WARWICKSHIRE County Council’s leader has welcomed the announcement of extra government funding to secure additional places for primary school pupils.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove made the announcement that over 100 local authorities would receive a share of £500m to address a shortage of places at schools across the country.
Warwickshire County Council will receive almost £2.7m of funding in addition to £8.5m already allocated by the Government to invest into expanding capacity in the county’s primary schools.
The news has delighted Councillor Alan Farnell, leader of Warwickshire County Council, who said: “The local authority welcomes this announcement of additional funding and I am pleased that the Government has recognised Warwickshire in this way.
“The additional funding boosts the initial allocation by over 30 per cent, enabling us to progress with our Primary Expansion Project to widen provision for pupils in areas under pressure from a growing population.”
The Primary Expansion Project was approved by the county council cabinet in July 2011 following a period of consultation. It involves an extensive programme of work to create an extra 300 reception places countywide through expanding buildings, reviewing admissions arrangements in some areas, and bringing current school accommodation back into classroom use.
The programme is necessary due to extra demand on primary places as a result of an increase in birth rates in the county - a trend replicated nationally, particularly in urban areas. Work has started in some areas of the county and is expected to continue for up to five years.
Warwickshire County Councillor Heather Timms, cabinet member for children’s services said: “This is great news for Warwickshire and the funding will to allow us to progress our programme of school expansion.
“The Office for National Statistics has calculated that nationally by 2020 there will be around 21 per cent more primary age children than in 2010 so we have to ensure our schools are equipped to accommodate these extra pupil numbers.”