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Downham Market Academy getting two extra classrooms thanks to £400,000 in Norfolk County Council funding

Downham Academy is set to receive nearly half a million pounds to help it create more spaces – meaning fewer local students will have to travel for learning.

A £400,000 grant from Norfolk County Council is set to allow the school to put additional classrooms in place.

In January we reported that, with 300 families looking to secure a spot at the academy for next year, at least 30 children looked set to miss out on their first choice.

Downham Academy is getting two extra classrooms thanks to the £400,000 in funding
Downham Academy is getting two extra classrooms thanks to the £400,000 in funding

The maximum number of Year 7 students Downham Academy can normally accept is 240. The negotiations with the county council have resulted in that limit being increased to 270 for next year thanks to the extra classrooms.

This means that there are still likely to be around 30 children who miss out – but the money has at least created more spots for children in the town.

A spokesperson from the council said: “This development will secure sufficient places for Norfolk children and young people in the Downham area.

“We will provide £400,000 to the Eastern Learning Alliance, the academy trust which runs the school, to provide accommodation for 30 children going to the school this academic year and next.

“The funding for the grant is phased against a release schedule which is aligned with the building programme.”

Cllr Andrew Jamieson, the deputy leader of the county council, previously told the Lynn News that a lack of spaces at the school is largely down to an increase in homes being built around Downham, with more people moving to the area and therefore more students to cater for.

It is not just high schools which are struggling in the town either.

Earlier this year, The Willows Day Nursery on Sovereign Way closed its doors after its parent company went into administration.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Laffeaty-Sharpe, who runs the Downham Montessori Nursery in Stow Bardolph – adjoined with Downham Preparatory School – and the Downham Nursery School, has also spoken of her concerns over funding and spaces in the childcare sector.

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