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Schools facing massive rise in pupil numbers
Nearly 300 extra primary school places could have to be created in Keighley district to cope with a predicted upsurge in pupil numbers.
A massive shortfall means an additional 1,210 places may be needed across Bradford Council’s catchment area during the next nine years.
Local authority bosses have this week unveiled plans to increase classroom sizes, which could eventually have far-reaching implications for up to ten local primary schools.
But the proposals have already come in for heavy criticism.
A leading district councillor, whose Craven ward includes Steeton and Silsden, one of the areas identified in the report, said a more radical approach was needed.
Coun Andrew Mallinson, a governor at Steeton Primary, told the Keighley News: “I’ve been going on for so many years now trying to get education officers to acknowledge the fact that all the schools in Craven ward are running at capacity, yet they go on as though there isn’t a problem.
“There is a plan for 220 houses in Thornhill Road at Steeton and plans were approved for 140 houses in Silsden.
“The Council needs to keep pace with infrastructure and number one must be schools. We need to retain some land to build a new school and stop trying to tinker with the problem.”
Recommendations – which this week went out to public consultation – include expanding pupil capacity at Culling-worth or Denholme schools from 210 to 315; at Merlin Top from 315 to 420 or Victoria Primary from 210 to 315; Haworth from 262 to 315 or Lees from 207 to 315, and Steeton from 315 to 420 or Aire View Infants in Silsden from 238 to 270.
Views are also being sought on plans to change the admission priority areas for schools including St Joseph’s Catholic Primary in Keighley.
A Council document warns the district’s rising child population means extra reception class places will be needed for the foreseeable future.
Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “We want as many people as possible to respond to this consultation so they can help shape the future of our schools.”
The consultation ends on December 21.
Statutory proposals could then be published and there would be a second chance for people to comment before a report goes to the Council’s executive on March 12 for a final decision.
Costs for building work would be provided by the authority from the Basic Needs capital allocations received from the Department for Education.
Full details of the plans are at https://bso.bradford.gov.uk/content/ admissions/primary-place-planning.