Busiest schools in Black Country and Staffordshire revealed with dozens full or over capacity

The busiest secondary schools in the region have been revealed.

The Department for Education says the majority of pupils will still be offered their preferred schools this year
The Department for Education says the majority of pupils will still be offered their preferred schools this year

It comes as Department for Education data shows that more than three dozen secondary schools in Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Walsall, Dudley and Staffordshire were full or over capacity as of May 1 last year.

In Dudley, the busiest secondary school was The Wordsley School Business & Enterprise & Music College, which had 755 school places but 818 children on its roll – meaning it was eight per cent over capacity.

This was followed by Ellowes Hall Sports College at seven per cent over capacity and Redhill School at five per cent.

The busiest secondary school in Wolverhampton was St Edmunds Catholic Academy, which had 896 school places but 1,001 children on its roll – meaning it was 12 per cent over capacity.

St Matthias School was next busiest at seven per cent over capacity and Coppice Performing Arts School at two per cent.

At eight per cent over capacity, Blue Coat Church of England Academy was the busiest secondary school in Walsall, followed by The Streetly Academy (seven per cent) and Shire Oak Academy (four per cent).

Walsall Council says it has sufficient places in schools to meet current demands for places at secondary stage.

A council spokesman added: "The growth in pupil numbers that was seen at primary stage is subsequently moving through to secondary stage and is being closely monitored.

"The council is currently reviewing the anticipated demand from 2023 onwards, including the possible development of a secondary free school with the Department for Education.”

In Sandwell, the busiest secondary school was Sandwell Academy, which was five per cent over capacity, followed by Shireland Collegiate Academy (three per cent) and Bristnall Hall Academy (two per cent).

A Sandwell Council spokesperson said: “There is an increased pressure on secondary places but the research does not accurately reflect the position with the additional capacity being built into our secondary schools.

"Since 2019 the authority has provided 2,200 new secondary school places, including those at two new schools Q3 Academy Langley and West Bromwich Collegiate Academy, with a further 2,010 places planned over the next two years with three more new secondary schools due to open in Smethwick and West Bromwich."

In Staffordshire, two secondary schools were 10 per cent over capacity.

Jonathan Price, Staffordshire County Council's cabinet member for education, said: “Staffordshire is a large, diverse county, and demand for secondary school places varies from area to area. In areas of high demand, we work closely with schools to ensure places are allocated fairly, and, if needed, that they can reasonably accommodate a small number of extra pupils in a way that does not affect the quality of education that pupils receive.

"We also have an extensive school capital programme, which includes plans for two brand new secondary schools in Stafford and Rugeley, as well as the expansion of other schools in areas of housing and population growth to ensure there are enough school places to meet future demand.”

The Education Policy Institute said overcrowding increases the average class size – placing additional demands on teachers – and has implications for admissions.

But the Department for Education has said the vast majority of pupils will be offered a place at one of their preferred schools this coming year.

A DfE spokeswoman added: "Pupils are also now more likely to have a place at a good school now – with 87 per cent of schools rated good or outstanding now compared to 68 per cent in 2010.”

It comes as several schools could be built in the Black Country and Staffordshire over the next few years to ensure there are enough school places to meet demand.

A string of schools are either set to be built or are making their way through the planning process.

One notable school is at the former site of the Rugeley Power Station in Staffordshire.

The free school, proposed to be built on the cleared Engie site, is set to open its doors in September 2023 and will eventually cater to 1,400 pupils and a nursery.

The all-through school will be run by the John Taylor Multi Academy Trust (JTMAT) and will be open to nursery, reception and Year 7 pupils in 2023.

It forms part of Engie's major development of 2,300 homes and up to 12.36 acres of employment space which has received outline planning approval.

Elsewhere, there could be a modern technology school planned for Wednesfield – the Wednesfield Technology Primary School – which would see the disused Edward the Elder Primary and Nursery School situated on Lichfield Road torn down.

The building, which dates back to 1910 but closed in 2007, has been earmarked for demolition on May 12 to make way for the new school, run by the Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust.

The development has been met with a mixed reaction from former students who have been left "very sad" another historic building will be torn down in the area – but welcomed the move for a new school to help youngsters for generations to come.

Meanwhile Star Academies is reportedly looking to open a new school in Wolverhampton in 2024 as part of a £1 billion plan first announced last year by then Education Secretary Sir Gavin Williamson.

Bosses have revealed they have entered discussions with the authority over a number of potential site options for the school, which will cater for 11 to 16-year-olds in the city.The Lancashire-based chain has not revealed details of the sites under the microscope, although it is understood that the old Sainsbury's building at St George's is under consideration. No date has been set for when this school will be open.

And a school twinned with the Symphony Orchestra is set to be built on the infamous Providence Place in Sandwell – sold at a loss to the council and previously called a "humongous mismanagement".

Plans have been put forward to convert the building into a school run by the Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust and tied with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).

The Shireland CBSO Academy is said to cater for around 870 pupils, and will be the first such non-fee school in the country to be sponsored by a world famous orchestra. Every child will be given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, with tuition delivered in partnership with Sandwell Music Service, as well as regularly attending CBSO concerts at Symphony Hall.

It comes after a report published last September revealed the council had lost £22.5 million of taxpayers money after selling 1 Providence Place to the Department of Education for only £8.46 million.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News