Two new schools required after ‘baby boom’

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HUNDREDS of extra primary school places are set to be created after what council bosses called a “mini-baby boom” in a Yorkshire city.

Sheffield Council said the increase in pupil numbers in the north-east of the city is forecast to continue year on year, leading to problems with over-subscribed schools.

Two new primary schools are being proposed. One would be built on Skinnerthorpe Road in the Burngreave area and the other on the former Watermead school site to serve the Southey, Longley and Shirecliffe areas.

The council’s ruling cabinet is set to agree the proposals at a meeting next week. If approved, the new schools are expected to open in September 2014.

The authority said it had “no option” but to set the schools up as academies, in line with the Government’s policy, and will seek expressions of interest from external parties to lead them, with education ministers making the final decision.

The council’s education spokesman, Jackie Drayton, said: “We know that making sure children are able to access good local primary school places in their local community goes a long way to ensuring successful outcomes for them in the future.

“We also know that parents and carers having a direct involvement in schools has a massive effect in driving up standards.

“That is why it is absolutely essential that we provide the extra places that are needed and ensure there is a strong local voice and character within this process. It is vital that these new schools are successful and a good match for Sheffield and the local community they would serve.”

The council said it will be talking to residents from next month and January to listen to local views.

National figures show a demand for primary school places is growing across the country. More than 2,500 primary places have been added to schools across Sheffield alone in the last five years.

The cabinet will make its decision on Wednesday next week.