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County leader denies there is a shortage of school places
9:26am Friday 6th September 2013 in News
Hampshire County Council has refuted claims that Romsey and North Baddesley are facing a shortage of primary school places.
According to a report by the Local Government Association more than half of communities in Hampshire will have more primary age pupils than school places within two years.
A looming shortage is predicted in Romsey and North Baddesley, where the figures suggest there will be 197 more pupils than places by 2015. However, county council leader, Roy Perry, who represents Romsey Extra, claims the area is well placed to cope with the increasing number of children.
“We have allocated £165m over the next three years to provide an additional 8,000 places across Hampshire precisely to meet these pressures,” he said.
Focusing on Romsey, he pointed out that the county had provided:
- 210 extra places at Romsey Cupernham Junior and Infants at the cost of 4m;
- 90 extra places at Nursling at the cost of £1m;
- 30 permanent places at Rownhams at a cost of £300,000;.
Mr Perry who was the executive member for education before becoming leader earlier this year, said: “There are ongoing talks with North Baddesley and Halterworth and Romsey Junior Schools to make extra provision and we are confident there will be school places for all children in the Romsey area.
“Some schools such as Halterworth are oversubscribed, but this is largely because they are “outstanding” schools attracting many applicants from outside their catchment area.”
Ray Finch, UKIP group leader on Hampshire County Council, blamed immigration and high birthrates among migrants for the pressure on school places.
He said: “This is why we need to have proper immigration controls and a work permit system to ensure that our public services are not left buckling under the pressure of mass economic migration.”
David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “Parents quite rightly expect their child to have access to a place in a good school, that is nearby and in a good state of repair.
“But councils are facing unprecedented pressures in tackling the desperate shortage of new school places.
“Without enough resource to provide places, we are seeing some schools having to take extreme measures, including converting non-classroom space and reducing playground space.”
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