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Expansion plan for district schools gets go-ahead
Bradford Council has given the go- ahead for major expansions of schools across the district which will see spaces created for hundreds of extra primary school pupils.
The Council says the expansions are needed to deal with rising populations and primary schools full to the brim. While some schools have welcomed the idea, others have been opposed to what they see as unsustainable expansion plans.
The decision was made by the Council’s executive, which met yesterday in City Hall.
Included in the expansion is Eldwick Primary School in Bingley, which will go from a capacity for 391 pupils to 525, down from a previously suggested 630. Others are Cullingworth Primary School which will see an increase from 210 pupils to 315, Haworth Primary School (262 to 315), Victoria Primary School in Keighley (210 to 315), St Clare's Primary School in Fagley (177 to 210), St Anthony's in Shipley (126 to 210) and Aire View Infants School in Silsden (238 to 270).
Idle Primary School could double in size, taking on an extra 220 pupils.
In the next year Bradford Council will push ahead with a major scheme of physically expanding these schools to prepare for the increased numbers.
The changes will come into effect in September 2014, when pupil allocation numbers, which dictate how many children a school can take on each year, are increased.
Members were told that the Council did not have the money to build new schools, and so needed to enhance what it already has.
Coun Ralph Berry, in charge of education at the Council, said: “We have a rising birth rate and a growing child population. In previous years we would receive £12,000 per place to procure and deliver the extra school places required. The current figure is around £5,000 per place so, as we get down the process, there will be some compromises and difficult decisions to be made.
“This is a balancing process to try and make sure that we can provide the places where we need them at a time of a massive tightening of belts,” he added.
“As a local authority we are still charged with the responsibility for making sure there are sufficient places for all children across the district as well as trying to accommodate parental preference as well.”
A public consultation into the proposals was held last year. Some schools, such as Victoria Primary School, welcomed the plans, as they are currently full to capacity.
But other communities have been less positive. In Haworth over 250 people objected to increasing pupil numbers, including parents, teachers and governors.
The heads of the primary schools effected were unavailable for comment after yesterday’s meeting.