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27th Jun, 2022

Pressure mounting on Warwickshire schools

HOUSING developers have been blamed for the pressure mounting on school places in Warwickshire.

Government figures predict the county will be short of 6,000 secondary schools places by September 2021 and by 4,500 primary places. A further shortfall of 2,000 is predicted for secondary schools by the academic year beginning 2023.

Green Party county councillor Jonathan Chilvers said: “The county council are responsible for ensuring there are enough school places, but housing developers are forcing them to do it with one hand behind their backs.

“These companies often try to wriggle out of providing community facilities like schools or leave them till the last minute to try and extend their 20 per cent plus profit margins. Central government needs to shift the balance of power so that councils can insist on good quality, affordable homes and enough school buildings in time to meet demand.”

It is estimated for every 100 homes there will be four new pupils per year group in Stratford district.

The number of secondary school places in Stratford district by 2024 are set to be short by 265 in Stratford town, 141 in Shipston, 279 in Alcester and Studley, around 110 in Kineton and by just under 330 in Southam.

But Henley School is expected to have 100 spare spaces.

The shortage of primary places across the district by 2022 is expected to be around 100 in Stratford, 100 in Alcester and some 170 in Kineton.

But there is expected to be spare primary spaces in other towns – 55 in Shipston and 110 in Henley.

A new secondary school is planned at Long Marston where 3,500 homes are being built on the former airfield, while the expansion of Kineton High aims to increase secondary school places in line with housing developments in that area.

New primary schools are also planned including at Meon Vale and Long Marston to meet demand.

Warwickshire education spokesman Coun Colin Hayfield was confident the county was geared up to meet the growing demand for places in the coming years.

He said: “The council’s Sufficiency Strategy 2018-23 outlines Warwickshire’s strategic management of the expected growth in population due to new housing. This is undertaken with consideration of the local transport infrastructure, social care needs, access to leisure facilities as well as sufficient places at local schools.

“Growth is initially managed through the expansion and re-organisation of schools. Large housing developments however will generally be managed through the building of new schools. We liaise regularly with schools and the Department for Education in order to plan for this growth.”

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