holywell, said he hoped progress could be made in Queens’ negotiations as it had the large site and was apt for expansion.
However he said the expanding existing secondary schools may not be enough to meet future demand for places and that education officials should look at potentially opening a new secondary in Watford.
He said: "According to the figures there could be a shortage of secondary places in three to four years. We do need to take into account we may need a new secondary school in Watford.
"They may be thinking that by the time school in Baldwins Lane is running and there’s another in WD3 that that maybe enough."
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