Portsmouth school expansion plan to cope with need for places

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PLANS to permanently expand schools across Portsmouth in a bid to cope with the increasing demands on places have been announced.

Portsmouth City Council is proposing to expand six schools on a temporary basis from September, and on a permanent basis from September 2014.

It would provide more than 600 extra places for pupils.

The schools affected are Cottage Grove Primary, Highbury Primary, Portsdown Primary, Somers Park Primary, Stamshaw Juniors and Westover Primary.

Councillor Rob Wood, cabinet member for children and education at the council, said: ‘There is demand for additional school places across the city.

‘It’s a national issue. People aren’t moving between areas any longer. There is a mini baby boom.

‘Up until now Portsmouth has been lucky that it’s had sufficient spare capacity.

‘However, we have seen in the past few years a sharp increase in the amount of primary school places that we have got to provide.

‘Making sure that we have got provision is very important for the parents to have choice about schools in the city. It’s very important that we act now to ensure that people have the best possible choice for their children.’

For a number of years the council has been working on increasing the number of spaces as demand has risen.

It comes as more children are being born in the city, and there has also been a reduction in the number of children going to schools outside of the local authority area.

In a public consultation, the council only received one response against the plans.

This was concerning the proposals at Westover Primary School, with worries that the expansion could have an impact on teaching and learning.

As reported in The News, a public consultation is being carried out on a £1.8m plan to expand Mayfield School to become an all-through school, to cater for children from age four up to 16.

Cllr Wood added: ‘The Mayfield plans are a very good move on behalf of the school and the city.

‘With the school doing very well that’s making sure that the parents have the best opportunity for their children in the north of the city.’