Earlham school in playing fields battle

A city school battling to get proper playing fields for its pupils has been backed by more than 400 people.

Governors at Henderson Green Primary School in Earlham say children currently only have a small patch of grass at the back of the school, yet next door there is unused space which would be perfect to transform into playing fields.

Claire Smith, a governor at the Irstead Road school, said 'Henderson Green Primary School is in a very deprived area, and the children at the school deserve and need to have a playing field space.

'They only have a very small area of grass at the back of the school, and this area of land is just sitting next to the school not being used for anything.

'The children here would benefit immensely from having this land as a playing field space.'

Year 5 children at the school last term worked on a project to calculate the amount of grass playing space the school has and, what it needs.

They worked out that the school has just 800m2, whereas the government requirements for a school of that size is 2,500 m2.

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The governors and Green Party councillors are calling for Norfolk County Council to turn the brownfield site next to the school into playing fields and a petition has been signed by more than 400 people.

Marcus Hemsley, Green county councillor for Wensum ward, said: 'I am delighted with the response and support from local residents to this campaign.

'The money for school play areas is available and we would like to see some of this spent on our local school.'

He will be submitting a petition to the county council next month.

But Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children's services at Norfolk County Council, said: 'We recognise Henderson Green's need for a playing field and are doing all we can to try to provide this for the pupils. We are in the process of acquiring land next to the school, which currently belongs to NELM Development Trust.

'As the site is a brownfield site it may take considerable resources to turn it into a suitable playing field and we have very little funding available at a time when there is a considerable strain on our budget.

'However, we hope to be able to deliver a field for the school as soon as practically possible.'

• Do you have a story about your local school? Call education reporter Victoria Leggett on on 01362 854703 or email victoria.leggett@archant.co.uk