£16m plan unveiled to help tackle the lack of places at Portsmouth schools

Millions could be spent on refurbishing Portsmouth schools to help meet the demand for places
Millions could be spent on refurbishing Portsmouth schools to help meet the demand for places
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MILLIONS could be spent on refurbishing schools to cope with an increase in pupil numbers.

The £16m boost has been announced as part of a £23m investment plan, which will go before councillors next week.

Portsmouth City Council has said it would see the improvement of buildings and construction of new classrooms.

Councillor Neill Young, cabinet member for children and education at the council, said: ‘It’s to look at ensuring that we have sufficient school places across the city.

‘It’s a struggle. Parents get in contact regularly and say that they have one child at one school and one at another.

‘We need to do some work to look at where those school places will be when these children get to secondary school.

‘What we want to do first is find out where these places are needed and ensure that we have got those in the right parts of the city.’

This year, it is predicted demand for Year R numbers will rise by 5.8 per cent between 2013/14 and 2015/16 from 2,353 to 2,490.

Over the same period, demand for Year 3 numbers are forecast to rise by 9.8 per cent from 2,053 to 2,256 and are predicted to continue going up until 2018/19.

The rest of the money in the investment plan will go towards improvements to the city centre and other shopping areas, supporting vulnerable residents and fostered children.

It will also go towards a package of road safety measures and investment in new technology to help residents deal with the council online.

Almost all the spending is from council funds that can only be spent on one-off capital projects rather than the day-to-day running of services.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, said: ‘The projects are vital for the wellbeing of the city in the future.

‘We have a duty to use foresight and invest in our community. We must invest in education, in supporting vulnerable people, and in projects that will save public money.’

The capital programme will go before the full council for approval on Tuesday, February 10.