Primary school places set to be increased

Plans to expand the number of primary school places in six areas of Liverpool to deal with increased demand are set to be approved.

The city faces a shortfall of up to 300 reception class places by September 2017 due to a growth in population and an increase in the birth rate. By 2019, the total primary school population in Liverpool is expected to have risen by around 4,400 pupils.

The city council has received £15.4 million of funding from the Government to help address the issue, and the cabinet is to consider proposals for phase one of an expansion that will create an additional 150 places by September 2015 in the areas facing the greatest demand.

The primary schools chosen in Church, Picton, Princes Park, Riverside, Wavertree and Belle Vale meet the Government’s strict criteria for funding to expand each over the next seven years.

They are judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, have consistent and sustainable demand and are unable to serve the local area because demand for places outstrips supply.

Dovedale Infant and Junior Schools in Church will be amalgamated on their existing sites and an additional form of entry will be created to take its admission intake up from 90 to 120 pupils, providing more places for local families and meaning brothers and sisters don’t have to attend separate schools due to a lack of places. For the September 2014 intake, the school had 55 children on its waiting list.

In Picton, St Anne’s Catholic Primary – which has 24 children on the waiting list, and Smithdown Primary, which has 44, will see an increase in intake from 30 to 60.

In Princes Park, St Silas Church of England Primary will see its intake increased from 30 to 45, as will St Cleopas Church of England Primary in Riverside which had 54 applications for 30 places.

Christ the King Catholic Primary in Wavertree, which has 23 children on its waiting list, will see its reception intake increased from 45 to 60 pupils, as will St Paschal Baylon Catholic Primary in Belle Vale, which was oversubscribed by 58 applications.

Councillor Jane Corbett, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The expansion is good news as it is indicative of the successful regeneration of Liverpool which means the city’s population is growing again for the first time in many decades.

“Combined with the increased birth rate, there is additional demand for school places and we need to take action to make sure parents and carers are able to secure a place at their local primary school.

“This is about taking action now to tackle the areas where we know there is the greatest demand, to alleviate some of the pressure. The schools that we have identified meet the Government’s very strict criteria for this funding.

“We know from the consultation that some local residents are concerned about the knock on effect for parking and traffic and we will be looking carefully at this as part of the process.”

If approved at Cabinet, a further period of consultation will take place following the publication of a statutory notice and a final decision taken in March 2015.

A second set of proposals to create a further 150 reception class places will be announced in spring 2015.

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