Town hall re­veals plan to tackle school cri­sis

Salford Advertiser - - NEWS - TODD FITZGER­ALD

COUN­CIL bosses have an­nounced the lat­est round of school ex­pan­sions to tackle the city’s pri­mary places cri­sis.

With places rapidly run­ning out, ex­tra ca­pac­ity is needed across Sal­ford.

By Septem­ber 2015, coun­cil bosses hope to have cre­ated the equiv­a­lent of 14 new pri­mary schools, through mas­sive ex­pan­sion of ex­ist­ing build­ings over five years.

But they’ll have to do the same again be­tween 2016 and 2020 to cope with de­mand.

A coun­cil re­port re­veals that for 2015/16 there will be a short­fall of 148 places. That fig­ure drops slightly, to 81, the fol­low­ing year, but rises steadily each Septem­ber un­til 2020/21.

In 2017/18, the pre­dicted short­fall is 235, fol­lowed by a 216 short­fall the year after. By 2019/20, there will be a short­fall of 232, climb­ing to 273 by 2020/21.

Bosses say the sit­u­a­tion could even get worse, as cur­rent pro­jec­tions do not take into ac­count the in­flux of chil­dren after planned hous­ing de­vel­op­ments across Sal­ford be­come a re­al­ity.

The lat­est block of ex­pan­sions for the 2010 to 2015 pe­riod will cre­ate 1,260 ex­tra places. From Septem­ber, an ad­di­tional 180 re­cep­tion places will be added at schools across Sal­ford.

Most of the ex­pan­sions will be com­pleted by Septem­ber. Some will be phased and be com­plete the fol­low­ing year.

Coun­cil chiefs have been con­sid­er­ing us­ing part of the ex­ist­ing All Hal­lows build­ing as a pri­mary school – and have now given the green light to plans after a fea­si­bil­ity study.

St Luke’s CE Pri­mary School will move to the site.

Ear­lier this month, Mesne Lea pri­mary school was given the go ahead to dou­ble in size.

The school will be re­placed by a new build­ing on the site of the for­mer In­scape House spe­cial needs school.

The multi-mil­lion pound move, which is be­ing funded by the Ed­u­ca­tion Fund­ing Agency, as part of the gov­ern­ment’s Pri­or­ity School Build­ing pro­gramme.

Other ex­pan­sions fi­nalised this week in­clude 210 ex­tra places at El­len­brook Com­mu­nity Pri­mary School, 210 at Grosvenor Road Com­mu­nity Pri­mary and 105 at Godfrey Er­men Memo­rial Pri­mary.

St Paul’s CE pri­mary is set to add 210 ex­tra places by co­hab­it­ing the ad­ja­cent chil­dren’s cen­tre.

Places at schools are added to re­cep­tion classes, and as pupils work their way through the years, the to­tal num­ber of ad­di­tional places are even­tu­ally cre­ated – in up to seven years.

Sal­ford’s Ba­sic Need Fund­ing pot from the gov­ern­ment for ex­pan­sions be­tween 2015 to 2017 is £20.5m. The es­ti­mated cost of the lat­est pro­gramme of ex­pan­sions is £13.1m, but town hall bosses say that they are work­ing with ex­ter­nal part­ners to re­duce costs.

Once work for the Septem­ber 2015 projects starts, fur­ther ex­pan­sions re­quired for Septem­ber 2016 will be con­sid­ered.

John Merry, as­sis­tant mayor re­spon­si­ble for chil­dren and young peo­ple’s ser­vices, said: “I’m please we have gov­ern­ment support with this.

“Yes, it’s a prob­lem. But it’s a prob­lem we’re pleased to be hav­ing, be­cause it means peo­ple are want­ing to come and live in Sal­ford.”

As­sis­tant mayor John Merry

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