Weston pupils face classroom crisis

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 January 2015

Figures predict a shortage of school places in Weston within five years.

Figures predict a shortage of school places in Weston within five years.

Archant

A WORRYING shortage of school places in Weston is looming within the next five years, and is likely to mean pupils are forced to travel further for lessons.

A growing population is placing huge strain on services, and primary and secondary schools are struggling to cope with demand.

According to North Somerset Council’s pupil projections for 2014-2020, there will be a shortfall of 1,031 spaces at Broadoak, Priory and Worle schools collectively.

Although Hans Price Academy is predicted to have 202 spaces by 2020 and the North Somerset Enterprise Technical College (NSETC), which this week won planning permission for its new building, will cater for 700 pupils, this will still leave a shortfall of 128 spaces.

Churchill Academy, where a number of Weston pupils often choose to go, is also expected be oversubscribed and face a shortage of 44 spaces.

The increase in demand for secondary places is largely due to the thousands of new homes which are due to be built in Weston over the next few years. However, that situation is likely to worsen significantly, with in excess of 20,000 new homes earmarked for the district in the latest Government projections.

A council spokesman said: “As far as secondary school places across Weston are concerned, we do anticipate the need for additional places in the medium to longer term (five to 10 years’ time) and we are working with all four Weston schools and Weston College to ensure that we secure long-term sustainable infrastructure to accommodate all secondary age pupils in and around Weston.”

Primary schools in southern Weston are also expected to be flooded with demand for places, with an expected shortfall of 538 spaces at Bournville, Hutton, Locking, Oldmixon, Uphill, Walliscote and Windwhistle schools by 2018.

Ashcombe, Milton Park and Christ Church schools are also expected to come up short by a collective 58 spaces. Two schools are being built for new families moving into new homes at Locking Parklands and Winterstoke Village, but these figures are not included in the projections.

The council spokesman added: “The Weston South pupil forecasts currently exclude places that might become available at the two new proposed schools at Haywood Village and Locking Parklands since no formal planning applications have been made and until they open we don’t know how they will grow.

“However, we continue to work with developers to try to ensure that pupils yielding from the new developments have access to a local school place should they wish it, including interim measures.

“As a result although the forecasts show a deficit of places, these should be offset by the new provision.”

The figures are taken from North Somerset’s predicted pupil numbers for 2014-2020, and include the number of people expected to move into the area and the number of preschool children registered with GPs.

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