Press Release from Bournemouth Borough Council

18th November 2009

Primary schools must expand further as pupil numbers rise

Work is continuing to meet the demand for primary school places in Bournemouth following an unprecedented rise in the birth rate in the town.

There has been a record increase in the birth rate in the last three years and in 2008 was the highest in over 30 years in Bournemouth, with approximately 2100 babies born compared with around 1600 babies in 2005. Other factors impacting on pupil numbers are migration and the recession, which has meant that fewer parents are opting for private education.

A further eight reception classes are now needed for children in September 2011 and it is expected that another 6 reception classes will be required in September 2012. Cabinet today (18 November) agreed that Officers should begin public consultation to discuss the opportunities to expand the following schools for September 2011:

  • Muscliff Primary - 30 temporary places, requiring additional accommodation
  • Elmrise Primary - 30 temporary places, accommodated within existing building
  • Heathlands Primary - 30 temporary places, accommodated within existing building
  • Kingsleigh Primary - 30 temporary places, requiring temporary accommodation
  • Stourfield Infants - 30 temporary places, requiring temporary accommodation
  • Winton Primary - 30 temporary places, requiring temporary accommodation
  • St Michael’s CE Primary - 30 permanent places, as part of the Council’s plans under the Primary Capital Programme
  • St Mark’s CE Aided Primary - 30 temporary places
  • St Katherine’s CE Primary - 30 temporary places, requiring temporary accommodation
  • Corpus Christi Catholic Primary - 30 temporary places

In addition to this, the Council is also considering creating a new school or reorganising existing schools. This could include the expansion of a secondary school to include a primary phase, the creation of split site primary schools or separate junior and infant schools.

Neil Goddard, Service Director for Children’s Strategic Services, said: “This is an issue facing not only us, but the UK as a whole, and urban areas in particular. Pupil numbers are increasing across Bournemouth with particular pressure on the centre and south east of the borough.

“We have looked at sites which can accommodate more pupils in existing buildings and sites which can be expanded both temporarily and permanently. A number of school sites are very restricted and are not capable of expansion at all, even if the demand in the area merits it. We have identified the opportunities that we feel would best meet the demand, whilst not compromising on the provision of education.”

Public consultation will now take place over eight weeks from November to February on the school admission arrangements for September 2011.