Reception children attending Colville Primary School will have two brand new classrooms with direct access to their own dedicated play area after the Royal Borough's Cabinet agreed to provide over £420,000 to fund the project.
At present the two reception classes, which cater for 45 children, are located on the first floor of the Grade 11 listed building and children have to be escorted to the playground twice a day - a trip which can take 20 minutes as it involves negotiating four flights of stairs.
The Department for Education advises that reception children should, if possible, move freely between the indoors and outdoors so they can "use their senses and be physically active and exuberant."
Under the proposal the two reception classes will be relocated to vacant space beside the laundry building and two new classrooms built. The building will be refurbished and a play centre and space for community use will be developed on the first floor.
Following the Cabinet decision Council officials will meet with the school staff and governors to discuss when the building work can begin. As the new classrooms will be built in an area away from the main school the work can be completed without disruption to the day-today running of the school.
Planning permission and listed building consent are already in place as in 2009 the school considered leasing the building to a private French nursery but these plans did not proceed. The architects, DGA, who worked on a feasibility study in 2009 will now be asked to draw up detailed designs.
The Royal Borough's Cabinet Member for Families and Children's Services, Cllr Elizabeth Campbell, said: "This decision is very welcome. Colville will now be able to offer much-improved reception classrooms with their own outdoor learning area which should make starting school a much more pleasant experience for little ones. Being able to play indoors and out of doors is recognised as being very helpful for young children's development."
The number of pupils at the school is increasing and the reception class is expected to be fully subscribed this autumn.