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Schools boss: We need £200m to ease our classrooms crisis
11:30am Monday 6th August 2012 in Education
HAMPSHIRE’S schools boss has again demanded the Government provide extra cash needed to avoid a crisis in class places in the face of rapidly rising pupil numbers.
School may be out for the summer, but county council education chiefs are continuing to work on ways to provide around 10,000 new school places needed within the next decade.
It comes as new figures from the Department for Education show almost a quarter of Hampshire’s primary schools are running over capacity.
The county council is currently using information from the latest Census, which revealed a seven per cent rise in the number of under-fives, to help revise its plans for increasing school sizes over the next five years.
Hampshire schools boss Councillor Roy Perry, who will make the final decision on the plans in the autumn, said: “Over the next ten years that’s the equivalent of around 20 new primary schools and two secondary schools, and £200m would be needed to meet the long-term projected demand.
That’s why I’m giving Government a loud and clear message that more money will be needed to help us cope with this growth in pupil numbers.”
Rising birth rates are partly behind the looming crisis, but also a growth in housing and more people moving to live in Hampshire.
Ministers said they were already already investing in extra places in areas like the south-east. Earlier this year, Hampshire County Council was handed £9.8m, and Southampton City Council £3.9m to ease the crisis.
As reported, the county council has this month committed £10.8m towards creating more primary school places in Winchester from September 2014, with The Westgate School expected to become Hampshire’s first allthrough state school for four to 16-year-olds.
Another £4m will be spent redeveloping Cupernham Community Infant and Junior Schools in Romsey , providing space for up to 210 pupils as well as enhanced specialist teaching and learning resources and areas for wider community use.
Afurther £2.5m is being spent extending and remodelling Siskin Community Infant and Nursery School in Gosport .