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More primary school places needed to meet rising demand

First published in News

SCHOOLS in Worcestershire must find another 210 primary school places by next September to meet rising demand.

The figures were released by the Department for Education as part of a new red, amber or green scorecard system to show whether local authorities wer e providing enough high quality school places.

Worcestershire County Council was rated amber for basic need as the council has yet to confirm how they will provide 10.45 per cent of the total number of additional places needed between May 2010 and September 2015.

The 210 places are needed on top of an extra 1,300 places, which the council already has plans to deliver between 2013/14 and 2015/16.

Another 500 extra places were found between 2009/10 and 2012/13.

The cost of the extra places needed in the county between 2011 and 2017 is expected to cost a total of £35,350,448.

The council just missed out on a green grading, which is given if the number of places needed by a council falls below 10 per cent.

However, the council has said it expects to be rated green for basic need during 2014 because of plans already underway to expand some of the county's schools.

In April, the county council's cabinet published proposals to expand two schools in Bromsgrove and one in Evesham to met rising demand for places.

The council was rated green for the quality of new school places created in Worcestershire as 89 per cent of those found between 2010/11 and 2012/13 were in schools currently graded as good or outstanding by Ofsted.

The national average for England is only 79 per cent.

However, Worcestershire fares less well when the quality of places is measured as the value added by schools between key stage 1 and key stage 2.

Only 20 per cent of the county's new places are in schools regarded as above average, while the average for England is 28 per cent.

Liz Eyre, Worcestershire county council's cabinet member for children and families said: "This is great news for Worcestershire.

"With the increasing demand on primary school places it's good to know that we are not only on track to provide the extra places needed, but also performing above the national average in ensuring these places are in good quality schools."

The council must submit the figures concerning the current capacity of schools and the predicted number of pupils for the future to the DfE to ensure there are enough school places for Worcestershire's children.

The figures are used to identify any gaps in specific aras of the county and highlight what additional funding the council requires from government to provide the places.

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