New college campus for town?

A SPECIALIST training facility for 14 to 19-year-olds could be opened on the outskirts of Weston by 2014 and help to relieve a potential secondary school place crisis.

Weston College, along with a range of partner agencies, has put in a bid for the development, which could go on the Locking Parklands development at the former RAF Locking.

Principal Dr Paul Phillips, college managers and leaders from the University of the West of England and the NHS met with other key people in the decision-making process in London last week.

North Somerset Council says a significant proportion of future demand for secondary school places could be met through the facility.

Weston secondary schools could provide the core student numbers for the centre and this would free up capacity to increase places in years seven to nine at schools.

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North Somerset is exploring ways of plugging an increased shortage in school places across the area.

Papers presented at a meeting last week said: ”It must be noted that extra places would still be needed across the Weston Schools to meet overall extra demand inyears seven to nine and, in the longer term, years 10-11.”

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About 140 extra pupil places per year group would be needed between 2015 and 2026 based on a ratio of at least 14 children to every 100 homes built in new housing developments.

Relocating 100 year 10 and 11 pupils to Locking Parklands would therefore enable schools to increase their years seven to nine intake by a maximum of 10 pupils per year group per school or, the council says more advisably, by between 30 and 60 pupils each across initially two schools.

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