£400,000 set aside to tackle primary school places in Portishead
Education bosses have set aside £400,000 to provide extra school places in Portishead by September.
The money could be spent on providing temporary classrooms or carrying out minor alterations at primary schools across the town to ensure there are sufficient reception and Year 1 places for students at the start of the next school year.
Schools in Portishead have grown since 2010 but it is estimated more than 100 additional places will be needed in 2013. This year more than 20 students failed to get a place at a primary school in the town.
North Somerset Council spokeswoman Zoe Briffitt said: “Talks are progressing with primary schools in Portishead regarding temporary solutions while a longer term option is explored. We recognise we have a shortage of school places for 2013 but no decisions have been made.”
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New statistics have revealed there will be a shortfall of 103 school primary spaces in the town by 2015.
The figures, contained in the council’s pupils’ projections for North Somerset Schools 2011-2015, look at the number of primary school places needed in the Gordano and Pill cluster of schools.
Measures have already been put in place to try and mitigate the shortfall, including doubling the size of Trinity Primary to 420 and putting in additional classrooms at St Peter’s Primary and Portishead Primary.
The authority has recently looked at expanding High Down Infant and Junior Schools to 420 place primaries from reception to year six but shelved them after strong opposition.
Education bosses also considered expanding Portishead Primary to a 630-place primary school or expanding St Joseph’s from a 210 place primary to 420 places.
North Somerset North Somerset CYPS service manager, Sally Varley, said: “Discussions have taken place with all of the Portishead schools with a view to provide further short-term solutions for the 2013/14 school year.”
School leaders have agreed to meet again with council officers in January to review the exact need.
Mrs Varley added: “In the meantime officers will undertake preliminary assessments of certain schools to determine what physical additions are needed to facilitate the allocation of addition pupils to a school.”