Plans to create nearly 600 new places for the start of the academic year in 2015 received the final seal of approval from members of Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive today (Tuesday 10 December).
Councillors also approved recommendations to undertake further development on plans to commission more new school places for the start of the school year in 2016.
These proposals will each be subject to further reports to the executive in August 2014 before a final decision is taken.
Both sets of proposals are part of the council’s New School Places programme, which ensures that every child has a place in a local school.
“With a growing local population it’s estimated that our school population will increase by over 6,000 over the next five years.
Councillor Mark Versallion, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “A key role for the council is to ensure that all our children have a place at a local school.
“Our New School Places programme is a hugely important piece for work for us and we estimate that we’ll spend over £100m in the next five years on implementing it.
“At the heart of all our work around education is a commitment to do everything we can to help our children and young people reach their potential, both academically and in terms of their personal development.”
The plans for 2015 are to expand the following four local schools:
- Russell Lower School, Ampthill – which will expand from its current capacity of 300 places to provide a total of 450 places
- Holywell Middle School (Academy), Cranfield – which will expand from its current capacity of 544 places to provide a total of 600 places
- St Andrews CofE VC Lower School, Biggleswade – where 300 extra places will be created by extending the school onto a second self-contained site on the new King’s Reach development
- St Mary’s Lower School (Academy), Stotfold – which will expand from its current capacity of 225 places to provide a total of 300 places
The proposals for 2016 are to expand the following three local schools:
-Silsoe CofE VC Lower School - where the proposal is to expand from the current capacity of 135 places to provide a total of 240 places, on a new site
- Houghton Regis Academy – where the proposal is to expand from the current capacity of 480 places to provide 900 places.
- Edward Peake Middle School, Biggleswade – where the proposal is to expand from the current capacity of 480 places to provide a total of 600 places.
In addition councillors approved proposals to begin the process to invite Academy/Free school proposals for the establishment of two brand new schools.
A primary school for pupils aged four to 11 to serve the new North Houghton Regis development and a lower school, including provision for early years, for pupils aged four to nine in Arlesey.
Both of these projects are planned for 2016 but are subject to the timing and rate of house building on the new developments.