Primary school places set to be increased in Liverpool

Classroom
Classroom

Consultation is getting underway on plans to expand the number of primary school places in six areas of Liverpool to deal with increased demand.

It is predicted that the city faces a shortfall of up to 300 reception class places by September 2017 due to a growth in population and an increase in the birth rate. By 2019, the total primary school population in Liverpool is expected to have risen by around 4,400 pupils.

The city council has received £15.4 million of funding from the Government to help address the issue and is bringing forward proposals to enable the primary schools in Church, Picton, Princes Park, Riverside, Wavertree and Belle Vale that meet the Government’s strict criteria for funding to expand by building new classrooms.

The initial set of proposals will create an additional 150 places by September 2015 in the areas facing the greatest demand.

The schools that have been chosen under Phase One of the expansion programme, as part of the council’s Pupil Place Planning Strategy are judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, have consistent and sustainable demand and are unable to serve the local area because demand for places outstrips supply.

Under the plans, it is being proposed that Dovedale Infant and Junior Schools in Church be amalgamated on their existing sites and an additional form of entry is created to take its admission intake up from 90 to 120 pupils. Analysis has shown the move would alleviate pressure on other schools in the area and would not adversely affect them. For the September 2014 intake the school had 55 children on its waiting list.

In Picton, St Anne’s Catholic Primary – which has 24 children on the waiting list, and Smithdown Primary, which has 44, would both see an increase in intake from 30 to 60.

In Princes Park, St Silas Church of England Primary would see its intake increased from 30 to 45, as would St Cleopas Church of England Primary in Riverside which had 54 applications for 30 places.

Christ the King Catholic Primary in Wavertree, which has 23 children on its waiting list, would see its reception intake increased from 45 to 60 pupils, as would St Paschal Baylon Catholic Primary in Belle Vale, which was oversubscribed by 58 applications.

Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We know from our own data that the successful regeneration of Liverpool means the city’s population is growing again particularly in the south of the city, and combined with an increased birth rate, this means additional demand for school places. 

“It is vital that we do all we can to make sure that parents and carers are able to secure a place at a nearby school of their choice.

“What we are doing here is using the funding to take action now to tackle the areas where we know there is the greatest demand to alleviate some of the pressure. The schools that we have identified meet the Government’s very strict criteria for this funding.

“We know that parents, carers, pupils, staff and the local community will have views and questions about the proposals, and the consultation is a chance for them to have their say.”

The consultation forms can be found online at http://liverpool.gov.uk/consultation, and a series of meetings are being organised for the schools affected.

Feedback from the consultation will be considered by the Cabinet in a report in December 2014, with a final decision expected to be made in March 2015.

A second set of proposals to create a further 150 reception class places will be announced in spring 2015.