CWAC celebrates school funding boost

Cheshire West & Chester Council said it will accelerate its school building programme after a larger than expected settlement from the Department for Education.

The local authority received £43m to create additional places for pupils in the next three years.

The cash from the DfE Basic Need Fund includes an extra £28m that the authority was not expecting and equates to the provision of 1,600 additional primary places and 750 secondary places by September 2018.

Cllr Mark Stocks, executive member for children and families, said: "This is excellent news and the money will be spent on expanding schools to meet the demand for places, and in some cases providing halls for schools without that essential facility."

Stocks continued: "At present a full survey is being carried out across the borough and we will be prioritising areas where increases in the birth rate and large-scale residential development will mean that the need is greatest."

Of 3,301 applications for secondary school places in September, 3,049, equivalent to 92%, secured their first preference.

In addition to the Basic Need Funding, additional Government funding was secured for the re-building of two high schools – Neston and Blacon – and four primary schools – Dee Point, Highfield, J H Godwin and Ellesmere Port Christchurch C of E Primary Schools.

A further bid for new accommodation has resulted in a new hall at Barrow C of E Primary School and new classrooms at Wolverham Primary and Hinderton Schools in the past year. Construction of new classrooms is imminent at Bishop Heber High and Tarvin Primary Schools.

And work is also under way to provide new accommodation at Lache, The Arches, Childer Thornton, Parklands, Rossmore, Davenham, Kingsmead, Cuddington and Whitegate Primary Schools during the next financial year.

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