Extra funding for more school places in Rugby

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Warwickshire County Council has successfully secured funding to expand nine of the county’s schools, creating over 1,000 new school places by 2015.

The funding will come from the government’s Targeted Basic Need programme – funds set aside to support the provision of new, high quality school places in locations experiencing basic need pressures in order to prepare for future rises in pupil numbers.

Schools set to receive extra places in Rugby are Brooke School, Henry Hinde Infant School and Paddox Primary School.

Over 50 per cent of the individual school bids put forward by the local authority were accepted, amounting to £9m of money to invest in creating more places to meet local demand identified in some areas of the county.

The bids all reflected local need and the nine schools, which are all rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, will see expansion proposals ranging from an extra classroom to whole form entry in some cases.

Work to expand the schools will commence following a consultation period with schools and stakeholders later this year with new places expected to be available for admissions in September 2015.

Warwickshire County Councillor, Heather Timms, portfolio holder for children and schools, said: “This is great news and we welcome this funding which will enable us to allocate local authority capital for the on-going school expansion programme to other schools where demand for places is also high.

“Ensuring we have enough school places for all children and young people is a high priority for the council and we have been working very hard to address the issue of rising pupil numbers across the county. Increasing birth rate, new housing and movement into the area have resulted in pressures we must address to make sure the education of our children is not compromised.

“The £9m from the Targeted Basis Need programme will allow us to respond to increased demand for pupil places without having to consider diverting funding from other areas of our already squeezed budgets.”

Sarah Callaghan, Head of Service for Learning and Achievement added: “Warwickshire’s success is down to the work of dedicated staff who put forward excellent bids which clearly expressed local needs. This is a great result for the local authority and the essential funding we will receive will protect budgets elsewhere.”

In the same round of bids, the council was also successful in securing monies to carry out its proposal to build a new special school on the former Manor Park School site in Nuneaton.

Details, including the amount of funding for this project and consultation arrangements, have not yet been confirmed. However it is known that the new school will be an academy and an academy sponsor is currently being sought. The new school specification is available online at http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/newspecialschool

The council submitted bids for funding to expand 18 schools and 10 bids were successful.