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Bolton receives funding to expand school place provision

09/04/2013 Joanna
New teacher jobs and classroom assistant jobs could be created in the north-west as a result of a funding allocation to create more school places in Bolton.

Last month, education secretary Michael Gove announced that between 2013 and 2015, councils would receive £1.6 billion to provide additional school places when required, as part of a wider £4 billion package also covering maintenance and repair work to existing school buildings.

The National Audit Office anticipates that 256,000 new school places need to be created by 2014-15 alone due to a recent surge in the birth rate and Bolton is no exception to that trend.

It is expected that the number of primary school pupils in the borough will rise from 23,667 now to 26,327 in 2016/17, while the number of secondary school age children will increase from the present figure of 18,533 to 19,058 in 2018/19.

Bolton council has therefore been awarded £4.7 million to meet this growing demand for school places, as well as £6.1 million to improve existing school premises over the next two years.

A spokesman for the local authority told Bolton News that the funding was not allocated to particular schools and would be used to provide sufficient primary school places and maintain the condition of Bolton's school buildings.

Currently, 16 primary schools and five secondary schools in Bolton are at above the limit in pupil numbers, meaning 415 children have been entered into schools already at full capacity, up from 222 last year.

However, the council spokesman remarked: "Bolton performs well above the national average for the number of school places that are available and the council has been investing in the expansion of primary schools for a number of years."

The council, he added, has "been successful in ensuring that all pupils can be offered a place and that as many pupils as possible get a place in their preferred school".

Six years ago, Bolton council had in fact taken to closing down schools, claiming that there were insufficient pupil numbers, but the local authority has since had to invest in providing new places after an escalation in demand for places.

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801568248-ADNFCR
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