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Biggest ever expansion of city’s secondary schools

Published on Monday, November 21, 2016

LEICESTER City Council is beginning the next phase of work on a £45million project that will see the biggest ever expansion of our secondary schools.

The proposed expansion programme will create 2,500 extra secondary school places across the city – the equivalent of building two new schools.

The work will be paid for from the city council’s Basic Need capital funding pot. Basic Need funding is used to make sure there are enough school places for children in their local area.

Now, £920,000 is being released from the funds for the next phase of planning and design work at eight city secondary schools.

Under the plans, Babington, Crown Hills, English Martyrs, Judgemeadow, Rushey Mead, Soar Valley, St Paul’s and The City of Leicester schools will all be extended to create more pupil places.

Each school will be expanded to provide at least 300 new places across all year groups. Soar Valley will get 325 new places, and Rushey Mead 378.

Cllr Sarah Russell, assistant city mayor for children, young people and schools, said: “We know that there is a shortage of secondary school places in the city and that more pupils are currently going through primary school who are going to need places in the future. That’s why we’ve committed to invest in our biggest-ever expansion programme for city secondary schools.

“We’re working with eight of our schools which are consistently over-subscribed, where we know there is some space available for extensions, and we’ve conducted feasibility studies to establish what these expansions might look like.

“Now we’re moving onto the next phase, which is drawing up detailed architectural plans for each of the schools.

“We’re working closely with the schools and will aim to keep disruption to a minimum while we do any work. It’ll take a while to build, but we hope that some of these new places will be available from September 2018.

“Moving up to secondary school is a big step for young people, and choosing a school is an important decision for families. We want to do all we can to make the whole process as easy as possible.”

The type of building work carried out will largely be extensions built onto existing wings at the schools. Practical spaces such as dining rooms will be increased, alongside more classrooms.

Cllr Russell added: “We know that there are applications for free schools to open in the city. This will help to ease the pressure on places, but our forecasting shows us we will still need more. Building work takes time, which is why we’re pressing ahead with these plans now, releasing the funding in phases as we go along.”

Construction work is likely to start in autumn 2017, with the intention of carrying out work on as many of the schools as possible at the same time.