600 more school places needed in Dudley borough
Up to 600 new secondary school places could be created in Dudley to cope with a demand of school places.
Plans to increase 600 places in secondary schools across the Wordsley School and the Crestwood School are currently out to consultation.
While a phased increase in provision is introduced as needed across the rest of the borough. It also includes looking into the option of having a secondary free school on the former Coseley site to accompany the proposed primary free school.
The Dudley borough saw a surge in the birth rate in the past decade, impacting primary numbers – which saw an increase plan implemented. The peak was felt in 2016/17 admissions, with a decline in primary numbers now expected while demand will increase for secondary school places in the next few years.
It comes as Dudley Council will be looking at how the authority plans for current and future school places provision at a meeting of next week's cabinet. While the authority acts as a commissioner rather than provider of school places, the council's emphasis is on promoting high education standards, ensuring fair access and equal opportunity and promoting the fulfilment of every child's educational potential.
The council's education team works closely with the planning department to ensure that any major planning developments which are likely to see an increase in demand for school places are anticipated and provided for. Currently, the model achieves a 99.8 per cent accuracy across primary and secondary provision.
Additionally, with the ongoing conversion of many school to academy status, the council is continuing to work with academy trusts to ensure that these numbers are factored into planning and any hotspots or bulges addressed.
Councillor Sue Ridney, Dudley Council's cabinet member for children and young people, said: "It is really important that we provide access to quality education to all our children and young people, wherever they live in the borough.
"By working closely with our planning team and academies we can accurately predict when and where provision is needed and put measures in place accordingly; reducing numbers where there’s no longer a need and increasing places where there is demand, either on a temporary basis or investing for long term growth.”
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