Thursday 29 February 2024
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Revealed: Where new school places are needed in Rushcliffe and Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire County Council has outlined where and how it could create new school places in a £38.36 million project.

The authority says it has been allocated the money from the Government for its ‘Basic Need’ funding cash in 2023/24.

This is money allocated to councils to ensure schools have the capacity for the number of places required in their areas.

It can be used on capital projects like expansions or new school builds if demand is high.

The council has previously approved and begun construction on new primary schools in East Leake and Bingham.

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These projects were created to tackle pressure for school places across the Rushcliffe borough.

Other ongoing projects include a new primary school in Gateford, Worksop, as well as expansions of Carlton-le-Willows Academy and Rushcliffe Academy.

Now papers have revealed where further cash could be spent to tackle other localised gaps or demand across the county.

Calverton is one area being targeted despite a projected surplus of 10 primary school places by the 2026/27 academic year.

The authority says its departments believe this surplus is “below a sensible operating margin” and it will fund an extra 40 places in the village.

This, it says, can be funded through contributions from property developers and could be accommodated at Sir John Sherbrook Junior School.

Feasibility studies will be drawn up to work out whether this may be possible in the future.

There is also forecast to be a 77-place surplus in primary school places across the Newark West Rural area by the 2026/27 academic year.

This includes Bilsthorpe, Kirklington and Farnsfield villages.

However, the council and the Mitre Trust are exploring plans to convert an existing bungalow into a new 30-place classroom at Farnsfield’s St Michael’s Primary School.

The authority says this would tackle “little or no spare capacity” at the school.

For secondary school places, further expansion plans have been suggested in Carlton.

Carlton-le-Willows Academy is currently being expanded by 400 spaces but the authority says the Gedling town needs further capacity.

It plans to use the Basic Needs funding to increase pupil admission numbers at Carlton Academy, a separate school, from 230 to 270 pupils.

This could eventually bring an additional 200 places for pupils in years seven to 11.

The council says this will “help address pressure” on schools in south Nottinghamshire, with further plans outlined in Rushcliffe.

That may include creating 150 places by expanding South Nottinghamshire Academy, in Radcliffe on Trent, due to a delay in the rebuilding of Toot Hill Academy.

The latter school is due to be rebuilt by the Department for Education but its completion has been put back two years from September 2025 to 2027.

The authority adds these extra 150 places could be available by September 2025 if needed.

The expansion plans were presented to two cabinet members during a delegated decision on Monday, April 17.

One of the cabinet members was Councillor Keith Girling (Con), portfolio holder for asset management.

Speaking during the authority’s cabinet meeting on Thursday (April 20), he said: “We’ve built Bingham and East Leake primary schools and we’re doing a lot more primary schools.

“We’ve got Gateford up in Bassetlaw that will start to be built soon and we’ve got loads of school expansions being approved.

“We have got the money to do that because of how we’ve approached things.

“The council is strategic in the way it’s making this all happen.”

In a report, Peter McConnochie, the council’s service director for education, said further documents will be drawn up if feasibility studies find any of the projects can be delivered.

These will outline how much any of the projects would cost.

Parents across Nottinghamshire received letters this week outlining whether their child will be going to their preferred primary school of choice.

The council confirmed 96.3 per cent of Nottinghamshire children were offered their parents’ first choice school, or 7,767 out of 8,062.

Overall, 99.6 per cent of pupils will go to one of their parents’ preferred schools.

The authority says those who are happy with their allocated school have until Monday, May 1 to accept the offer.

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