Up to £13 million will be spent on expanding a Hereford school which will see the number of pupils nearly double.

The funding, agreed by Herefordshire Council, will reverse a declining trend at Aylestone School, in the north-east of the city, which currently has room for 450 pupils, down from 1,250 20 years ago.

The expansion, set to be complete by September 2026, will see numbers rise back up to 750 pupils, or 150 per year group.

This will require additional accommodation, and to make the school easier to reach on foot and by bike.


The project will include some remodelling of the existing school and a new teaching block and sports hall.

The school’s trustees and executive headteacher Simon Robertson have been involved in developing the plans and are supportive of them, according to a council report.

Mr Robertson said: "This decision is excellent news for Aylestone School. The significant investment in new facilities will greatly benefit both current and future students of Aylestone.

"The decision to progress the expansion means that we will be able to offer a place to 300 more Herefordshire students from September 2026."


He added: "Increasing the size of Aylestone means we will remain a smaller school in the city but also allow us to offer more opportunities, both through the curriculum and also extracurricular activities, providing children with the opportunity to continue their education in our thriving, collaborative and caring school.”

But it notes that Aylestone Hill’s ward councillor Ange Tyler, who is the cabinet member for housing and community, is “not supportive of the proposal to increase capacity at Aylestone without further exploring the barriers preventing the expansion of Whitecross High School”.

The council had considered the alternative options of investing instead in either Whitecross or Kingstone high schools, the report explains.

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But though the neighbouring Whitecross “would be our preferred option”, expanding the school would raise the annual charge that the council pays under an existing private finance initiative (PFI) deal with the school to an unaffordable level, the council said.

And Kingstone, seven miles west of Hereford, is already able to cope with immediate pupil numbers, and expanding it “would result in transporting learners from the city to the Golden Valley and therefore would not align with the council’s commitment to climate change”, the council’s report explained.

Councillor Gemma Davies, cabinet member for commissioning, procurement and assets, said: “I’m delighted that we can now move forward to the next stage of design and build for Aylestone School. I’ve been fortunate to visit the site and can see the potential for the school with its proximity to local colleges and not to mention the fantastic nursery provisions.

"This decision also includes our commitment to developing an overarching 10-year strategy for school places within Herefordshire, taking into account the infrastructure required and our desire to increase active travel and create sustainable, inspiring buildings where our young people can thrive.”

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