The first pupils have started using the new £5.3m Heathfield Primary School today (12 October) – part of the City Council’s ambitious expansion plan.

The school in Basford is now split into two sites creating an additional 420 places, plus 52 nursery places. The school has already been admitting extra children for the last two academic years in anticipation of the expansion and now the site is fully open to pupils.

Work began at the site at Kersall Drive – where Henry Mellish School once stood – at the end of last year and now includes flexible teaching spaces and a new sports hall. Reception and Year 1 children will be the first to use the new space, while other year groups continue at the other site in Scotland Road.

As part of the Council’s expansion plan, since 2009 an extra 2,085 places have been created. The council has invested more than £33 million in its school expansion programme, to make schools bigger and better.

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Schools at Nottingham City Council, said: “The City Council has taken bold and decisive action to ensure that there are enough primary school places to meet the current and future demand.

“The Council’s expansion strategy will ensure that every child and young person has access to the very best facilities in order to help them to succeed and reach their full potential.

“The speed of housing development and growth in the number of children living in Nottingham means we must be able to move quickly on our priorities. We must ensure that all children have the opportunity to access high quality teaching and learning. Residents in Nottingham want good schools, with places available, close to home. This is an exciting major investment into schools in Nottingham and will help to benefit thousands of children.”

Headteacher at Heathfield, Gary Fullwood, said: “This new building will deliver outstanding facilities for young people and the wider community. Investment in our schools is crucial and Heathfield Primary will have all of the resources to enable pupils to realise their potential and access new and exciting opportunities.”

Work has been ongoing to increase capacity at schools across the City, with some of the work already finished. The vast majority have already admitted extra children so their numbers have expanded ahead of the building work.

Further areas of the City will benefit from the school expansion programme. In 2016, new places for children will be created at schools in Bilborough, Sneinton, Radford, Aspley and Clifton.

Healthfield has been designed by Nottingham-based architects, CPMG and built by Wates Construction.

Richard Scarrott, Business Unit Director at, Wates Construction, said: “Today’s event is a celebration of the collaborative efforts of Nottingham City Council, the school and Wates to create a new building that provides increased places for pupils, whilst improving and enhancing the learning experience for children.

“As specialists in education, we have applied our expertise to deliver a first class school that will encourage and inspire. We wish the staff and children the best success in their new home.”

Wates was appointed as main contractor through the East Midlands Property Alliance (empa) framework agreement, which is managed by Scape. The framework was established in 2008 by local authorities to improve the cost-efficiency of property services for local communities.

Alan Coole, head of empa, said: “Delivering projects which make a real difference to communities is key to empa’s work. Growing primary school pupil numbers are putting a strain on local authorities as they try and accommodate the increase within their limited budgets. But work through empa tackles these issues by saving organisations like Nottingham City Council time and money. Already our construction projects have helped bring 1,000s more children into classrooms in the last 12 months.”