Planning ahead for 1,400 extra school places

24 January 2018

Councillor Philip Owen, chairman of the County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee Children and young people’s committee chairman, Councillor Philip Owen says the County Council is wasting no time planning ahead when it comes to creating the extra 1,400 school places that will be needed across Nottinghamshire.

Now we’re into the new term, we’re undertaking studies to decide where is feasible for us to create nearly 1,400 additional school places in areas of Nottinghamshire where demand is expected to outstrip supply.

Many of these additional places will be needed for the 2018/19 academic year and we’re working

The studies include additional secondary school places where a ‘bulge’ is beginning to be felt following a surge in the demand for places at primary school first seen four years ago.

As well as nearly 600 additional primary places needed across Ashfield, Bassetlaw, and Rushcliffe during 2018/19, projections show us that 800 more secondary school places will be needed in Newark and Sherwood and Rushcliffe over the next two to five years.

These feasibility studies will identify if the proposed expansion of specific existing schools is deliverable, appropriate and represents good value for money so we can make fully informed decisions.

Members of our children and young people’s committee gave the go ahead for this action before Christmas.

I must stress that we’re only currently at the feasibility stage and that some of the potential targets may fall by the wayside or be substituted if they don’t prove to be viable.

We know from experience that it’s a better use of public funds to invest time and money exploring the suitability of proposals at an early stage rather than spending more on abortive planning and design costs which would be incurred without proper feasibility being carried out.

The cost of meeting this demand for additional school places will be around £20m and will be provided through the Government’s Basic Need fund.

Rushcliffe is the first Nottinghamshire district to experience an increased demand for secondary school places beyond the capacity of the existing local schools.

Once feasibility studies have been completed in the early part of 2018, we will work with the schools and academies to secure the places required.

Between 2013 and 2016, we spent approximately £70m of Government Basic Need funds to create more than 5,500 additional permanent primary school places to meet demand.  The growth in the pupil population is now being felt in the secondary sector and approximately half of the £20 million Basic Need allocation is likely to be spent on this phase.

ENDS

Councillor Philip Owen, chairman of the County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee

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