Increase to secondary school places

Published Thursday, 30th June 2016
Starting school
Starting school

Hundreds of places are expected to be added to secondary schools across Rotherham in the next few years as part of £7 million growth plans.

The number of pupils attending secondary schools in the borough is set to go up as a result of increased demand, caused partly by a recent rise in the birth rate.

Already £13 million has been spent increasing primary school capacity since 2011. Now these pupils are rising to secondary school age and plans have to be put in place, or pupils will miss out on places.

The schools which are expected to be expanded, at a cost of £1.1m to £1.3m per school, are Wales High School, St Bernard's, Wath Comprehensive, St Pius, Oakwood High and Aston Academy.

Headteacher Pepe DiIasio, from Wales High School said: "Everyone at Wales is delighted with the foresight and realism which lie behind the grant of over a million pounds to help expand our school.

"In times of real financial challenge, the Council's solid support and help will allow us to make provision for an increased intake of 10 percent in each of the last 2 years.

"The money will be used to enrich and extend the learning experience of our students, through new building and refurbishment, and we are doubly pleased with the recognition of our popularity as a school, and with the acknowledgement of our increasingly successful outcomes."

Deputy Council Leader, Cllr Gordon Watson, added: "We have planned carefully and successfully for the increase in demand in our primary sector and now we need to do the same across our secondary schools.

"We need to make sure we have enough places for all of our pupils and if we don't act now then these children will not be able to attend their local schools in future. Our aspirations are for all pupils to be able to attend their local schools as this is the key to them achieving their potential."

He added the challenge for the Council is making sure places are delivered on time and in the right places and within the parameters of the Department for Education (DfE) funding allocations to the local authority.

The Cabinet is recommended to agree a strategy to increase capacity in secondary schools to meet future demand at its meeting on July 11.

If agreed, then consultation will begin in due course with secondary schools which may need to be expanded. This will include both local authority maintained schools and academies.

The funding for the expansions, which could cost up to £7m, will come from Basic Need Funding - allocated to local authorities from the DfE to meet future school place demand. The projects will need to be planned within these government funding allocation limits.