A POPULAR primary school hopes to increase its annual intake by 50 per cent to cope with soaring demand for places.

Woodstock Primary School plans to build four single-storey extensions, a studio, new entrance and improved administration area.

The school, in Shipton Road, has been oversubscribed for the last four years.

And it was named the 59th best primary school in the country by the Sunday Times last November.

It aims to increase its annual intake from 30 to 45, and the overall number of pupils at the school from 254 to 360 by 2016.

The number of staff will increase from 30 to 36.

Headteacher Lisa Rowe said: “We have an admission limit of 30 and we were not able to take all the local children that wanted to come here.

“It has been increasing year on year, so the decision was taken that we would expand.

“It would be the biggest expansion the school has gone through and it is exciting for us as a school and for the community.”

Work began during the summer holidays to create a classroom to enable the first extra 15 pupils to join the school last week.

Fifteen extra pupils will then join each year until the school reaches capacity in 2016. As part of the planning permission, the school has also sought permission to create a new hard play area and more parking spaces.

Building work will be phased during the project and, if planning permission is granted by West Oxfordshire District Council , could begin next year.

Mrs Rowe added: “The reason we have got the phased increase is because we do not want it to be detrimental to everything we have achieved so far. We want to maintain the high standards we have got and take that forward.

“This is the next phase of the school’s life.”

Earlier this year, it was revealed that a surge in demand meant more county families than last year were not getting their preferred primary school place.

About 7,724 applications were made this year, an increase of more than 500 on 2011.

Six per cent – 473 – did not get a place at any of their three preference schools, up from four per cent in 2011.