Plans to create an extra 270 school places in Bedfordshire approved

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Plans to create an extra 270 school places across Central Bedfordshire have been approved.

The council rubber-stamped proposals to create 150 additional lower school places in Marston Moretaine and 120 middle school places in Barton-le-Clay.

The additional places will be created by adding an extra form of entry at the Forest End campus of Church End Foundation Lower School, in Marston Moretaine, and Arnold Academy, in Barton-le-Clay.

Members considered feedback from consultation exercises carried out by the two schools before making their decision today.

Some 78 per cent of respondents were favorable to the consultation carried out by the Arnold Academy Trust, with 68 per cent of people supporting the proposals by Church End Lower School.

Sue Harrison, the council’s director of Children’s Services, said: “The council firmly believes in the principle of creating local school places for local children and successful and popular schools so I am delighted that these decisions have been approved.

“There is a particular need for places in Marston Moretaine due to the number of homes being built there, and making Forest End two-form entry will allow the school to offer more opportunities for pupils and staff.

“There is also plenty demand for places in Barton-le-Clay. In fact, Arnold Academy has already agreed to the council’s request to temporarily admit more Year 5 pupils this September over its planned admission number to meet a local demographic need.”

The expansion of Arnold Academy is also subject to approval by the Department for Education and the council’s commitment to the required capital expenditure.

Subject to those hurdles being overcome then both schools will start taking in additional pupils on a phased basis from September 2018.