Concern raised over extra school places in Carlisle
Last updated at 17:43, Friday, 09 December 2011
Demand for reception places at schools in Carlisle has soared by almost 50 per cent in less than a decade.
The increase in school-aged children has prompted proposals from Cumbria County Council to boost each primary year group by 175 places in the city.
The last consultation meeting on the plans to increase capacity at 13 schools will be held at Richard Rose Morton Academy tonight
Last month, there was almost unanimous opposition to a suggested expansion of Kingmoor Junior School by 15 pupils per year group and its merger with the adjacent infant school. The council says that no other school in the north of the city is suitable for expansion.
Caroline Sutton, assistant director of the council’s children’s services department, said major concerns were raised about parking and congestion by residents and parents.
She added: “We can mitigate this in the design process. Doing nothing is not an option. The reality is that elected members will take people’s views into account before making a final decision.”
The council consulted on increasing pupil numbers there last year but shelved the idea in the face of opposition from the school and parents.
Tonight’s meeting will focus on Brook Street, Petteril Bank, Inglewood Infant and Junior, Pennine Way, St Cuthbert’s and Upperby primary schools.
The proposals include rebuilding Pennine Way School on the former North Cumbria Technology College site with £11m already earmarked by the council.
The rest of the money has been identified but the council has declined to reveal the total expected cost of providing the extra school places.
Building work would be carried out at four of the other schools to accommodate the extra pupils.
The number of reception-aged children in the city increased from 648 to 933 (44 per cent) between September 2004 and September 2011.
Mrs Sutton said this was in line with national trends.
“The numbers change all the time,” she added.
“We don’t need a full new school as we need new places across the city.”
Providing extra toilet and IT facilities as well as classroom space must be considered when a school takes extra pupils.
There will be no similar expansion required at the city’s secondary schools as many already have excess capacity.
The consultation will end on December 16 and the council’s ruling cabinet will consider responses on January 12 before the proposals are refined and a final decision is made in March.
First published at 14:07, Friday, 09 December 2011
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk
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