Town hall reveals plan to tackle school crisis
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