HOUSING developers have been blamed for the pressure mounting on school places in Warwickshire.
Government figures predict the county will be short of 6,000 secondary schools places by September 2021 and by 4,500 primary places. A further shortfall of 2,000 is predicted for secondary schools by the academic year beginning 2023.
Green Party county councillor Jonathan Chilvers said: “The county council are responsible for ensuring there are enough school places, but housing developers are forcing them to do it with one hand behind their backs.
“These companies often try to wriggle out of providing community facilities like schools or leave them until the last minute to try and extend their 20 per cent plus profit margins. Central government needs to shift the balance of power so that councils can insist on good quality, affordable homes and enough school buildings in time to meet demand.”
It is estimated for every 100 homes there will be five new pupils per year group in Rugby Borough.
Forecasts for secondary schools across Rugby are expected to be near capacity for year seven places by September, particularly in the north of the town where there is only one secondary school – Avon Valley.
By 2024 it is estimated secondary school places across the borough will fall short by nearly 1,080. A number of schools are hoped to undergo expansion and Warwickshire County Council is reviewing options for new schools including on the Houlton development and in the north of the town. An application for a new free school in Rugby was approved earlier this year.
Meanwhile primary schools in the borough face a shortfall by 220 places by the academic year beginning 2022. To combat existing pressures, Long Lawford Primary School recently increased its capacity and St Gabriel’s Academy opened this year with the option to expand if necessary.
Warwickshire education spokesman Coun Colin Hayfield was confident the county was geared up to meet the growing demand for places in the coming years.
He said: “The council’s Sufficiency Strategy 2018-23 outlines Warwickshire’s strategic management of the expected growth in population due to new housing. This is undertaken with consideration of the local transport infrastructure, social care needs, access to leisure facilities as well as sufficient places at local schools.
“Growth is initially managed through the expansion and re-organisation of schools. Large housing developments however will generally be managed through the building of new schools. We liaise regularly with schools and the Department for Education in order to plan for this growth.”