Sandwell school places in 1,600 shortfall

More than 1,600 additional school places will be needed in Sandwell by next year as the borough experiences a massive baby boom.

nti Derek Rowleys
Sandwell Council House in Oldbury

An unprecedented rise in birth rates is putting pressure on the borough’s school places.

The full extent of the demand was revealed in a report to Sandwell Council which recommends the expansion of four primary schools under a £5.2 million programme to create extra reception places.

A baby boom is being witnessed across the region driven by more women in their 20s and 30s becoming mothers as well as more migrant families coming to the area.

Two years ago Sandwell Council identified the population was growing at a rate which would mean at least 1,000 new places would be needed every year if the boom continued at the same pace, but the pace has continued to quicken.

A new report by the council reveals of the borough’s 23 wards, 22 need extra school places by April next year, to keep up with the current population surge that will see around 5,000 children apply for school places by September 2014.

The wards identified as most in need of spaces were Abbey, Bristnall, Princes End, Tipton Green and Old Warley.

The authority ‘s Labour leaders have previously criticised the withdrawal of funding to build any new school facilities after the cancellation of the borough’s £138 million Building Schools for the Future programme.

At a meeting next week, the council’s children services chief Councillor Simon Hackett, will be asked to approve the expansions of four schools.

They are Perryfields Primary in Oldbury, Reddal Hill Primary school in Cradley Heath, Ferndale Primary School in Great Barr and Holy Trinity CE Primary in West Bromwich.

All four will be enlarged to accept more children this year, but the move will only create an additional 105 school places for reception children by September.

Comments for: "Sandwell school places in 1,600 shortfall"

markie

Why not make better use of school buildings and teaching staff by keeping the school open for 46 weeks a year. Pupils could then attend either 9:00 to 13:00 or 14:00 to 18:00 Monday to Saturday. No need for school meal times or playtime. The money spent on playground and meal supervision could pay for extra teachers to allow for preparation and marking in school hours so that teachers 6 weeks holiday is real time off.

Ivor

Have this lot forgotten Princes End Primary, Corbett Infant in Smethwick or Leasowes Primary in Smethwick just some of the schools demolished because these “enlightened councillors” thought the population was dropping, then 5 years later they are crying they need spaces.

They should beg forgiveness for destroying the schools sacking staff and wasting so much money

A Lone Voice

The Department for Education are not great fans fans of having large numbers of surplus places in local authority school's and like the number of places to pretty well match the number of pupils. indeed, the formula used to fund school's has the effect of ensuring school's with falling roles cease to be viable and have to close through sheer economic circumstances.

The Council can only respond to pupil numbers. If parents decide to have lots of children or move into the borough, what is the Council to do? They have to ensure there are enough places to go round.

Of course, in the ideal world, parents would have to have approval from the Council before they go off and create a child so that these things can be properly organised......but without thinking, parents create a child and then expect a school place to be provided for them !! Inconsiderate or what?

Ivor

It was Labour's 1998 School Standards and Framework Act that set the class size to 30, but Labour then forced councils to look at schools with surplus places and then demolish schools with a low roll call.

Its so sad to now read that class sizes increased 10% at the very same time the Labour government were forcing this policy.

This implies the advice given to councillors was was either wrong, or the advice given was ignored and why do we pay for infective scrutiny.

These “enlightened councillors” have damaged children's education and lost teachers jobs by incompetence or design

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/183364/DFE-RR169.pdf

Martacus Redd

They knocked down Fir Tree Junior & Infant school , on the Yew Tree Estate, to make a quick buck selling to an house builder. Now they are short of school places. From what I could see there was nothing wrong with the school, it wasn't exactly falling down.

Don't you just love the visionaries we have on this council?