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Sandwell school places in 1,600 shortfall

Sandwell | News | Published:

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

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.

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