ALMOST 1,000 extra primary school places will be created, to tackle a looming crisis across Hampshire.
Education chiefs have been given the goahead to expand eight successful schools, as part of a £820m Government cash injection.
The move follows growing warnings that a population bulge would leave youngsters with no schools to go to, without urgent action.
Extra places will be created – by September 2014 – at schools across the county including:
- St John’s Primary and Nursery School, Southampton (210)
- Wellstead Primary School, Hedge End (210)
- Locks Heath Junior School (120)
- Nightingale Primary School, Eastleigh (105)
- All Saints Church of England Primary School, Winchester (70)
- Kings Worthy Primary School, Winchester (70)
The announcement was welcomed by Eastleigh Liberal Democrat MP Mike Thornton.
He said: “Locally there is a great deal of pressure on school places and after years of dithering from the county, it’s vital we see more action on this across the borough.
“It will ease the pressure on school places locally, and will allow more children in Eastleigh to attend good schools.”
The Department for Education (Dfe) could not say how much would be spent on creating the extra places in Hampshire, insisting that depended on the procurement process.
It also declined to say whether other applications from either Southampton City Council, or Hampshire County Council, were rejected.
Earlier this year, Labour leapt on official figures showing Hampshire will need an extra 7,975 primary school places by 2015, compared with the total number available last summer.
The party called for education authorities to be allowed to set up ‘community schools’ – currently barred, in favour of privately-sponsored ‘free’ schools and academies.
Last year, Hampshire was handed £9.8m to create extra primary places – and Southampton received £3.9m – but Labour said those sums fell woefully short of what is required.
But schools minister David Laws said: “By 2015, we will have spent more than £5bn on new school places – more than double the £1.9bn spent by the previous government over an equivalent period.
“We are determined that every pupil should not just have a place, but that the growth in the system is concentrated in schools that parents and pupils really want to go to.
“Ensuring that every child is able to attend an outstanding or good school in their local area is at the heart of the Government’s comprehensive programme of reform of the school system.”