Primary schools to be extended due to baby-boom in North East Lincolnshire
PRIMARY schools are buckling under the pressure of a baby-boom in North East Lincolnshire – leading to five being extended.
Plans to increase space at two Cleethorpes schools – Thrunscoe Primary by five classrooms and William Barcroft Junior School by two classrooms – have been revealed by North East Lincolnshire Council.
It is part of a borough-wide scheme to provide extra places in primary schools after a "sudden and unprecedented" increase in pupil numbers only a few years after thousands of surplus places were controversially culled in the area.
Strategic director for people and communities Jack Blackmore said: "The local authority has seen a sharp rise in demand for both secondary and primary school places.
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"Currently, there are sufficient surplus secondary places to cope with the rise in numbers but, within certain groups of the area's primary cohorts, additional places are being created."
Over 2010/11 to 2011/12 the local birth rate increased by three per cent – two per cent higher than the national average – and since 2001 there has been a 65 per cent increase in foreign nationals moving to the area.
The statistics question controversial decisions to amalgamate 24 infant and junior schools into 12 primary schools – including Thrunscoe – after Ofsted criticised NELC for having nearly 4,000 surplus places in 2005.
However, the council says this resulted in investment to improve facilities, teaching and learning as well as reducing running costs of the primary schools.
The extensions are being funded by central government's £800-million 'Basic Need' funding.
For the same reason, Old Clee Primary was selected to open a new nursery in December and Allerton Primary and Queen Mary Infants were selected to benefit from improved facilities such as staff rooms, offices and toilets.
Planning permission for William Barcroft has been approved and yearly pupil intake will increase to 90 pupils from 75 while plans for Thrunscoe will increase their yearly intake by 50 per cent.
Headteacher of William Barcroft, Claire Constantopoulous, said: "This is much better for the children because we can have three classes of up to 30 now. We are committed to keeping class sizes as low as possible and the creation of the two new classrooms will help considerably with that. We can continue moving forward as a school, we are a forward thinking school that serves a fantastic community."
A decision on Thrunscoe's plans is due on Monday, February 4.