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Council announces plans to create thousands more school places

Published on Tuesday, May 30, 2017

WORK on the next phase of a multi-million pound school expansion programme, which will help provide thousands of new pupil places in Leicester, will get underway this summer.

Leicester City Council has today announced plans to expand Fullhurst Community College and provide interim classroom space at 13 primary and secondary schools from the start of the new academic year.

This is in addition to the expansion plans already announced for Babington Community College, English Martyrs Catholic School, Rushey Mead Academy, St Paul’s Catholic School, Crown Hills, Judgemeadow, Soar Valley, and City of Leicester.

The investment will provide long-term capacity for the growing number of young people attending secondary schools in the city and help meet an immediate and significant increase in demand for school places for the 2017/18 academic year.

In total, up to £11.5 milllion will be invested in providing interim classroom buildings for seven primary schools and six secondary schools. This will be backed by an additional £685,000 investment in new furniture and classroom equipment.

The modern temporary classrooms will help address increasing demand for school places resulting from new families moving in to the city. They will also address a shortfall in the number of free schools expected to open in the city. Only two of seven proposed bids for new free schools were approved by the Department for Education resulting in an immediate need for the local authority to provide more school places.

The investment in temporary classrooms will be underpinned by further investment of up to £90 million in an ambitious programme of school expansion, including a potential new primary school in the Waterside regeneration area.

In total, the proposed expansion of the eight schools previously announced will provide an additional 600 year 7 places by 2019/20, and more than 2,400 new pupil places across all year groups.

The plans announced today will enable the first phase of a planned major expansion of Fullhurst Community College onto the site of the former Ellesmere site to get underway. The ambitious proposals could extend the school’s capacity from 900 to 1500 pupils by 2019/20.

Leicester City Council has already created nearly 4,500 new primary places since 2010, and more than 1,000 in the last year.

More than 550 additional secondary school places have been created since 2010. However, the council still needs to find another 2,200 new places by 2018/19.

Frances Craven, director of children services at Leicester City Council, said: “Like many councils, Leicester faces an immediate challenge to meet growing demand for school places. We’ve already outlined an ambitious programme of school expansion which will ensure that we can meet future demand for spaces in our primary and secondary schools.

“In the meantime, we need to invest in an immediate solution. The use of temporary, modular classrooms will address that and provide an opportunity to make investment in new equipment which schools will benefit from now and for years to come.”

The school expansion programme, including investment in interim classroom space, will be funded with Basic Need funding from the Department for Education. This cash is provided to enable councils to meet their statutory obligation to ensure that every child has access to a school place.