£43MILLION BOOST FOR WEST CHESHIRE SCHOOLS

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A total of £43m from the Department for Education will enable Conservative run Cheshire West and Chester to meet demand for school places across the Borough over the next three years.

Cash, from the DfE’s Basic Need Fund includes an extra £28m that the authority was not expecting and equates to the provision of 1,600 additional primary places and 750 more Secondary places by Sept 2018.

On Tuesday 10 March, Councillor Mark Stocks, Executive Member for Children and Families revealed that the cash boost from Whitehall would enable the authority to bring forward its ten year capital vision plan.

Conservative Councillor Mark Stocks said: “This is excellent news and the money will be spent on expanding school to meet the demand for places, and in some case, providing halls for school without that essential facility.

“At present a full survey is being carried out across the Borough and we will be prioritising areas where increases in the birth rate and large-scale residential development will mean that the need is greatest.”

The council’s annual school capacity survey – based on development, population and local birth forecasts – provides evidence to support capital funding requirements.

CWAC l has a statutory duty to provide a school place for every pupil living in the borough and recently refined its place planning to ensure that it meets parental preferences wherever possible.

Of 3,301 applications for secondary school places in September, 3,049 – 92 percent – secured their first preference.

In common with other local authorities, I the authority faces a rising birth rate which has created an increased demand for primary school places at a time when many current school buildings are reaching the end of their life.

In addition to the Basic Need Funding, additional Government funding was secured for the re-building of two high schools – Neston and Blacon – and four primary schools – Dee Point, Highfield, J H Godwin and Ellesmere Port Christchurch C of E Primary Schools.

A further bid for new accommodation has resulted in a new hall built at Barrow C of E Primary School and new classrooms at Wolverham Primary and Hinderton Schools in the past year. Construction of new classrooms are imminent at Bishop Heber High and Tarvin Primary Schools.

And work is also under way to provide new accommodation at Lache, The Arches, Childer Thornton, Parklands, Rossmore, Davenham, Kingsmead, Cuddington and Whitegate Primary Schools during the next financial year.

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