Birth rates rise sparks school expansion

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Town Hall, Liverpool. Photo: Ida Husøy

Town Hall, Liverpool. Photo: Ida Husøy

Plans to expand primary school places are being made after a rise in birth rates and a growth in population in Liverpool.

The city council has received over £15 million from the government to create more classrooms after it was discovered that it could face a shortfall of up to 300 reception class places by September 2017.

The proposals will create an additional 150 places for primary schools which have met the government’s strict criteria for funding in six wards across the city including, Church, Picton, Princess Park, Riverside, Wavertree and Belle Vale.

The primary school population in the city is expected to rise by over 4,000 pupils by 2019.

A council spokesman told JMU Journalism: “The increase in birth rate means demand at the moment is mainly in reception classes, so it will take a while for it to work its way through the school system. I do believe the steps we are taking will tackle this increased demand.

He added: “We need to make sure we expand schools in a way which means it doesn’t put others at risk by having too many surplus places. Adding, for example, a 400 place primary school in an area could adversely affect others meaning we are spending money subsidising empty desks.”

Cabinet member of children’s services, councillor Jane Corbett said the successful regeneration of Liverpool is having an impact on its population. She said it is vital that the council do all they can do to make sure parents and carers are able to secure a place at a nearby school of their choice.

“What we are doing here is using the funding to take action now to tackle the areas where we know there is the greatest demand to alleviate some of the pressure. The schools that we have identified meet the Government’s very strict criteria for this funding,” she said.

Video report by Holly Jones, JMU Journalism TV

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